Labor Day is quickly approaching and so is the potential for memorable get-togethers with friends and family. Barbeques, church parties, and backyard gatherings can be more fun when the host is armed with creative picnic food ideas and delicious drinks to pass around. Labor Day often serves as a 3-day-weekend for many Americans, but it began, and is set aside as, a day to pay tribute to working individuals in the United States and Canada. It became a national holiday for both countries in the year 1894.
Labor Day is also symbolic of the end of the summer season, with the opportunity for a few more dips in the pool or a run through the backyard sprinkler. For much of the country, it is the perfect time to be around the table or in the backyard with people you care about. There are countless options for tasty Labor Day Party recipes; here are just a few more picnic ideas to add to your menu planning as you look forward to the long holiday weekend.
Main dishes do not always have to be the standard hot dog and hamburger fare, although those are okay too. Rather than just throwing something on a bun with ketchup, why not dress it up with a bit of coleslaw or sautéed vegetables? Main dishes can often be easily modified for those with food allergies and dietary preferences. This year, why not try something a bit different? You never know-it could become a new favorite! Consider ideas like:
- Southwest Turkey Burger Sliders
- BBQ ribs
- Grilled Pork Tenderloin
- Party-size sub sandwich
- Grilled Fish Tacos
Side Dish Ideas for Labor Day Parties
Side dishes really make the meal when it comes to Labor Day parties. Asking guests to bring their favorite side dishes makes for a variety of flavors and takes some of the pressure off of the host to prepare so much. From the very traditional to the creative, here are a few delicious picnic lunch ideas to consider:
- Homemade Baked Beans
- Grilled fruit or vegetable kabobs
- Corn on the Cob
- Chips and Dip
- Potato and Pasta Salads
Whether your dessert will be s’mores around the campfire or apple pie with ice cream, it is always a good idea to save the best for last. Dessert preparation can be as simple or as elaborate as you want, and while you’re pondering over what sweets and goodies to serve, why not consider sending something delicious home with all of your guests in a cute personalized glass jar? They make for a fun party favor and are reusable, too! Or, set up a candy station with assorted chocolates and treats so guests can choose what they like. They come in all different colors, so you can coordinate them with your Labor Day theme.
Some dessert options include:
- Crazy S’mores
- Fruit trifle layered with blueberries, strawberries, and angel food cake
- Ice Cream Sundae bar with all the toppings
- Red, white, and blue cupcakes
- Fruit salad with whipped cream
Whether you plan to serve alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages to your guests, it makes more sense to use reusable and recyclable custom party cups rather than paper or styrofoam. Not only does it contribute to less waste in the environment, but you always have the option to send your guests’ cups home with them. You know what that means-less dishes to wash! Add in fun straws for a festive look and remember cups with lids for the younger crowd.
Try these drink ideas out during your backyard bash:
- Margaritas (straight up, frozen, or on the rocks) in a personalized glass
- Fruit-infused water (throw in berries, lemon, or oranges)
- Homemade lemonade (also good in a sugar-free option)
- Arnold Palmers
Personalized margarita glasses hold more than just margaritas. Fill them with any fun, summer cocktail, or fill them with fruit, ice cream, or smoothies for the little ones. They also make for a great party favor your guests are sure to love.
Kids love summertime, with its possibilities for adventure, exploration, and the opportunity for more family time. Coming up with options for bite-sized snacks is easy with a bit of creative thinking; if you have some of the younger crowd joining your party, here are some ideas to keep their thirsts quenched and their stomachs full.
- Add juice boxes to the freezer about an hour before guests arrive for a slushy treat in a kid-sized package.
- Make melon kabobs ahead of time for a healthy, portable treat. Just use a melon baller to scoop out watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew, then thread onto a kabob stick.
- For another healthy snack that is great for beating that end-of-summer heat, whip up some banana split pops.
- If you aren’t able to set up a sprinkler or water games in the backyard, have some tables set up with crayons and paper to keep kids entertained. Send crayons home in reusable cups.
- Be sure to have plenty of wet wipes on hand for sticky hands and faces.
To add even more fun to kid-friendly, bite-sized snacks, serve them in mood stadium cups. These color-changing plastic cups change color with the temperature of the drink and the hands holding them. They are sure to keep the little ones entertained.
Picnic ideas do not have to be limited to a traditional setup; there are no rules that say backyard feasts have to be defined by plain old meat and potatoes. Why not try hosting a taco bar and have guests bring the fillings? Another creative picnic lunch option is to throw some homemade pizzas on the grill, and ask everyone to bring a few different toppings. You could go way out of the box and have a Labor Day brunch, complete with a waffle bar and toppings, fresh juice, and mimosas for the grownup crowd.
Labor Day can be a great opportunity to gather friends and family around for one last summer celebration before the season ends. No matter your plans, you can make your hosting responsibilities a little bit easier by purchasing reusable plates and drinkware for your backyard picnic. Throw down some paper tablecloths, use foil-lined pans for easy cleanup, and send leftovers home with guests.
Your Labor Day picnic will be not only memorable, but more relaxing as you focus more on your loved ones and less on the mess! Send guests away armed with their reusable, personalized cups and party favors in red, white, and blue like sunglasses and ball caps. Your Labor Day picnic possibilities are limitless; with a little bit of planning and creativity, you can host the backyard bash of the year!