Labor Day has a long and storied history. It emerged from the labor movement of the late 19th century, before becoming a federal holiday in 1894. Today, the three-day Labor Day weekend is often viewed as the “last hoorah” of the season. For many, Memorial Day and Labor Day are the parentheses within which the stories of their summers are told.

If you’re planning on throwing a Labor Day celebration this year, you’re not alone. Follow these tips to throw your best Labor Day party yet.

Save the Date

Before you do anything else, get your Labor Day party invitations out early so your guests will save the date. Consider reminders and updates sent via text or social media posts to keep guests in the loop.

Pick a Party Theme

The essence of a Labor Party is camaraderie. Family and friends gather to share stories, laugh, and celebrate life.  A party theme is the proverbial icing on the cake. Check out this massive list of party themes for some inspiration.

One popular option for sending off the summer season is a “whiteout” theme. Request white attire at either a casual or more formal gathering. Guests will stay cool as the light-colored clothing reflects the sunlight—plus, guests will get to enjoy wearing their favorite white attire before the “never wear white after Labor Day” fashion rule goes into effect.

DIY Decorations

Labor Day decorations are especially fun and festive. Select a color scheme and run with it. Color-coordinate streamers, balloons, plates, cups, and table covers. Consider centerpieces with seasonal flowers. Add to the ambiance with string lights or paper lanterns. Citronella candles combine form and function by keeping the mosquitos at bay.

Make Some Mocktails

Iced tea and lemonade are always welcome at summer gatherings. Consider a lemonade bar stocked with herbs and natural food coloring. Add a metal bin or insulated chest loaded with ice and flavored beverages. For a special touch, why not craft some mocktails as well? These alcohol-free creations are as popular as ever!

virgin banana daiquiri is a simple yet tasty concoction. All you need is a blender, bananas, lime juice, rum extract, and ice. Top it off with a slice of lime or a dab of whipped cream.  A recipe for tropical mermaid punch features lemonade, sparkling water, pineapple, and coconut. Guests may not believe in those swimmers of the sea, but they’ll gladly embrace this mermaid mocktail. Just add some blue food coloring for a seaworthy tint.

A virgin cucumber mojito is another refreshing option. So is a melon lime agua fresca served in a tall glass with lots of ice. Use watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew melons. And finally, don’t forget this summer staple: a faux pina colada from the perfect mix of pineapple juice, coconut, and crushed ice.A BBQ grill is in the foreground on the left with a group of friend sitting around a table further back on the right. On the lower right a quote reads: "The three-day Labor Day weekend is often viewed as the “last hoorah" of the season. For many, Memorial Day and Labor Day are the parentheses within which the stories of their summers are told. "

Get Grilling

A casual barbecue appeals to a wide array of tastes. Who doesn’t want to kick back and relax outside during the holiday weekend? So, grab your meat thermometer, tongs, and spatula, and fire up the grill.

Steak and juicy burgers are obvious crowd favorites, but be sure to add in chicken, veggies, and seafood to meet varying tastes. A chipotle-lime shrimp skewer is a sure hit among the seafood lovers in the crowd. For extra flair, consider DIY kabobs. Set up a kabob station replete with skewer-sized pieces of vegetables and meats. Guests then hand their customized kabobs to the party’s designated grillmaster.

Plan Unforgettable Food Spreads

Grilling isn’t your only option. By Labor Day, locally sourced fresh fruit is often available in abundance. Take advantage of this by offering your guests mixed fruit bowls, fruit salads, and fruit pies. Serve raw veggies along with tasty dips. Add a big bowl loaded with chopped salad to the spread. Consider a panini bar loaded up with various slices of bread, spreads, and fillings.

Coordinate Outdoor Games & Activities

Take your Labor Day party to the next level by organizing games and activities. Embrace traditional party games like tug-of-war, three-legged race, egg toss, and the potato sack race. Few party games enjoy as much universal appeal as cornhole. Your guests might be more than happy to contribute their cornhole games or other needed supplies. For the ultra-competitive, designate a scorekeeper capable of unbiased rulings and award awesome prizes to top performers.

Games aren’t the only activities that make parties fun. For a special touch at any kind of gathering, hire a caricaturist or a strolling magician. The latter can perform various tricks for small clusters of partygoers. Creative caricatures will generate conversation, and they are great keepsakes too. Consider a face painter for the younger attendees.

Explore Upscale Amenities for Labor Day Parties

Many luxury apartment properties offer amenities that make for memorable Labor Day gatherings. Some have swimming pools and hot tubs. Grilling stations and outdoor kitchens are also common. Imagine gathering around a fire pit high atop a rooftop deck as the sun goes down.

At Chicago’s new Wrigleyville Lofts, residents enjoy fire pits, grilling stations, and outdoor dining on the roof deck—not to mention views of Wrigley Field and Lake Michigan. In Chicago’s River North, Hubbard 221 also offers an expansive rooftop terrace. Residents enjoy access to grilling stations, fire pits, cabanas, a pool, and a hot tub. The Grand Plaza Apartments is in the same River North neighborhood. It also offers grilling stations and outdoor kitchen facilities. Plus, the rooftop pool and sundeck deliver a terrific experience to residents and their guests alike.

In Irving, TX, Crest at Las Colinas Station offers a resort-style pool and sundeck. Prepare your party entrees in the gourmet-style outdoor kitchen poolside. In the St. Louis suburb of Richmond Heights, you’ll find the luxury apartments and townhomes of EVO Living. Here, residents enjoy a unique heated outdoor saltwater pool. Cook those steaks and burgers on one of the gas grills in an outdoor kitchen prep area.

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A couple stands before a BBQ grill. The man is flipping something on the grill, while the woman holds a plate. Behind them are more people standing around talking.

A casual barbecue appeals to a wide array of tastes. Who doesn’t want to kick back and relax outside during the holiday weekend? So, grab your meat thermometer, tongs, and spatula, and fire up the grill.

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