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How to throw the perfect pool party

By Ashley Dostie
On June 12, 2010

You know the old saying – "summertime, and the living's easy…" Or is it?

Internships, job applications, summer courses and the stresses of moving back home with your parents leave little time to enjoy the summer sun.

Nothing compares on a hot summer day than the sun shining, an ice cold margarita or light beer, and of course, a refreshing pool. It may be fear of the ocean for some, or the unwanted seaweed and sand that lingers long after a beach trip, but the pool is a clean, less tedious alternative to a day at the beach.

Next time you decide to pack up the sunscreen, accidentally forget the umbrella, or aimlessly search the beach for an open spot, consider throwing a pool party instead. Although the pool will not be filled with masses of toys and aquatic games as it was when you were younger, that does not mean the pool party will be any less fun.

Traditionally, the phrases "college student" and "procrastination" work hand in hand. Therefore, you can never plan the perfect pool party too far in advance.

Be spontaneous, but also use a bit of that soon-to-be college degree to be sensible. Yes, there is nothing like an oasis of cool water to escape the summer heat, but to afford the college lifestyle of 30 racks and handles of vodka every week, students need to work! Opt for a weekend, and start the party first thing in the afternoon. Also, keep the invitations open with regards to time. An all-day pool party is the smartest choice to assure all of your guests attend.

Now for food and refreshments. The trick is not to overdo it! Estimate a hot dog and hamburger per person. If you would like, add some cold salads like potato or macaroni, chips, slices of fruit and dessert to the mix.

As for refreshments, a necessity for any college student get together is alcohol, as long as you and your guests are 21 of course. No need to get fancy: the point of your pool party is a nice escape from the heat with a few beers – not a nice escape from the heat with a few of your friends unexpectedly drowning. Assume three or four beers per person, and keep hard alcohols to a minimum. Do not forget non-alcoholic refreshments to keep your guests hydrated, like water, sodas and assorted juices.

Next comes decorations. Despite the childish allusion decorations sometime portray, decor can be made fun and festive at any age. Without overwhelming the party in brightly colored streamers and bows, try to take on a theme, like a Mexican Fiesta or a Hawaiian Luau. Tiki torches are always fun and affordable decorations, as are grass skirts, miniature umbrellas and scattered seashells. If a Mexican fiesta sounds intriguing, try sombreros and tequila. As for a Hawaiian luau, opt for rum and pineapple juice.

Once these necessities are taken care of, it is time to figure out how you will entertain your guests. When we were younger of it was much simpler, give us a ducky raft and maybe a noodle and we were set for hours. But with college students, the key is games.

The perfect game for any rowdy college student pool party is pool pong. The table itself looks like a raft and is placed in the pool, but comes equipped with two triangular arrangements to hold cups. Pick the teams, fill the cups with the beverage of choice, and pass out those ping pong balls. To prevent the pool from becoming more beer than water, a helpful tip is to fill the cups with water and keep a bottle or can of beer in hand. This will not only keep your pool clean, but also keep guests from becoming too intoxicated.

Now comes chicken fights. Proceed with caution as this game was fun as children, but becomes a bit more aggressive with adults. Although most public pools ban chicken fights due to their dangerous nature, as long as there is no hair pulling, biting or roughhousing, this game is very entertaining. The game requires two people per team, preferably a boy and a girl. Whoever is lighter in weight sits on the shoulders of the heavier teammate. The goal is to knock the opposing player off of their teammate's shoulders and into the water.

Another fun party game that will entertain the boys as well as the girls is a swimsuit contest. All contestants must exhibit his or her best pose. Nominate two or three judges, and let the laughter begin. Games like volleyball and water basketball are also very simple choices to entertain guests.

Now that the pool party is set, it may seem like the time to sit back and enjoy yourself. But before proceeding to the festivities, don't forget about pool safety. Keep reckless behavior away from the edges of the pool and keep your drunken, belligerent friends out of the deep end. Do you have siblings of a responsible age? Spot them some cash or food and have them play lifeguard for the day. Keep all utensils paper and plastic and try to keep any glass out of harm's way. If you light any kind of device to repel bugs, be careful about where you place it to prevent a fire. Don't be stupid, don't dive into the shallow end and don't get drunk and assume your friend is drowning and that you need to save them. All will end in disaster.

With that in mind, enjoy the party.

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