27 Best Summer Party Hacks

Barbecues are awesome by nature and they don’t need to be fancy. But use even one of these tips and you will feel like a genius — and have more time to hang.

1. Pre-scoop ice cream and keep it in the freezer.

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2. Make a party box to share with friends and neighbors.

More info at Lifehacker.

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3. Cook corn on the cob in a cooler to save stovetop space.

Instructions at Bon Appetit.

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4. Set out a cute and clearly marked dirty dish bin for guests.

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5. Create a backyard hangout spot with pillows, a rug, lights, and plants.

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6. Use ketchup to write your guests’ meat doneness preferences for the person manning the grill.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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10. Skewer thin veggies for easier grilling.

Great tip via Ideas in Food.

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11. For other meat and veggies, use two skewers per kebab to prevent individual pieces from rotating as you flip them on the grill.

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12. Tie a bottle opener to the handle of the drink tub or cooler.

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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.

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14. Make it easy for guests to serve themselves drinks.

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15. Encourage guests to label and use the same glasses throughout the party.

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16. Chill wine quickly with ice water and salt.

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17. Make party lanterns out of plastic cups.

Get directions from Real Simple.

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18. Set out sunscreen and bug spray.

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19. Use your washing machine as a cooler.

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20. Line popup laundry hampers or baskets with trash bags. Label them and put them everywhere.

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21. Put tea lights in cleaned-out pickle jars for budget-friendly mood lighting.

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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.

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23. Make sliceable popsicles in a loaf pan.

Get directions at The Kitchn.

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24. Drop a mini marshmallow in the bottom of a cone to keep ice cream from leaking out.

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More great tips here from Martha Stewart.

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25. Make a food-safe ant repellant.

Directions here.

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