How to Celebrate the 4th of July in Your Backyard
If your community's celebration was cancelled, learn how to celebrate the 4th of July at home.
While more places are open this summer compared to last, 4th of July celebrations might still look different this year. Some communities are scaling back their parades and fireworks displays, while others are cancelling them completely.
Here are fun, festive and safe ways you can celebrate from the comfort of your home. Find small-batch recipes, clever ways you can connect with your community and a whole bunch of ideas for backyard family fun.
Small-Batch 4th of July Recipes
Food is definitely one of the best parts of the 4th. And while we’re not heading to a full-blown potluck this year, we still plan to enjoy all of our favorite dishes.
- Family Picnic: Who wants a hot dog? Celebrate with all of the foods the 4th is famous for—scaled down to feed a family of four. We’re talking cookout staples, summer salads, grilled corn and more. And for dessert? No one can say no to an All-American Banana Split.
- Regional Recipes: The 4th of July celebrates all Americans. Expand your horizons by trying a dish from a different region. We have small-batch recipes from the Midwest, down South, out East and out West.
- Red, White and Blue Desserts: From berry-topped pies to dazzling Jell-O salads, these patriotic dessert recipes will be the star of the show.
- Cool-Down Drinks: Whether you’re looking for non-alcoholic options or want something with a little more oomph, keep cool with a delicious drink.
How to Celebrate with Family and Friends
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If you’re not ready for large gatherings, there are still many ways to celebrate with a small group! Here’s how to stay connected.
- Organize a Neighborhood Parade: If your community’s annual parade was cancelled, put together a smaller version with your neighbors. Let the kids go to town making signs, decorating their bikes and dressing up in patriotic garb. Then, make your way around the block at a specific time, honking, waving and wishing everyone a Happy 4th.
- Swap Sweets: Spread a little cheer to a neighbor or family member by dropping off a tin of treats. These 4th of July cookies are a sweet place to start!
- Show Off Your Spirit: Who says neighborhood decorating competitions have to be for Christmas? See who can put together the most patriotic house on the block. We’re talking flags, bunting, chalk art and red, white and blue lights. Award a small prize to the winning family.
What to Do on the 4th of July
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The grill is lit and the drinks are cool—now it’s time for some good ol’ fashioned fun. These ideas will keep your gathering going all day (and night!) long.
- Enjoy Some Friendly Competition: Get ready to name a family corn hole champ. Spend some time playing yard games with your crew.
- Put Together a Playlist: Every holiday needs a soundtrack! And the 4th of July is no exception. Round up some feel-good summer tunes and blast ‘em all day long. Our top picks? Surfin’ U.S.A by the Beach Boys, Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffet and Chicken Fried by Zac Brown Band.
- Bring the Beach to Your Backyard: If you can’t make it to the beach this July, bring the beach to you! Our how-to guide outlines everything you need.
- Get Glowin’: No fireworks show this year? No problem. You can still (safely) celebrate at home with glowsticks, a bonfire or some sparklers. Just make sure you check local regulations, first.
- Watch a Patriotic Movie: Set aside time to watch a holiday film as a family—we suggest Hamilton on Disney+. And bonus points if you set up your theater in the backyard!