Labor Day is always bittersweet. On one hand, you get a long weekend to celebrate the hard work of laborers in America; on the other hand, it also signifies the end of summer. Whether you choose to celebrate Labor Day, the final weekend of summer, or both, throwing a backyard party is the perfect way to do it.

Invites

The essential first step to any party: invite your guests. Depending on your budget, there are several free options that work great for party invites. Facebook offers free event creation, or if you prefer to email a most customized invite, Evite has a lot of free options to use. Be sure to include start time, dinner time, end time so your guests know what to expect. Also, if your friends/family want to help with preparations, let them to know to reach out to see how they can contribute.

Food

Depending on how many guests you will have, potluck style food is often the easiest option for serving a large group of guests. Potluck parties are great for several reasons: they give your guests ample options to build their plate with, and it is easy for others to contribute to. If your guests are willing to help with food, be sure to give them the number of people to prepare for and let them know what the “theme” of the food is, i.e. barbecue, Italian, Mexican, etc.

Entertainment

It is always a good idea to plan several entertainment options for each age group that is attending your party. For younger kids, prepare a space for them to play with toys and plan a few hands-on activities to keep them occupied. For adults, a few backyard games, and plenty of seating area for socializing are necessary. If you have the means, set up a few speakers in the yard to create some nice background noise too!

Decorations

The nice thing about backyard parties is that they don’t require a lot of decorations but may motivate you to tend to your lawn and garden. Once you get your garden in order, it’s time to pick up the one essential for your backyard bash: lights. Since your party is outside, you don’t want it to die down when the sun sets. String up some lights along your fence and deck, set up some outdoor lights, and light a fire to keep the party going.

Bugs

As Minnesotans, we expect mosquitoes at any outdoor, evening event in the summertime, so just be prepared to help your guests stay comfortable. Supply a basket of bug spray options (include an all-natural variety too!), light some citronella candles, purchase a few mosquito control devices, and place some fans outside to keep the bugs moving.

With these tips in your arsenal, you are all set to throw a Labor Day party that your guests will feel lucky to attend!