Summer pool parties, sadly, are coming to an end. With kids back in school, friends and family in Northeast Ohio soon will turn attention to back-to-school events and other calendar-swamping activities that prevent leisurely gatherings around the grill, outdoor kitchen and backyard patio. Since you’ve spent all summer enjoying cannonballs from the diving board and icy-cold drinks from the cooler, there’s no reason not to go all-in during one of the last weekends of summer weather.

Here are four themes your guests will enjoy:

Show Your School Spirit
Labor Day and the end of summer coincide with the start of football and other fall athletic seasons. Encourage your guests to show their colors by coming decked out in spirit, whether it’s the local high school, a college alma mater or just your favorite team. Break out the clothes, uniforms, flags and cheerleader outfits while promising a surprise for the guests that go full-throttle into the competition. Reward the winning team’s effort with an inflatable that they can bring back to the pool opening party next year.

Yard “Olympics”
Between games of Marco Polo, chicken fights and swim races where the winner claims they can beat Michael Phelps, head into the lush green grass of your yard for fun. Set up areas for sack toss and ladder ball competitions, create a double-elimination bracket for table tennis matches and stock up on squirt guns for a paint-ball style elimination contest. Track teams or individuals and award mock gold, silver and bronze medallions.

Gather Round The Grill
This is a party host hack that doesn’t force you to spend the day or night next to the heat of that new grill. Plan a relatively simple menu – burgers, hot dogs, brats – and then invite your guests to cook their grub when hunger howls. A cooler or outdoor kitchen fridge can keep the meats at the right temperature and ready for to go at any point during the party. It also gives someone an easy out – if they’re looking for a break from the games – to be the martyr who is making the food so everyone’s happy.

Movie Night
Invite your guests to bring a movie of their choice and then have a random drawing to see what favorite flick will round-out the summer pool fun as darkness descends. It’s the perfect cap to the summer fun and doubles as a nightly winddown that will send your friends and family home happy, tired and with memories of another fun bash around the pool.

Stop in at any of the 15 Litehouse stores in Northeast Ohio and Erie, Pennsylvania for any last-minute supplies for your pool party.

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