1. Pre-scoop ice cream and keep it in the freezer.
2. Make a party box to share with friends and neighbors.
More info at Lifehacker.
3. Cook corn on the cob in a cooler to save stovetop space.
Instructions at Bon Appetit.
4. Set out a cute and clearly marked dirty dish bin for guests.
5. Create a backyard hangout spot with pillows, a rug, lights, and plants.
6. Use ketchup to write your guests’ meat doneness preferences for the person manning the grill.
7. Keep drinks cold with frozen water balloons.
This would be even better with water added to the vases. More good tips at A Subtle Revery.
8. Make an ice block for punch — it melts slower on a hot day and waters down the punch less.
To make an ice block, just fill any container with water and freeze it overnight — you can use a loaf pan, a cake pan, Tupperware. To release the ice, turn it upside down over the sink and run hot water over the container until the ice block pops out.
Pictured: Fish House Punch, recipe at Saveur.
9. When you don’t have beaters, make whipped cream in a jar.
Fill a jar with a lid about halfway with heavy cream (and, if you have it, a little sugar and vanilla) and shake for about three minutes or until it’s the consistency you want. Arm workout! Less dishes!
10. Skewer thin veggies for easier grilling.
Great tip via Ideas in Food.
11. For other meat and veggies, use two skewers per kebab to prevent individual pieces from rotating as you flip them on the grill.
13. Buy enough booze: Figure three bottles of wine for every four people and four cocktails per guest.*
*For a three-hour party. If it’s going to be longer, get half that much and ask everyone to bring booze.
15. Encourage guests to label and use the same glasses throughout the party.
17. Make party lanterns out of plastic cups.
Get directions from Real Simple.
20. Line popup laundry hampers or baskets with trash bags. Label them and put them everywhere.
21. Put tea lights in cleaned-out pickle jars for budget-friendly mood lighting.
22. Set out labeled squeeze bottles of simple syrup — plain or flavored — with iced tea or lemonade so guests can sweeten to their taste.
Get some good flavored simple syrup recipes over at Southern Living.
23. Make sliceable popsicles in a loaf pan.
Get directions at The Kitchn.
24. Drop a mini marshmallow in the bottom of a cone to keep ice cream from leaking out.
More great tips here from Martha Stewart.