With the 4th of July, the party theme is built right in: an outdoor patio or pool party; red, white and blue decorations; easy and delicious recipes for the barbecue or a picnic; games, and - of course - fireworks.
So, where do you start? We've assembled a bunch of ideas, recipes, plans, projects and pictures for inspiration -- all to prepare you for a fun and festive 4th of July at your house.
Decorating a Patriotic Patio & Pool
- Quick & Easy Patriotic Party Decorations for Outdoors: Cheap ideas for DIY patio pillows, table decor.
- Easy, No-Sew, Patriotic Patio Pillow Covers: In less than an hour, your pillows get festive.
- Patriotic Table Centerpieces: Add some red, white and blue to your table.
- Easy Ways to Create a Patriotic Tabletop: Smart ideas from our Guide to Entertaining.
- Festive Pool Fountains, Lights & Floatables: Decorate your pool with fun fountains and floating lights.
- 4th of July Yard Decorations to Buy: Beyond the flag - decor for every patriotic holiday.
Patriotic Garden Decorations
- Patriotic Planted Baskets: How-to's for red, white and blue container arrangements.
- A Gallery of Blue Flowers: Photos of blue flowering plants.
- Pictures of Red Flowering Plants: Red flowers for your patriotic garden.
- White Flowering Plants: Add some contrast and complete the patriotic look.
- Patriotic Yard Decor Inspiration From Huntsville, Alabama: Americana mailboxes and yard props.
Patriotic Crafts and Projects
- Summer Party Tips Using Ball Jars: Got lots of small tables? Ball jars make nice centerpieces.
- Patriotic Outdoor Citronella Bucket Candles: Keep the pests away with this festive candle project.
- 3D Paper Star Decoration: Enlist some help and have a star-making pre-party!
- Fold & Cut Stars: Courtesy of your computer and printer.
- 4th of July Projects to Entertain Your Guests: DIY fashion for the Fourth.
- Sew Your Own American Flag: Yes, it's possible. Betsy Ross did it -- so can you.
- Citronella Candle Torches: Awesome-looking rocket-like red torches (pictured).
- Red, White & Blue Cuisine: Color-themed cuisine for your party.
- Best BBQ & Grill Recipes for Your Summer Party: A roundup from About.com's food experts.
- Patriotic Dessert Recipes: Pretty and crowd-pleasing sweet stuff (pictured).
- Kosher July 4th Menus & Recipes: Kosher-style recipes for outdoor dining.
- Traditional Independence Day Menu: All the traditional dishes, and some surprises.
- The Top 10 Fourth of July Recipes: So, what's made the list?
- Star-Spangled Nibbles for Watching Fireworks: Because eating and fireworks go together.
- Sizzling Cocktails for the 4th of July: Raise your glass and make a toast!
Entertainment and Music for Independence Day
- 4th of July Folk Songs: James Taylor, the Carter Family and other greats.
- Top 10 Patriotic Country Music Songs: From Tim McGraw, Johnny Cash, Trace Adkins, etc.
- Top 10 Patriotic Oldies: A diverse list that includes Jimi Hendrix, John Denver and Elvis.
- Born in the U.S.A., Bruce Springsteen: This album was on the Billboard chart for 139 consecutive weeks.
- 4th of July Movies for Children: To give them some background info on the Fourth while you're cookin'.
- 10 Classic Patriotic & Political Movies: Films starring William Holden, James Stewart and Frank Sinatra, for viewing under the stars on your patio.
4th of July Fireworks: How-To's and Safety Tips
- 4th of July Science & Fireworks Projects: At home, DIY fireworks from About.com's Guide to Chemistry.
- Fireworks Safety Tips: Read this before you light the fireworks.
- Layers of Protection for Pool Safety: A pool party means you must know these safety layers.
- History of Fireworks: So you'll know, and can be the smart one when someone asks.
- Dogs & Fireworks: Protect Your Pets: What you need to know to keep your best friend safe and calm.