Galactic Hot Dogs

Labor Day Picnic

Décor and Favors
Instead of focusing on a particular theme, dress your picnic in simple, classic décor. Look for red-and-white checkered tablecloths at your local discount or dollar store.

Cover the picnic table, and spread a few tablecloths on the lawn area for additional seating. Add white cloth or festive paper napkins, and you don't need much else—besides the food!

After Independence Day, many stores, such as Wal-Mart or Target, offer deep discounts on their summer merchandise. Plan ahead and stock up on coolers, lawn games, grilling tools, cutlery, dishes, and picnic baskets. You'll use these items long after your Labor Day picnic, so consider them as an investment.

Consider offering personalized tumblers as favors. As you're shopping at end-of-summer sales or dollar stores, pick up enough large (32 to 64 oz.), plastic tumblers for all your guests.

Choose unadorned tumblers in different colors and use craft or paint pens to customize each tumbler with your guests' names. Then, at the picnic, each guest will have his own cup from which to drink, eliminating a great deal of trash. After the party, guests can take the cups home with them and use them for their own picnics. Be sure to bring extra cups and your writing materials to the picnic; it will only take moments to make favors for unexpected guests.

Don't forget the balloons! Purchase a few helium-inflated mylars and tie them at your picnic area so that guests are able to find you easily. If the park is particularly difficult to navigate, tie mylars in a trail from the parking area to your picnic site.

Music and Entertainment Bring a boom box (and extra batteries!) and play your favorite party music. Here are a few CDs that would work well:

  • Beauty & The Beat, Go-Go's
  • Songs You Know by Heart, Jimmy Buffett
  • The Immaculate Collection, Madonna
Remember that you are sharing public space, and adjust the volume accordingly.

Bring an assortment of fun games intended to be played on a lawn, such as croquet, badminton, volleyball, lawn darts, or beanbag tic-tac-toe. Check your picnic site first to see how much room you have. If you're too limited for big-area games, bring a variety of board games, such as Scrabble, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, or Cranium. Don't force anyone to play; just make the games available for anyone who's interested.

As you're toasting marshmallows or polishing off the last of the spiked watermelon, start a little game in which you invite people to share the thing they hate most about their jobs. Then, after everyone has had a turn, get everyone in the mood to return to work by inviting them to share the thing they love best about their jobs.

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Reproduced from Plan a Fabulous Party In No Time, by Tamar Love, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing.

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