Memorial Day Party Ideas

Many of us consider the Memorial Day holiday the start of summer. A Memorial Day party is a festive way to start the season! The flags, the parades, the food! Ah, the pleasure of a long Memorial Day weekend and a Monday respite. Although we wrote this party plan for Memorial Day you can use it for any of those great patriotic holidays like Flag Day, Labor Day and of course the 4th of July.

Do you know why we celebrate Memorial Day? Well, a long time ago, a real long time ago, like in 1868, General John Logan proclaimed May 5th as Decoration Day. He wanted to remember all those who died protecting our nation. He ordered that flowers should be placed on the graves of all soldiers—Union and Confederate alike. Since World War I, Memorial Day (as it is now called), is celebrated on the last Monday in May throughout the country.

Patriotic Party Invitations
Send a fun personalized Memorial Day party invitation. It will get everyone in the mood to come over and celebrate! You can add extra fun to the invite by sprinkling some confetti in the envelope!
 
Here are some fun wording examples that you can use on your invites -
  • The Miller's are grill'n up a good time this Memorial Day!
  • Red, white, blue and you! Join us for the 3rd annual Maple St. block party and parade.
  • Winter is over... Memorial Day is here... Lets celebrate with flags, food and American beer!
  • It’s a red, white and blue barbecue! Join us for a Memorial Day feast!
My favorite way to do patriotic invitations is to create them myself. The only rule is that there really are no rules. Find red, white, and blue everything! Search your house for scraps of colored construction paper, blue hair ribbon, white sequins from an old dress or costume, bandanas, and of course that red pom pom from an old sweater. Make each guest a different (one-of-a-kind collage) invitation. If you have children that can handle glue and scissors, that's even better! Let the kids put their own twist on the invitations, and make it a family affair.

You can even take some Elmer's glue (the runny kind because the glue stick isn't messy enough), and just drip and zigzag it across the front of plain white invitations. Then "invite" your kids (and even some of their friends) to help shake some red, white, and blue glitter all over the front of the card! Voila! Instant fireworks!

Memorial Day Decorations and Party Supplies
A great entrance to any event starts when people walk up to your door! Why not greet them with a personalized Memorial Day banner? Over the doorway, or in your windows, you may want to put some flag bunting to set the mood. This bunting is also great on dais tables. If you really want to make your home a centerpiece for the flag you might want to consider a lighted patriotic flag.

What fun to have our homes festooned with red, white and blue! Remember that patriotism is about freedom and fun! Yes, the freedom to decorate your party with any number of fun patriotic decorations!  Here are some of our favorites!
Of course the American flag is usually a customary decoration, but there is no reason you can't spice things up a bit!  Have fun with your decorations.

Memorial Day Table Decorations and Menu
Set out some fun and flag-tastic (yes, I said it) patriotic paper goods. They go perfect with your red white and blue theme, and no dishes to do later!

Think of everything that reminds you of America. For me it is Coca-Cola, baseball, Uncle Sam's top hat, apple pie, Barbie, and a multitude of other things. Place each icon in the center of it's own table (if you have kids, you might have to bargain with them to use their toys), and tie some bright helium filled balloons to it.

If you want all of your centerpieces to be somewhat uniform, you can fill balloons with sand, and then tie patriotic balloon bouquets to the weighted balloons or even these cute patriotic balloon weights. For simple table decorations, set out a top hat centerpiece surrounded by a few votive candles. It will look great on you dinner table or your outdoor tables when the sun goes down.

Try plants with red, white, and blue flowers, and tie bandanas around the pots. You can stick pinwheels inside as well as other patriotic icons such as the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell.

If you are using different symbols of America as centerpieces, you can glue items that represent the symbols on each seating or place card. For example, you can glue a Barbie shoe to represent that table, a baseball gumball to represent the table of this country's favorite American pastime, and a bottlecap to represent one of America's favorite beverages.

Another idea for seating cards is mini paper flags. Put the name of each guest on the front or back. Or, you can take Polaroid pictures of your guests as they enter, decorate the pictures with stars and stripes, and use them as seating cards.

Memorial Day is the perfect time for a cook out! Hot dogs, hamburgers, anything barbecued /grilled will taste terrific paired with potato salad, cole slaw, fruit salad, and corn on the cob. For dessert you can have apple pie, ice cream and cake.

Memorial Day Activities
Start off by decorating your guests to get them in the mood to celebrate. There are plenty of fun options for patriotic "wearables":
Kids get a kick out of glow sticks. Hand them out and they'll amuse themselves. Kids also love sunglasses or red, white and blue beads. Set up a few activities to keep the kid's busy

"Pin the Hat on Uncle Sam" - Give each child a small paper top hat to decorate as Uncle Sam's hat. Then blindfold each child, and have him try to stick the hat on Uncle Sam. The child who comes closest to putting the hat in the right place wins a prize. Prizes may also be awarded for the "most creative," "most colorful," etc. hats.

Have all of the kids make top hats that will fit them, and have a decorating contest (awarding a different prize to all kids- "most colorful", "most elaborate", most creative", etc.). Then have a parade around the neighborhood (wearing the new hats) to a famous march. Don't forget the universal bike parade where kids use crepe paper and the like to decorate their bikes to show off in the neighborhood.

Another decorating contest that you can have for the kids is a "decorate your own placemat" contest. This adds to the overall decoration, as well as giving the kids something to do to keep them busy.
 
Another wonderful activity for guests of all ages is to write thank you card for our troops and veterans! Operation Gratitude is a great organization to send your letters to; the mail them on to our soldiers and veterans,

Have your own baseball game! Divide guests into teams and play ball! Or you can have an entire Olympiad! The games don't have to be traditional ones either. You can have cookie eating contests and fun relay races or other crazy games.

Check out Patriotic Party Games for more ideas!

Memorial Day Party Favors
You might want to consider a fun party favor to give your guests to remind them what a fabulous time they had - 
  • Small Flags - so they can display their patriotic pride all summer
  • Personalized Mint and Candy Tins - tasty and a great way to pull the theme all the way through the party
  • Individual Apple Pies - nothing is more American!
  • CD of Patriotic Music - America the Beautiful, The Star-Spangled Banner, or Born in the USA... do fun mix!
  • Patriotic Candy Bars or Wrappers - with a custom message these are always a hit.
 For the kids you can put together a small goody bag. Here are a few ideas:
Have a fantastic Memorial Day!