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Independence Day Party Theme - Fourth of July - Crazy Hat or Hair Party
Since the Fourth of July is supposed to be the loudest, happiest and most patriotic party of the summer, I decided to take a cue from my son’s middle school and add a theme to our annual backyard bash. Every year at my son’s school there is a crazy hat or hair day. The kids go all out and it is a lot of fun. So when I sent the invitations for our July 4th party, I told guests they had to come with the craziest, most outlandish, silliest, hat or hairdo they could think of. The one prerequisite was it had to be red, white and blue, or any combination of those patriotic hues.

I found an image of Uncle Sam and used it for the top of the invitation (an 8 ½ by 11 inch piece of white paper). Beneath him I wrote the details of the party and told guests to come dressed according to the hat/hair theme. I added that there would be a competition and prizes awarded for the best decorated hats and hair. I rolled the invitations up and secured them with a red, white, or blue hair ribbon and mailed them in tubes.

We turned our backyard into a red, white and blue masterpiece. Guests entered through the gate and were greeted by a six-foot-tall stuffed Uncle Sam. An extra large red bucket containing festive hats for anyone who forgot their creativity at home, sat next to Sam. Helium balloons were tied to every chair, table leg, post, tree branch – any available surface. American flags on sticks were placed in the potted plants, around the grass, and in flower beds. The tables were covered with checkered tablecloths. On each table I put a hand painted pot filled with geraniums. I bought regular clay pots, painted them white, and then sponge painted red and blue stars on. Crepe-paper streamers in red and blue hung from the patio cover. And I purchased large cutouts of presidents (Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson) at a local party store and stood them around the tables.

Once everyone had arrived we held a parade to show off guests’ decorated hats and hair. I played some patriotic music I bought at the party store over the backyard speakers and asked guests to “march” around the backyard so everyone could get a good look at everyone else. The “heads” (as I called them) all looked great. One girl had put braids all over her head and each was a different color. Another had teased her hair and covered it with red, white and blue glitter. My brother painted a white chef’s hat with the American flag and wrote the words to the “Pledge of Allegiance.” And another friend had dreadlocks coming out of a blue top hat with gold glittery sticks that were symbolic of sparklers. It was difficult to choose a favorite but my husband and I finally decided on the most creative, most patriotic and most original. Each winner was rewarded with a small picnic basket filled with All-American goodies – Cracker Jacks, peanuts, Hershey bars, bubble gum and an apple pie.

We served an old-fashioned Fourth of July picnic for dinner. Included was fried chicken, barbequed hot dogs and hamburgers, corn-on-the-cob, watermelon, coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad and pasta salad. Coolers were filled with ice and canned sodas, juices and Corona beer. We put picnic blankets on the grass for the kids to sit and eat on while the adults ate at the tables. Guests could finally let their hair down while they ate and when everyone had finished, dessert was served. I brought out a large cake decorated with American flags and sparklers. We watched as the sparklers burned out, then began cutting. In addition, I served Twinkies and ice cream, brownies, and berry pies. Once everyone was completely full, we played a few games.

The kids enjoyed a water balloon toss while the adults assembled into teams to pass a red balloon between their legs and then over their head until they were all the way through their line. When the last person received the balloon, they had to sit on it and pop it – a bombs bursting in air finale. Next we brought out a karaoke machine we had rented. We encouraged everyone to give it a try. After the first few guinea pigs, guests relaxed and were willing to have a go at it. The few who absolutely would not sing, no matter what, became our judges. They voted to have contestants removed from the “stage,” and held up score cards (1 to 4, 4 being best in honor of the 4th of July) after each performance. We limited the musical choices to good old fashioned American music like the “Star Spangled Banner,” “Back in the USA” by Chuck Berry, “Comin’ to America” by Neil Diamond and “Surfin’ USA” by The Beach Boys.

As the sun finally set, we piled into our cars and headed over to watch the local fireworks display. We all put our hats back on, touched up our hairstyles, and enjoyed being part of the holiday attraction. In fact, I think we looked better than the fireworks!

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