Summer may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean the best of times are behind us.

Gather up your group, whip up a yummy spread, turn on the tunes and live it up with an end-of-the-summer party to end all parties.

Here’s how to throw an end of summer party your besties will be talkin’ up way after the first day back.

As seen in Girls Life Magazine, edited by Brittany Taylor.

end of summer party ideas

ready, set, go!

Plan ahead if you have time, but if not, don’t be afraid to throw a last minute fête.

the guest list

Got a tight-knit group of gals? Keep things intimate with five to seven guests. Wanna celebrate with your camp chicas, the neighborhood crew and a couple of cuties from the pool? Go ahead and invite them all. But remember, your party isn’t a popularity contest, so don’t be tempted to stack the guest list with a crowd of gals you barely know.

picture this

Pass on forgettable Facebook events and lame evites. Instead, opt for a darling DIY your guests will treasure. Upload a favorite photo of you ‘n’ your crew to a custom photo-printing site, choose a template (we love a vintage postcard look), include the party deets and head to checkout.

Choose Best Musicset the scene

Three quick ways to take your yard from familiar to fête-worthy.
1. she said, he said
Before the party, ask your friends to email you their fave funny quotes from the summer. Write them on pieces of card stock and use fishing line to hang cards from trees or glue them to skewers and stick into jars of colored sand. LOLs are guaranteed as your guests guess who said what.
2. larger than life
Head to a copy shop and print out your fave pics of you and your crew poster size. Arrange them on tables or up against some trees, along with a bunch of permanent markers. Tell your darlings to doodle away—bunny ears, mustaches and comic book-style thought bubbles are all fair game! Divvy them up afterward for one-of-a-kind party favors.
3. just press play
Whether it’s Rihanna, 1D or Maroon 5, we’re betting your summer already has its own soundtrack. Make it official by creating a playlist. If ya don’t mind ads, do it for free on Spotify. Or, pool tunes with your pals and pop ’em on your iPod. Plug it in and pump up the volume.

Girls Party Buffetthe right bites

Mmm, easy updates to the cookout classics.
1. old school eats
Give the goodies you gobbled down as a kid a grown-up twist. Head to to snag recipes for our BBQ pork sliders, sweet potato wedges, summer veggie flatbreads, tomato mac ‘n’ cheese and Southwest salad. Yum!
2. signature sips
Class up your beverage selection by serving a specialty drink that shouts summer. Think: non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiris or pineapple blueberry iced tea.
3. sugar high
Set up a cookie bar for a sweet finish. The day before the party, bake or pick up a couple dozen crowd pleasers—think chocolate chip, peanut butter and sugar. Place them on pretty platters surrounded by a bounty of flavored icings, sprinkles and candy toppings. Guests can decorate the night away—and munch their way through their marvelous masterpieces.


kick up the fun factor

Wanna set this gathering apart? Add special touches like a fire pit bonfire (with s’mores, natch) or a karaoke sesh. So even if you spend most of your party time in hangout mode, it’ll still be an epic night.
1. pop-up video
Whip out your cell phone video camera to capture funny memories that’ll last way longer than the party. Have card stock and permanent markers at the ready, then ask your guests to pose for the video camera, with their summer memory written out on the card stock. Funny faces are a must!
2. think big
A huge backyard is just begging to get played on. So if yours is big enough, split up into teams for kickball, capture the flag or throwback rounds of Mother May I and Red Rover.
3. pack it up
Have your sweeties scribble down a back-to-school bucket list. Pack it with first-day dares (say hi to the guy you’ve been crushing on since the third grade), must-dos (join the debate team) and major moments you’ve gotta make happen (princess in the homecoming court? You bet!). Toss ’em in a shoebox and stow in a secure place. Bust it out next year at your next second annual end-of-summer bash and see what happened…and predict once more what’s in store for the year to come!