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6 Pool Party Ideas
Photo by Loren Kern

The saddest four words in the English language may be these: Summer is almost over.

Yes, the good times that are part and parcel of swimming pool ownership are coming to an end for the year. But do not go quietly into the night, because with some friends, some supplies, and a little bit of planning and good old fashioned American gumption, you can give summer the sending off it deserves. Here are six end-of-summer pool party ideas that can take what would otherwise be wistful last-minute poolside get-togethers to the next level, and leave your friends and family aching with anticipation for next year.

1. The Game Day Pool Party

Is there anything better than kicking back with a few friends, some snacks, and your favorite sports team? Actually, there is: doing so with a pool party.

With baseball and soccer in full swing, and football right around the corner, late summer is the perfect opportunity to throw a game-day pool bash.

Invest in a laptop projector and reap the benefits for years to come. Most television channels, including NBC and ESPN, already include the ability to live sports online, and with a projector, any surface instantly becomes the world’s largest flat screen. Just cover your viewing surface with something white – be it an actual projector screen or a simple white sheet – and you’re ready for the big game.

With the literally larger-than-life picture, everyone at the party has the best seat in the house, particularly those watching from the pool. Add some snacks and beverages to the party, and no fan will ever want to squeeze onto the couch for four quarters again.

2. The Movie Night Pool Party

Now that you have the projector, why not keep the pool party theme going?

The increasingly early sunsets of late summer turn your pool area into a natural outdoor theater. While drive-ins are a thing of the past, the swim-in is the wave of the future.

Be it a quiet and romantic nighttime movie viewing for couples or a family friendly Pixar party, the pool is the perfect place to settle into your favorite float and catch a flick. Provide movie theater staples such as popcorn and candy (without the theater’s exorbitant pricing, of course) and you’re in for a great night.

The best part? No gum on the floor.

3. The Pool Olympics Party

For more active pool party goers, especially the younger ones, a fun-filled day of pool games is the perfect way to celebrate the end of the season.

After the appropriate opening ceremonies, organize a variety of lawn and pool games such as lawn darts, bocce, water polo, noodle jousting, and of course, Marco Polo. Create fun gifts as prizes for gold, silver, and bronze medalists (and for everyone else, too).

And don’t forget to have the national anthem on hand.

4. The Classic Luau

This one is a given, a tried and true celebration of all things summer.

Hawaiian Party While certainly far removed from its native Hawaiian origins, the luau is a guaranteed winner, and likely to become an annual tradition at your home. It’s also the only acceptable reason to enter the words “Jimmy Buffett” into a streaming music site like Pandora.

Buy a few leis, encourage your guests to wear their best Hawaiian shirt, and break out the island-themed drinks. Have your local butcher deliver a full roast pig, and consider hiring someone to carve it so you and your guests can focus on the good times.

This is one party at which everyone will be saying maholo.

5. The Alumni Gathering

Ah, college. Send the kids to the grandparents and invite all your old fraternity brothers and clammates over to revisit the glory days in the comfort of your backyard oasis. Show pride in your alma mater with flags and decorations in your school’s colors, or simply invite guests to sport their school’s colors.

Now that you’re a successful and responsible adult, however, keep the togas in the closet. Offer a nice glass of wine. Break out the good snacks in place of the Ramen noodles..

As the next generation heads back to school, keep the memories alive for you and all your post-collegiate friends. And remember, just because you’re all grown up doesn’t mean you don’t know how to have a good time.

6. The Pool Closing Party

It’s finally over. The wind has changed, the air has chilled, and the sun has relented for now. There’s only one thing left to do, as a single tear rolls down your cheek: close your pool.

A sad day to be sure, but why not have fun while you’re doing it? Closing a pool is more than a one-person job anyway, so surround yourself with those same folks with whom you’ve enjoyed the season. Bring out a cooler of drinks and a few platters of snacks, and enjoy the company as you take of the business at hand.

When the last of the patio furniture is stowed and the cover is draped across the surface of the water, chase away autumn’s chill with a bonfire and promise your friends to do it all again next year … just as soon as you’ve helped them close their pools, of course.

For more information on swimming pools and entertaining, visit If you’re interested in adding a pool to your backyard experience, rely on APSP’s Member Locator to help you find an reputable member company in your area.

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