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Sizzling summer party tips

Mary Fetzer is a freelance writer and marketing consultant with a marketing degree from Penn State University and 15 years of international business experience. Mary specializes in writing about parenting, children, pregnancy, college, h...

Keep your cool

Whether you’re a guest or the hostess, these tips will help you stay cool at your next summer gathering.

Woman having summer party

If you're the host:

Stage your party in the shade — on a cool patio or under some trees. If your locale lacks shade, consider renting canopies, tents or market umbrellas.

If you're the guest:
Use your judgment when it comes to accepting summer party invites. If you have babies or small kids, you may find it impractical (and even a little hazardous) to attend a midday party unless it involves swimming.

Clothing

If you're the host:
Be sure the invitation indicates that the party is outdoors. Specify the types of outdoor activities involved, such as dining, dancing or swimming. Encourage your guests to wear comfortable clothes if it's a casual affair. Offer suggestions such as "Bring a swimsuit" or "Evening wrap and garden shoes recommended," as fits the event.

If you're the guest:
Choose breathable, lightweight fabrics, sandals (no stockings!), a wide-brimmed hat or visor and lots of sunscreen. Avoid dark colors, which absorb the heat. Loose-fitting clothes (skirts are cooler than pants) feel most comfortable.

Beverages

If you're the host:
Be sure to keep your guests supplied with cool beverages such as lemonade, sparkling and still water, and iced tea. Consider creating beverage stations -- coolers and tubs of ice filled with canned and bottled drinks. Avoid serving alcoholic beverages, which deplete the body of water.

If you're the guest:
Stay hydrated. Munch on juicy fruits, enjoy a popsicle or frozen treat, and drink, drink, drink! But decline tempting frozen margaritas and daiquiris, unless they're non-alcoholic.

Cuisine

If you're the host:
Serve cuisine that is cool and refreshing. Fresh fruit (especially berries and melons), light entrées and frosty desserts are a must. Consider having an ice cream truck come to the party (some will make a personal stop for a minimum price), or rent a snow-cone machine.

If you're the guest:
Avoid heavy foods and salty snacks. Select a cool side dish instead of a hot entrée. Beware of picnic salads containing mayo -- they can spoil very quickly in the heat.

Decorations

If you're the host:
Create décor elements that exude cool vibes: images of ice, water-filled cylinders (with blue food coloring for a little extra chill) and cobalt blue plates. These images work wonders on the brain, helping your guests focus on the light and breezy, less on the heat.

Cool tools

If you're the host:
If you entertain often, you may want to consider purchasing a misting hose or misting fan. The light, cool spray keeps guests comfortable without ruining hair, clothes and makeup. Sprinklers — even those you use to water your lawn — are a fun way for kids to beat the heat. Or fill an inflatable kiddie pool with icy water in, where guests can cool their feet.

If you're the guest:
Bring along some old-fashioned comfort with a pretty paper fan or parasol. Handheld portable fans and misters are especially helpful when you have kids in tow.

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