Just because backyard barbecues, beach vacations, and rooftop hangs often include alcohol doesn't mean you have to drink to have a fun summer. In fact, more and more people are starting to explore sober-curious and lower-alcohol lifestyles, with recent data revealing that the number of adults who drink are declining.
All it takes is one great booze-free hang to show your friend group that not every get-together has to include alcohol. Take this carnival-themed backyard party idea, for example: your guests will be having such a good time playing outdoor games and indulging in nostalgia-filled snacks, they won't give a second thought to the drinks (or lack thereof). Here's how to create your own backyard carnival — and cheers to good, clean fun.
Listen, you're never too old for mini golf — or a water-balloon fight, or any number of the games you used to love as a child. Pick one of your favorite childhood activities, and re-create it in your backyard. Think: a super-miniature three-hole mini-golf course, an amped-up game of tag with water balloons, or a temporary-tattoo station with a wide range of options.
You can't have a carnival without cotton candy, corn dogs, and kettle corn — it just wouldn't be the same. Instead of ordering pizza when people get hungry, stock up on all kinds of nostalgic carnival foods and set up a smorgasbord of snack options. If you do want something ice cold to sip on, stock up on Heineken 0.0. It's alcohol-free and only 69 calories, but it has all the refreshing beer flavor you know and love.
Don't overlook the appeal of craft time — especially one that allows your friends to make a bit of a mess. Set up a classic Y2K DIY: the balloon splatter painting. Fill balloons with different colors of paint, and attach them to a canvas. Set it up somewhere you don't mind getting a little messy, then go wild bursting balloons with darts. Once you've popped all the balloons, you'll have your very own pop-art masterpiece (pun intended). Work on one large communal artwork, or give each of your friends their own canvas to make individual pieces.
No need to shut down the party when the sun goes down — just get creative with after-dark activities. A warm summer night is a perfect opportunity for glow-in-the-dark lawn games, powered by some good old-fashioned glow sticks. Fill empty Heineken 0.0 bottles with lit glow sticks to make your own ring-toss game, or hide different-colored glow sticks around the yard for a scavenger hunt. Either way, your night will be much more memorable than one spent at the local bar.
Must be 21+ to purchase; please drink responsibly.
Illustrations: Katie Smith