Jul16

Make it a Party: Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Instead of the usual picnic party this summer, hit one over the fences with our super fun and easy “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” bash. You’ll be able to skip the lines and often-expensive tickets at the ballpark, but keep all the stadium fun. Grand slam!

Your Party Plan

  • Location: You will need two things–enough space for a small baseball diamond, and a place to grill and eat outdoors. So host this party in your yard, if you have the room, or at a local park, if you don’t. For an even more authentic stadium feel, check with local parks and schools to see if they have ballfields you can reserve in advance.
  • Attire: Ask your guests to suit up in baseball duds, and don’t forget ball caps. Pick up some extras to make sure everyone’s in on the fun. A cute touch? Black under-eye smudges for all.
  • Decor:  To set the stage, choose décor with a nostalgic red, white, and blue scheme — easy to scoop up close to July 4th or on sale after. Think red-and-white-checked tablecloths and colorful plates, cups, and utensils. Create easy pennants with triangles cut from construction paper hung on ribbons to decorate trees or tables in your party spot. Check local party stores for baseball-shaped balloons, inflatable bats, and so forth, which will make your spot even more festive. Pick up packs of inexpensive baseball cards, too — they make cute banners stapled to ribbon or just scatter on tables or buffets.
  • Activities: What to play? Softball is great if your crew is sporty. Or go with everyone’s favorite — and unintimidating! — Whiffle Ball. No need for nine full innings — just decide how long you’ll play in advance. You can assign teams the day of the party (by family, gender, local team allegiance) or have everyone pick out of the hat to keep it really simple. Don’t forget to name an umpire and two coaches just for fun (yes, with whistles!)

Remember to bring along picnic staples in a tote too! Sunscreen, bug spray, a small first aid kit, a portable radio or speakers, and of course, all of your grilling gear.

On The Menu?

  • Snacks: Cracker Jacks are an obvious must-have. You can also use brown lunch bags to serve whole peanuts and popcorn for an authentic ballpark feel.
  • Drinks: Keep drinks packed in coolers with plenty of ice. Beer, lemonade, sports drinks, and iced tea are naturals, but retro mini-bottles of Coke up the cute factor.
  • Main Course: For dinner? Create a fun and easy hot dog bar! Think shredded cheese, chili, sauerkraut, pickles, onions, and hot peppers. Or stick with a simple, made-ahead treat that combines the best of two ballpark faves: my Pretzel Wrapped Hot Dogs. Keep ‘em individually wrapped in the oven, on low, to pull out when you pile in from the park. The easiest option ever? Pick a park with a hot dog cart and pay up front.
  • Dessert: Some great dessert options include “baseball” cupcakes or cake pops (white frosting, red icing laces, done!), watermelon, or one of our 9 Delicious Ice Cream Sandwiches would be perfect, too. Or go for a big finish: Many ice cream trucks will pull up to a party at request. Keep that one a secret to give everyone a sweet surprise!

Let the Fun Begin!

This party pretty definitely makes the fun for itself! Just make sure things don’t get too competitive; give everyone a chance at bat.

At the end of the day, send everyone home with a package of Big League Chew or Cracker Jacks as a sweet memento of the day.

What’s your favorite ballpark memory?

 

Julie Hartigan

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is a recovering engineer turned chef. She develops recipes and writes about cooking, entertaining, and health for Bed Bath & Beyond, WeightWatchers, FitPregnancy, and others, looking for the spot "where Healthy meets Happy." Julie shares a small urban condo with her 2 little girls, 2 chubby guinea pigs, and 1 very patient husband. You can find her on Twitter @cookingwjulie.

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