Creative ways to keep things cool outdoors

May 1, 2012 at 7:31 a.m. ET

Summer heat is delightful, but the weather can make it difficult to keep things cool at your outdoor party. Not only will your ice melt and your chilled food grow warm, but your guests may become overheated as well. Here are a few tips to keep both your foods and your guests fresh and cool at your next summer party.

water balloons

Place fans outdoors

Whether your party is on the patio or lawn, you can still plug in a few fans around the dining area to create a light breeze and keep everyone cool. For even more cooling pleasure, place a thin cloth that has been dipped in cold water over the fan to chill the breeze.

Serve a pitcher of mint iced tea

Mint is a cooling herb that can actually help your body cool down on a hot day. Adding spearmint or peppermint leaves to your favorite iced tea drink will not only add flavor, but will help your guests feel cooler. Just add one bunch of fresh mint leaves to your favorite iced tea recipe and let the mixture sit in the pitcher until chilled. Strain before serving. Adding a fresh sprig of mint to each glass as a garnish will not only add to the drink's presentation, but also smell delicious.

Keep foods chilled

Be sure to have plenty of ice on hand before a summer outdoor party. Put ice in deep pans or bowls, then place bowls or trays of chilled foods like pasta salad, fruit and veggies on top of the iced pans or bowls. Be sure to change the ice often to keep foods fresh and deliciously cold. No freezer in sight? Plan ahead and bring two or three coolers full of bags of ice that you can use to keep foods chilled.

Serve delicious frozen treats

Chill out by serving your guests delicious frozen treats like frozen grapes, strawberries, bananas, raspberries and other summer fruit. Or stock up on favorite frozen desserts like ice cream, Drumsticks and frozen fruit pops. Enjoying a frozen treat is sure to cool everyone down a few degrees.

Casual party? Have a water balloon fight!

Before the party, fill up dozens of colorful water balloons with cold water and keep them cool in the shade. When the sun gets too hot, get them out and have a good old-fashioned water balloon fight. Getting wet is a great way to cool off and have fun.


More cool party ideas

Best foods for outdoor parties
Frosty place setting ideas for summer parties

How to host the ultimate summer patio party