BBQ Party Ideas

Barbecue Party Ideas

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A barbecue party is a great theme for summer birthdays, and a cookout party is popular with all age groups. This theme also works well on holidays like Memorial Day and July 4th. Our planning guide has ideas for BBQ party invitations, decorations, party games, and more!

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Browse this guide:

BBQ Invitations

BBQ Decorations

BBQ Food

BBQ Party Favors

BBQ Games & Activities

Planning & Invitations

What Do I Need For the Party?

In addition to basic party supplies such as plates, napkins, cups, and cutlery; a table covers, streamers, and balloons, consider buying, renting, or borrowing the following items:

To help with your shopping, take a look at our Suggested Party Supply List. You may not need everything on the list, but you can use it as a guide.
BBQ Party Invitations

If you want to send fun and unique invitations, see our BBQ Personalized Invitations, which include all the party details for you!

If you have the time to make your own invitations, here are a few suggestions:

  • Attach a card-style invitation to one of our personalized BBQ party supplieswith a length of curling ribbon by punching a hole in one corner of the BBQ invitation.
  • Include a sticker or temporary tattoo and some confetti with each BBQ party invitation and seal the envelope with a personalized BBQ party sticker with party information or a fun message on it!
  • Choose paper with a red gingham border from an office supply store to create your invitations.
  • Or use clip art of a barbecue grill and a picnic table to print your invitations on colored cardstock.

BBQ Personalized Invitation
BBQ Party Invitations

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Decorating & Food Ideas

BBQ Party Decorations

Set the mood for your barbecue party with these ideas:

  • Hang a banner above the entrance to the party area that reads “Welcome to [child’s name]’s Birthday BBQ!” Take a look at our BBQ banners for inspiration!
  • Cover tables with red and white checkered cloth. Use red bandanas as napkins.
  • Use a pot of flowers as the table centerpiece.
  • Hang small clear twinkle lights in trees or on deck railings.
  • Fill red and white balloons with helium and tie them together in groups of five. Anchor the groups around the party space with balloon weights, and tie one group to the back of the birthday child’s chair.
  • On really hot days, set up a canopy or beach umbrellas to provide some shade.
  • Provide insect repellent.
  • Place separate recycle bins for paper and plastic (to include glass/plastic/aluminum items) near the food tables. Clearly label the bins and point them out to guests.
  • Hang a Summer themed pinata in the party area that can be used as a decoration before the activity begins. Remember, you can transform any pinata into a pull-string with these easy instructions.



BBQ Party Food Ideas

Choose from these suggestions to create your barbecue party menu:

  • Grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken drumsticks
  • Grilled vegetable slices
  • Cole slaw, potato salad, sliced fruit, deviled eggs, baked beans and small pieces of corn on the cob
  • Have lots of water, lemonade and other drinks available to keep the kids hydrated in the warm weather. Use silly straws or stadium cups for some added cookout party fun!
  • Provide the ingredients for s’mores and let the kids roast their own marshmallows.
  • For sweet treats, either popsicles or an ice cream sundae bar are a sure hit with kids. Set up a table with ice cream and a variety of toppings in serving bowls. Let the guests choose their own toppings and then add whipped cream!


BBQ Napkin
BBQ Beverage Napkin

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Party Favor Ideas

BBQ Party Favors

Beach Ball

Choose fun party favors like kites, jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, and sunglasses.

You can also include some of our personalized BBQ Party favors. Choose from bag tags, zipper pulls, magnets, and more, all personalized with your guests’ names or a personal message from you.
More Birthday Theme Ideas

Browse our list of over 130 themed party guides to find tips for your child’s next birthday! Each guide includes ideas for invitations, decorations, food, favors, games and more.


Games and Activities

Summertime Obstacle Course

Your guests will love running, jumping, and getting wet in this activity!


Divide the children into teams, and have them play a competitive game of horseshoes.


Just how low can you go? Find out with a game of Limbo!

Hula Hoop Contest

This activity uses up excess energy, and is a lot of fun, too!

Wheel Barrow Race

Fill the wheel barrows with a few beach balls and start the race!

Freeze Tag

In this classic game of tag, children must run to avoid being “frozen”.

Red Rover

For this outdoor game, children form two lines and try to break through the other team’s line.

Capture the Flag

Capture the opposing team’s flag and carry it back to home territory.

Ball, Squirt, Score!

Two players use water guns or hoses to spray their beach balls toward each other’s goal lines.

Beach Ball Pass

Teammates take turns running to the finish line and back while batting a beach ball in the air.

Hula Hoop “Head” Off

Be the first team to pass a hula hoop down the line while holding hands.

Bubble Fun

Fill the air with bubbles in different shapes and sizes.

Ice Cream Cone Relay

Players pass cones filled with water down a line until their team’s glass is full.

Flashlight Tag

Have your guests play this classic game to use up some excess energy!

Water Balloon Toss

Players will team up to see who can “go the distance” in this fun water balloon game.

BBQ Coloring Page

Print out this free BBQ coloring page to give to guests at your party.