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Backyard BBQ Party Themes

Host a backyard bbq party with a theme for some “hot fun in the summertime.”  There are many ways you can theme your barbeque party, and still have a traditional cookout.  Here are some fun party ideas where your grill will be right at home.

Luau Barbecue Party


Invite guests to your Luau barbeque party with themed invitations.  You could make a message in a bottle (if you’re not expecting a big crowd).  Wash out clear plastic soda bottles and fill them with sand and sea shells, along with a scroll with the party details.

You can also make a simpler invitation with a cutout of a hibiscus flower, and the details written in a silver or gold paint pin.


Carry your luau theme through your barbeque.  Here are some menu ideas:

  • Fun and fruity drinks:  banana/orange/pineapple with coconut rum (for adults) or sprite (for the kids)
  • Pork/Pineapple and Pepper Kabobs
  • Fresh fruit trays
  • Barbequed chicken
  • Sweet potatoes on the grill (with butter and brown sugar to top)


Decorating for a luau themed barbecue party is fun.  Anything tropical will add to the theme.  Here are some decoration ideas:

  • Palm trees: real or fake
  • Hibiscus shrubs and flowers: real or fake
  • Leis for the guests (fake flowers from the party store suffice for all but the most chic parties)
  • Twinkle lights strung from side to side of the patio/porch
  • Tiki-torches (you can now get solar-powered LED tiki torches to lessen the chance of burning your house down)
  • Beach Balls
  • Banners and wall-art that add to the theme
  • Brightly colored tableclothes


You’re definitely going to wan to play some beachy/island themed music.  The Beach Boys, and Jack Johnson are a good bet.  You can also find great beach music at Click on album covers below for the CD:

Summer Beach Party music Music from the Beach Movies of the '60s


Other activities include:

  • Watching surf movies (or having them play in one area).  Endless Summer is a classic.  Blue Crush is fun for a ladies night party.
  • Doing the limbo
  • Water balloon toss
  • Ring toss over plastic flamingo heads
  • Hula dance or hula hoop contests

Honkey-Tonk Barbecue Party

Give your friends a taste of the ole west with a honky tonk barbecue party.  This party can be a fun hoedown for adults and kids.


A fun invitation would mimic saloon doors.  Open them to reveal your party details.  You could also do a small “wanted” poster.  Gingham checked paper would make more feminine invitations.


Go “home on the range” and have traditional fixin’s like

  • Hamburgers and hot dogs
  • Barbecue baked beans
  • Coleslaw
  • Corn on the cob
  • Peach cobbler
  • Root beer


Decorate for your cowboy-inspired barbecue with these accessories:

  • Straw bales
  • Cowboy hats (these can be centerpieces or party favors)
  • Boot-shaped glasses
  • Gingham checked table clothes
  • Wanted signs
  • Inflatable cacti
  • Daisies in ball-jars for centerpieces


You can have all kinds of fun at a honky-tonk barbecue party.  Here’s how:

  • Play horseshoes
  • Set a country music playlist on repeat
  • Do country karaoke
  • Practice learning how to lasso
  • Organize a hat toss (put out hula-hoops and have people try to toss cowboy hats in, frisbee-style)
  • Sack races!
  • Pin the tail on the mule

Night at the Fair Barbecue Party

Bring some of the state fair to your backyard barbecue.  Games, food and fun will make this party different from the rest.


Make an invitation that looks like an old-fashioned broadside:  Come one, Come All to the Fair!  You can make  fans by using from poster-board and a tongue-depressor handle.  Print out your invitation and glue it on the poster board.  Or, send your invitation in a popcorn bag or box.  You can find these anywhere that sells commercial popcorn supplies.


Mingle a bit of the fair with your barbeque flair.  Here are some menu items for your state fair barbecue party:

  • Grilled corn on the cob.  Soak corn (still in the husk, but with the silks removed) in water for at least two hours.  Then place on the top rack of the grill for about 30 minutes.  Eat with butter and salt. YUM!
  • Pork chop sandwiches are a staple of the Indiana State Fair.  Grill boneless pork chops with your seasoning of choice and serve on a bun.
  • Bratwursts, peppers and onions: who does not love to get a giant brat at the fair?  These are doubly-good when cooked on the grill.  If you have a vegetable basket, you can also grill the peppers and onions to go inside the bun.
  • Hand-cranked ice cream:  if you can get your hands on an old-fashioned, hand-cranked ice cream maker, you and your guests can have fun making dessert.  But, strawberry ice cream made a home in ANY ice cream maker is so much better than store-bought varieties.
  • Cotton Candy: you can buy this already made at some novelty shops.  If you want to go ALL OUT, rent a cotton candy maker for your party.
  • Popcorn: Let your guests munch with popcorn freshly popped on the grill, on the stove, or in a popcorn maker.


Create a carnival-like atmosphere at your party with these decoration ideas:

  • Fun carnival signs, like labels for drinks
  • Party Props like oversized anything, carousel horse cutouts, red and white striped awnings, giant balloons and more
  • Clown-themed plates and pinatas
  • Brightly-colored pennant garlands


Carnivals are all about the games, and most of your activities will revolve around carnival games.  You can give tickets away for the winners and then have a “prize counter” where participants can redeem their tickets-just like they’re at a real carnival.

  • Ring toss
  • Corn hole or bean-bag toss
  • Water balloon toss
  • Three-legged race
  • Penny toss  (Put different colors of plates out in an area and have a starting line.  Give each child 20 pennies to toss onto the plates.  Give a ticket out for each penny that makes it to a plate)
  • Balloon animals  (hire someone to make balloon animals, or get a book and learn how, yourself!)
  • Magic tricks (hire a magician to walk around the party and do magic tricks.  This is fun for adults and kids.)

The key to a fun barbecue theme party is to carry the theme throughout the decorations, food, entertainment and activities.