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Summer Party Planner

16 Tips for an Effortless Outdoor Party

Here’s how to create a backyard oasis where the revelers are satiated and no one gets eaten alive.

Girl about to hit a star piñata
Mark Scott/Ideal Home
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Decorate in a Pinch

In fact, you really only need one party decoration (hint: it's a pinata). It’s colorful! It’s interactive! It’s wise to hand out the broom before everyone has had three margaritas! Buy a big piñata that fits the mood of the fiesta (try orientaltrading.com or confettisystem.bigcartel.com). “Fill it with dollar-store items in one color. Monochromatic always looks chic,” says Calder Clark. “Buy things people can wear, like sunglasses and necklaces. It will make fun photographs.” Other festive loot: lottery tickets and—especially for a pool party—mini water pistols.

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