How to throw a pool party that doesn’t suck

School is out, summer is upon us and the season to gather around swimming pools and water holes has begun.

If you’re lucky enough to have a pool in your backyard or apartment complex, chances are that word will get out and you’ll soon find yourself hosting pool parties: The challenge is how to host one that doesn’t suck.

We’ve all been there: The party where the food ran out way too soon, there was nothing cold to drink and people were more caught up in working on their tan lines than actually goofing off in the pool.

That is the type of pool party to avoid.

Here are a few easy and fun solutions for hosting the perfect summer get-together.

Thinking about hosting a pool party extravaganza? Plan accordingly. While it’s certainly not expected of you to have enough food to feed a pool full of hungry company, it should be your responsibility as a host to provide the main dish, whether that be burgers, kebabs or whatever you choose to prepare.

Asking guests to bring sides, salads and drinks is perfectly acceptable, so don’t be shy in delegating what foods to bring. As a host, there’s no way you’re going to be able to relax and enjoy the party if you’re running around trying to feed everyone or prepare a five-course meal single-handedly!

We all know alcohol can get expensive, especially if you’re expecting a large crowd, but showing up to a pool party with no cold beverages is just plain rude. Bottles of water, soda or iced tea are cheap and yummy alternatives to providing cases of beer or liquor.

Bringing your own beer is a pretty standard rule of thumb, so asking guests to bring their own special beverages, either for themselves or for communal consumption, is also acceptable. Because let’s be real, no one wants to show up to a dry pool party.

As a host, it’s your job to make sure people are having a good time and enjoying themselves, but keep this in mind: You are not their babysitter. It’s not your responsibility to give them a schedule of outlined activities or tell them to have more fun. Have a few games in mind if there’s a lull in conversation or to amp up the party energy.

Organize water Olympics or other exciting water activities. No one comes to a designated pool party just to suntan on the side or gently glide through calm, glistening water. Get your guests excited! 

Water Olympics, water challenges, water beer pong or obstacle courses offer endless entertainment and an exciting excuse to enter the water. Make water festivities a challenging yet fun competition, and even consider offering prizes to winning teams.

Think blow-up pool toys are just for kids? Think again. Water seesaws or bumper boats offer hours of slippery fun and are a must-have for any kind of pool party extravaganza. For even more fun, adult-size hamster balls for the pool make a great sporting event. Plus everyone gets to see you inside a giant, inflatable ball. There’s nothing better.

Additionally, placing blow-up sharks in strategic locations to give your guests a little scare is never a bad idea. In fact, it should be mandatory.

Is there a blank wall on the side of your house or somewhere in your backyard? Perfect! Projecting a water-themed movie once the sun goes down is a fun and relaxing way to transition into phase two of the most epic pool party. 

Guests can relax in or out of the water while water-themed films such as Finding Nemo, Titanic, Jaws, Cast Away, Hunt for Red October or Moby Dick, among others, are being projected for entertainment.

Still have those inflatable sharks hanging around? Good. Finding moments in the movie to sneak up on friends with your shark pal is bound to create an uproar and keep the energy alive. Plan surprise attacks throughout the night just for kicks and giggles. We all know that the main reason people love attending parties of any kind is to watch someone else do something stupid, laugh at them and later share that moment on social media. Shark attacks are the perfect excuse.