As the end of summer approaches and the month of September is beginning, you’re likely trying to fit in a few more fun times. Picnics are a great way to get together with people, and hosting a potluck-style party is one way to easily entertain and enjoy the company of family and friends. It’s easy to do — just follow the steps below:

  • Plan out a basic menu. As the host or hostess, you can offer to provide the main course and one side, and allow guests to bring snacks, sides and desserts. If a friend has a garden, request some fresh vegetable salad!
  • Keep it simple with paper plates and plastic flatware
  • Offer just a few drink options, such as flavored water (you can try making your own by filling a large pitcher with ice water, and putting citrus slices or cucumber slices and mint in it), one type of wine, one diet and one regular soft drink. If you want to get a little fancy, get the blender outside and set up a tropical drink station! Also, be sure to have vanilla ice cream on hand to add to the desserts that your guests bring. One small scoop of vanilla goes with almost any dessert. Or, try yogurt topping for a fresh fruit salad!

Main dish ideas

  • Keep it simple with good old-fashioned hamburgers. You can make your own patties ahead of time using fresh, lean ground beef, or you can add a twist to them. Offer all sorts of toppings beyond just ketchup and mustard, such as spinach leaves, pickled beets, bleu cheese, mushrooms or coleslaw. Consider offering a meatless burger too. A homemade bean burger recipe can be done ahead and is delicious!
  • Have a grill-your-own pizza party! Use a basic recipe, and add your own ideas for toppings. Use store-bought crust or frozen pizza dough to save time.


Keep it simple, mix some things up the day before and you’ll be able to throw together a great outdoor party to close out the summer months. Most of all, sit down, relax and enjoy your neighbor’s or family’s company!