21 Creative Memorial Day Party Ideas

memorial day party ideas

Kayla Snell / Stocksy

The long holiday weekends mean we have more time to spend soaking up the sun and celebrating with friends. Our best advice? Make the most of your time off by planning ahead for optimal holiday. There are plenty of locations, themes and party ideas to explore. It's a good time to get out of town or celebrate in your own backyard.

Make your Memorial Day memorable with these updates on a classic holiday weekend festivities. Here are some ways to celebrate the official kickoff to summer with these creative party ideas.

  • 01 of 21

    Rent a Boat

    sailboat at sunset
    Justin Lewis/ Getty Images

    Live near a body of water? A safe bet for Memorial Weekend fun is to rent a watercraft for you and your nearest and dearest. While a renting a sailboat would make for a memorable night, any kind of boat will do—you can even rent a pontoon on the lake! Luxury isn't the point here, it's relaxation!

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  • 02 of 21

    Host a Southern Style BBQ

    BBQ ribs on a grill
    Kanawa_Studio/ Getty Images

    If you live in the South this one is probably a given. If not, adjust your BBQ style to replicate the hearty goodness of a southern style cookout. Go beyond the traditional burger and hot dog offerings and add some ribs, pulled pork or brisket to the menu.

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  • 03 of 21

    Organize a Craft Beer Tasting

    craft beer tasting
    uptowngirlCLT/ Twenty20

    Craft beer has a strong following and is often a standout star on it's own at parties. If you are a craft beer enthusiast, Memorial Day is a great time to do a tasting with guests. Showcase a selection of summer brews, fruit beers or session ales for your friends to sample.

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  • 04 of 21

    Set Up a Hot Dog Bar

    Hot Dog Bar
    Camille Styles

    A hot dog with all the toppings is hard to beat. Grill some quality dogs and let your guests choose from an array of toppings. An elaborate hot dog bar is a fun way to turn a classic Memorial Day food into something new and exciting (and is a great way to please picky palates).

    Throw an Epic Memorial Day Bash via Camille Styles

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  • 05 of 21

    Host a Slider Party

    Sliders Ingredients
    Design Love Fest

    If burgers are your go-to cookout staple, host a slider party instead. Not only are these mini burgers totally adorable, you can offer guests a few different options to choose from like bacon-and-cheese stuffed burgers or spicy jalapeño sliders. Bonus: serving a fraction of a burger means you'll have plenty of room for dessert!

    Throw a Sliders Party from Design Love Fest

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  • 06 of 21

    Hang Streamers and Lights

    red white blue streamers
    Virgil Bunao Photography

    ​A simple and inexpensive way to add flair any holiday party is with fun streamers and lights, like we see here in this pretty shot via Style Me Pretty. In just a few minutes, you'll have spruced up an indoor or outdoor space for holiday fun. 

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  • 07 of 21

    Try "You Bring It, We Grill It"

    Envision / Getty Images

    Buying all the ingredients for a party can be taxing, expensive and time consuming. If you are short on time (and budget) try a "You Bring It, We Grill It' style potluck. Each guest brings their favorite grilling item or a side to share. This way, everyone saves a bit of money and is satisfied with what's on the menu.

    BBQ Menu Ideas and Checklist from The Spruce

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  • 08 of 21

    DIY a Festive Banner

    DIY patriotic banner
    Stephanie White

    This stars and stripes banner is simple to make and can easily be customized to your desired length by printing more flags.

    Stars and Stripes Banner via The Spruce

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  • 09 of 21

    Find a Pool

    Pool party
    Jordan Siemens/ Getty Images

    If you aren't lucky enough to have our own pool, beg or bribe your way into using one belonging to a friend or family member. If your inner circle comes up dry, consider renting a house with a pool for a mini staycation via sites like Air B&B or HomeAway. Pool parties are are a stress-free option since the pool is the main attraction—you don't have to worry about going crazy with decorations or party games. 

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  • 10 of 21

    Hang Piñatas

    Fruit Pinatas
    Kitiya Palaskas

    Another festive outdoor activity is to make (and smash!) a piñata full of summer surprises. In addition to candy, fill the kiddie's piñata with glow-in-the-dark goodies, water balloons, sidewalk chalk and other small outdoor toys. For the grown ups? Swap the trinkets in favor of nips of your favorite liquor.

    DIY Fruit Piñatas from Kitiya Palaskas

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  • 11 of 21

    Make a Bar Cart

    Bar on Wheels
    Camille Styles

    This Red Flyer Wagon is the cutest bar cart that we have seen in a long time. A simple ode to Americana and the delicious cocktails of your choice both appropriately themed for the long weekend holiday.

    Bar on Wheels from Camille Styles

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  • 12 of 21

    Create Fruit-Filled Ice Cubes

    Fruit Ice Cubes
    Design Love Fest

    Chances are Memorial Day weekend the temperatures will be rising and you will be searching for the quickest ways to cool off. We love the idea of combining fresh fruit and simple ice cubes to enhance your beverages.

    Fruit Ice Cubes from Design Love Fest

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  • 13 of 21

    Throw a Hawaiian Luau


    A Memorial Day theme doesn't always have to be red, white and blue with a classic checkered table cloth. This year, why not host a Hawaiian-themed luau to celebrate.

    Let's Flamingle Luau Party by Party Ideas.Shindigz

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  • 14 of 21

    Add Color With Bandanas

    Bandana Table Setting
    Wedding Chicks

    Bandanas are not just for your head. They also make a wonderful tablecloth or utensil holder for your big bash. Have a couple extra on hand if guests want to use them as scarves or pocket squares, too.

    Bandana Table Setting from Wedding Chicks

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  • 15 of 21

    Decorate With Hanging Planters

    Dinner Party
    Rip and Tan

    Hanging planters are a beautiful way to welcome the summer season. Set up your picnic table near a strong tree where you can hang a couple festive planters full of summer's best.

    Hanging Planters from Rip and Tan

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  • 16 of 21

    Make Pineapple Sparklers

    Pineapple Sparklers

    Pineapple sparklers are fun way to bring your party from the day into the night. Keep the pineapples with their natural coloring or add an appropriate red, white and blue theme. Either work great and it's nice to have options.

    Pineapple Sparklers from Freutcake

    RELATED: Creative Patriotic DIY Ideas

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  • 17 of 21

    Play Outdoor Games

    LL Bean

    Outdoor games are a must for any outdoor gathering. Croquet is a fun idea if you have an sprawling lawn for activities.  

    15 Outdoor Entertaining Essentials from The Spruce

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  • 18 of 21

    Hang Lanterns

    Star Lanterns
    Design Improvised

    If the weather permits and you are celebrating outdoors, it's always fun to look to the trees for decor inspiration. Hanging these adorable red, white and blue star lanterns from above really set the tone for a successful Memorial Day gathering.

    Star Lanterns from Design Improvised

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  • 19 of 21

    Consider a Farmer's Market Theme

    Farmer's Market Fresh
    Camille Styles

    Memorial Day is prime time to welcome the return of many farmer markets for the season. With so many fresh fruits, veggies and flowers available it only makes sense to use a Farmer's Market theme for your party.

    Farmer's Market Theme Party from The Spruce

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  • 20 of 21

    Serve RWB Jello Shots

    The Spruce

    These glittery jello shots are a very grown-up way to celebrate any festive occasion.
    Champagne Jello Shots from The Spruce

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  • 21 of 21

    Plan a Private Picnic

    beach picnic
    Thefieldguide/ Twenty20

    Who said Memorial Day has to be a big shindig anyway? Sometimes a simple gathering iwith the ones we love, taking time to reflect on the significance of the day, is the most is all you need in the end. Make it easy with sandwiches and pre-cut fruit from the grocery store or prep a slightly fancier feast.

    Summer Picnic Recipes from The Spruce