9 Best Pool Party Ideas & Themes
Planning a party by the swimming pool? Are you looking to have a small and quiet get-together? Or maybe you want to throw a memorable summer blowout with all your friends and family. However you choose to celebrate poolside, we've got you covered. Need amazing pool party ideas? Read on for plenty of tips, hints, and how-to's.
How do you throw a fun pool party?
One of the most enjoyable things about owning a swimming pool is gathering friends and family for pool parties! A pool party can be a simple, impromptu gathering or a carefully planned extravaganza. It all depends on your budget, age of guests and the time you want to dedicate to planning.
The key to throwing the best pool party ever is choosing a theme that resonates with your age group. Let’s start by discussing some of the most fun pool party themes that are age-appropriate and sure to delight all your guests. We’ll also provide ideas for pool party food, decorations, games, invitations, party favors and even what to wear to a pool party.
Kids Pool Party
Outdoor parties are fun and memorable for young ones because of the freedom to splash and play, the joy of swimming and the sweet happy sleepiness following an afternoon in the sun. Planning a kid-friendly pool party? Here are a few pool party ideas for kids:
Kids Pool Party Ideas
Backyard Beach Party
Transport yourself to the sea with a kid-friendly beach themed pool party! Summer brings beautiful weather, sunshine and happiness, making it the perfect time to create a beach in your backyard. Here are a few tips for making a kids’ beach barbecue party around the pool.
- Food – Imagine chicken salad croissants decorated to look like little crabs or blue pudding cups decorated with graham cracker “sand.” This are just a few ideas for making a memorable ocean-themed spread.
- Décor - Decorate tables with seashells and fishnets. Cover chairs with beach towels. Use plastic pails and shovels, and even Frisbees, to serve hors-d'oeuvres and drinks. Since this is an outdoor party, save your guests from sunburn and overheating by investing in a patio umbrella! We love Blue Wave’s Octagonal Cantilever Umbrella – it provides up to 100 square feet of shade and is repositionable for maximum sun coverage.
- Games & Activities – Float toy sailboats in the pool. Host a sandcastle-building competition in the children’s sandbox.
- Party Favors – When your guests arrive, gift them with a sand bucket filled with beachy treats. Think colorful mini spray bottles filled with water to keep cool during the party, tropical fish candy and travel-size bottles of sunscreen.
- What to Wear – Kick back in flip-flops and swimsuits!
Luau Pool Party
Luas are so much fun with bright colors, delicious food and lively activities. Take your guests on a kid-friendly journey to the Aloha State with a Hawaiian Luau pool party. Luaus are one of the most popular hemes, making pool party decorations easy and affordable.
- Food - Pineapple chicken or ham would be delicious main dishes or treat your friends and family to an authentic pig roast. Complement the feast with a fresh salad and a fruit and veggie plate reminiscent of a garden paradise.
- Décor - Decorate with bright, tropical colors, bamboo accents and Hawaiian-themed accessories from your local pool retailer, party supply or craft store. Tiki torches, like Bobe’s 80” Copper Bamboo Tiki Torch, and tropical flowers scattered across tables and the surface of the pool provide the finishing touches for a magical evening. Make giant Hawaiian flowers using construction paper!
- Games & Activities – Turn up the music and get ready for a fun-filled round of limbo. You can also host a hula-hooping contest. Another fun idea? Decorate tin cans like tiki heads, stack them in a pyramid then see who can knock down all the cans using a coconut!
- Party Favors – Have a few leis available for those that don’t feel like crafting. Provide pineapple-shaped plastic cups for beverages.
- What to Wear - Guests should wear their most colorful, tropical outfits. The brighter, the better! Think pink, yellow, green and orange shorts, skirts, bathing suits, towels, sunglasses and hats.
Pirate Themed Pool Party
Ahoy, matey! Hit the open seas for the adventure of a lifetime by throwing a pirate pool party.
- Food – Scare away scurvy with lots of citrus fruits and smoothies. Create a delicious “Pirates’ Booty” mix of your favorite nuts, chocolate candy, pretzels and coconut shavings. Carve out the inside of a watermelon then fill with fruit to use as a pirate ship fruit bowl!
- Décor – Pirates are known for wearing mainly red and black, so use this as your party color theme. Prior to the party, find an old cream or yellow sheet and paint a vintage treasure map on it to create a pirate photo op. Decorate around your pool area with skull and crossbones flags and treasure chests. Place parrots on the backs of pool chairs. Finally, if you have a fire pit, create your own treasure chest by using gold fire glass as the interior material.
- Games & Activities - Before the party, toss plastic gold coins, toys and jewels into the pool and let them sink to the bottom. Later on, have the kids jump in the pool to find the underwater buried treasure. See who can collect the most prizes! Please have several adults monitoring the swimmers. For another fun activity, find pool floats that look like ships, divide guests into two teams and let the two groups race each other!
- Party Favors – Eye-patch decorating contest! Provide the kids with puffy fabric paint, rhinestones and whatever else they need to express their swashbuckling selves. You can also give guests a pair of red or black flip-flops to wear at the party and after.
- What to Wear – Red and white patterns like stripes and polka dots are key to sticking with the pirate theme. Don’t forget to add touches of black, a captain’s hat and an eye patch!
Teen Pool Parties
Teens fall in the age group between kids and adults, so planning a party for teens requires finding a perfect balance between fun and socialization. Looking for awesome teen pool party ideas? Read on for our top themes for teens:
Teen Pool Party Ideas
Retro Pool Party
Throwback to the 1950s with a pool party straight from the era of poodle skirts and Chuck Berry. This time period is all about bold checkerboard and palm tree prints, pink and blue pastels and metallic finishes. Channel this into your pool party planning, and you’ll be throwing the best retro pool party ever!
- Food – Americana classics like hotdogs and hamburgers are essential. Don’t forget French fries and milkshakes for that retro feel.
- Décor - Buy records with rock 'n' roll hits from the 1950s. Play the music to greet guests as they arrive. Place inflatable plastic palm trees in the pool and around the pool perimeter to help create a 1950s atmosphere. Make sure you have your BigMouth Inc. Giant Pink Flamingo pool float ready for the occasion.
- Games & Activities – Host a throwback dance contest (who can Twist the best)? Rent a karaoke machine and have guests belt out classic tunes.
- Party Favors – Give each guest a black and white striped towel.Provide handheld water guns for a high-intensity game of tag.
- What to Wear – Ladies, wear high waisted swimsuits, cat eye sunglasses and long skirts. Gentleman, think plain white T-shirts, jeans and short swimsuits!
Dive-In Movie Night Pool Party
Do you have a passion for watching movies? Then hosting a “dive-in” pool party may be for you! This unforgettable pool party theme will delight guests. This theme’s easy set-up may make it your go-to party.
- Food – Set up your own outdoor movie theater concession stand and serve buttery popcorn, candy and sodas. For dinner, pick movie-theater favorites with an outdoor twist, like grilled pizza or nachos!
- Décor – Purchase some inflatable lounge chairs from your local pool retailer to enjoy the movie from the best seat in the house: your pool. Purchase an outdoor projector, then project the movie onto the side of your house or a large white sheet. Create a step and repeat backdrop complete with gold glitter for a perfect photo-op. Don’t forget your Poolmaster Caribbean Floating Lounge with cup-holders for the perfect dive-in movie seat.
- Games & Activities – Pick a favorite adventure movie like “E.T.,” or “Jurassic Park.” For a good laugh, screen “Napoleon Dynamite,” or “Clueless.” Or, opt for a classic teen flick like “Back to the Future,” or “Mean Girls.”
- Party Favors – When guests arrive, have them stand at the step and repeat and snap a Polaroid of them. Give them the snapshot to take home as a party favor!
- What to Wear – Dress like you’re attending a movie premier! Cocktail attire is perfect for arrival. Once you have eaten and enjoyed each other’s company, switch to your favorite swimsuit and coverup to enjoy the dive-in movie.
Mermaid Pool Party
Mermaids are beautiful mythical creatures, half-fish and half-maiden, spreading joy and love throughout the ocean. Become a magical mermaid by throwing an under-the-sea extravaganza complete with mermaid-themed décor, activities and food.
- Food – Sea-inspired delicacies with touches of green, purple and blue colors are key to throwing an amazing mermaid pool party. For lunch, serve fish tacos and star-shaped sandwiches with a side of “seaweed” (coleslaw). For dessert, serve mermaid cupcakes, clam shell cookies and fruit salad.
- Décor – Create a glittery purple, pink and blue garland. Set up a mermaid-inspired balloon display. Another fun décor idea is to attach long strips of crepe paper onto paper lanterns for a jellyfish display! BigMouth Inc. has a mermaid tail pool float that is just perfect for this occasion.
- Games & Activities – For this mermaid pool party, it’s all about getting into the under-the-sea spirit. A great activity to occupy your guests is to decorate mermaid hair pieces! Pass out headbands, glue guns and an assortment of seashells, starfish, driftwood, rhinestones, glitter and paint to create dreamy looks.
- Party Favors – Gift each guest with a mini treasure chest filled with your choice of mini nail polish, essential oil or sea salt scrub!
- What to Wear – Like any great pool party, attendees should wear bathing suits and sandals. Bonus points for wearing pink, purple or blue! Other fun ideas include pastel tie-dye and iridescent leggings.
Pool Party Ideas for Adults
Nightlife Pool Party
Turn your backyard into the hottest nightclub in town by hosting a posh swimming pool party everyone will talk about. Think “upscale lounge” when planning your pool party!
- Food – Prepare a selection of hip appetizers like sweet potato French fries and grilled watermelon salad. Create a signature mocktail like a blackberry and mint ginger ale cooler and serve in stylish glasses.
- Décor – Set the modern lounge vibe using a basic “black-and-white” theme. Provide black and white lounge chairs, float beds and chairs in the water for the guests to relax on while sipping their favorite beverages. For a high-end club feel, check out Ledge Lounger’s Signature Round Sunbed.
- Games & Activities – Recreate your favorite nightclub in your backyard by building a simple plywood dance floor then playing dance music all night long. To make your backyard feel even more like a hot club, hire live entertainers such as belly dancers or fire spinners.
- Party Favors – Before the party gets going, hand out glowsticks guests can wear when the lights get low.
- What to Wear – For this party, wear fashionable looks you could wear to the club. Sparkles, lace, bright pops of color, whatever you want to wear to get noticed! This is a night out to celebrate. Don’t forget a swimsuit and cool coverup if you feel like going for a swim.
Casino Night Pool Party
Viva Las Vegas! Transport your guests to this fabulously fun locale with Sin City-inspired food, décor and activities.
- Food - Treat guests to a Vegas-style meal by putting out a large buffet in front of the pool with many different cuisines such as sushi, chicken parmigiana and Ruben sandwiches.
- Décor – Vegas is known for its neon signage. If you can splurge on a custom neon sign for your event, do so! If not, create your own signs with neon poster board. Las Vegas is also famous for gaming, so décor like giant dice, poker chips and dollar bills are fantastic ideas. Since this party is geared towards nighttime, don’t forget string lights like Prime Patio’s outdoor lighting offerings.
- Games & Activities – Designate an area where guests can play games such as blackjack and poker by setting out a table with chairs, cards and tokens they can later redeem for prizes.
- Party Favors – Fill mini “money bags” with dice, playing cards and a tiny tin of mints (that way your guests can stay fresh while gaming)!
- What to Wear - Channel your inner Showgirl or Fat Cat with these Vegas-inspired Casino Night wardrobe ideas: try red and black cocktail attire with lots of sparkles and feathers, pinstripe suits and fedoras.
Ladies Self-Care Spa Pool Party
What better place to spend an afternoon of pampering with friends than at the pool? Treat yourself and your besties to an awesome day of relaxation and rejuvenation.
- Food – The night before the party, make spa water for your guests by filling a drink dispenser with cucumber, mint and lime. Allow ingredients to infuse overnight, then serve over ice the next day for a refreshing, hydrating, no-calorie or sugar drink! Need spa pool party food ideas? Make mini sandwiches and light bites for the girls to enjoy, like veggies and hummus, chocolate-covered strawberries and grilled pizza.
- Décor – Recreate a spa atmosphere in your own backyard with soothing music, aromatic candles and neutral furniture and décor. Treat yourself to botanical hydrotherapy by heating up your hot tub and placing aromatherapy crystals in the water. We recommend Spazazz’s hydrating, pampering line of hot tub crystals that come in fabulous scents like Honey Mango and Tropical Rain.
- Games & Activities – Hire a beautician for the afternoon and treat your guests to a manicure or pedicure. Make DIY sugar scrubs by combining sugar, coconut oil, your favorite essential oils, then place in small mason jars. Gently scrub into hands and feet for a resort-like spa experience.
- Party Favors - Place individual containers for each girl with a nail file, polish and toe separators on small tables draped with pink paper or lilac cloths and small bowls filled with water and floating flower heads.
- What to Wear – For this soothing occasion, think comfy clothes, like fluffy robes, slippers and athleisure wear. If you decide to do facials, don’t wear heavy makeup because you’ll have to wipe it away before your treatment.
Tips for Throwing a Successful Pool Party
- Make sure you have some extra towels and flip flops for guests who forget their own.
- Provide a room for guests to change into their bathing suits and leave their clothes.
- Plenty of umbrellas are a must for guests who prefer to relax in the shade.
- Do not use glass around the pool area. Broken glass is a pool owner’s nightmare.
- Place your pool furniture around the edge of the pool with tables in between where guests can put their food and drink.
- Have lots of inflatable pool toys in the pool so guests can have fun splashing about with them. Looking for cool pool inflatables? Check out our pool float guide.
- Curate playlists for the party so you don’t have to worry about it during the event.
- Candles, especially floating candles, make gorgeous party décor. Citronella candles on tables are useful for keeping the bugs at bay.
- Have sunscreen and bugspray on hand for guests.
- Mark the depth of your pool with waterproof tape for your guests’ safety.
- Spritzer bottles of water placed in ice buckets are great for your guests to spray and keep cool during the event.