Labor Day weekend is one of the last chances to host an epic summer backyard party or reception held in the evening! There is nothing better than taking some time over Labor Day Weekend to relax with friends and family and enjoy your time together away from work.

Hosting a Labor Day celebration doesn’t have to be stressful. Sometimes, it’s the simple things in life that create the best memories:  

1. Becoming a Grill Master

Grilling is a great way to feed a large crowd for any celebration. Instead of being cooped up inside for hours on end cooking your famous pasta, you can be outside with your guests enjoying the good times too! If you’re hosting on a budget, you might ask your guests to bring their own brats and burgers.   

Grilling Safety

Believe it or not, roughly 7,000 Americans are injured while using backyard barbeque grills every year. Here are some basic do’s and dont’s to keep everyone safe:

Do:
  1. Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your home. Really, the further the better. Grills should never be used under any type of overhang as this is a huge fire hazard. This applies to both charcoal and gas grills.
  2. Make sure your grill is clean. If it’s been awhile since you’ve cleaned your grill, make sure it’s spotless for your celebration. Grease and fat buildup can cause a major flare that might be hard to control.   
  3. Keep your decorations away from the grill. Decorations like hanging baskets, banners and umbrellas can add a personal touch to your celebration, but they can also fuel a fire. Ensure flammable materials are located far from your grill.
  4. Keep a water bottle handy. Having a water bottle on hand will help you tame minor flare-ups without harming your food.
  5. Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple of feet from your grill. Hopefully you never have to use it, but make sure you have one handy in the event of an uncontrollable fire.
Don’t:
  1. Turn on the gas while the lid is closed. This will cause gas to build up inside of the grill, and when you do light it and open it, a huge fireball could explode in your face.
  2. Leave a grill unattended. Enlist watchful eyes to ensure the grill is never left alone and that children and pets don’t come into contact with hot grates and food.
  3. Overload your grill with food. This is especially true for fatty meats. Too many items on the grill at once could cause a large flare-up that might light nearby objects.

PRO TIP: One nice thing about grilling is that you can enlist the help of friendly volunteers! Every family has that “Uncle Joe” who prides himself in his ability to create the perfect grill marks on his burgers. Don’t hesitate to let him take the spotlight for a bit so you can take a breather.

2. Choosing the Best Music

Having the right music for the right crowd can make all of the difference in your Labor Day celebration. Whether you choose something laid-back or upbeat, the tunes will definitely set the mood for your party!  

PRO TIP: Create your Labor Day playlist before guests arrive, so you don’t have to play the DJ all night long!

3. Playing the Best Yard Games

Everyone enjoys a little bit of friendly competition in their Labor Day celebration! Keep guests entertained with different types of yard games. Here are a few popular ones:

  • Giant Jenga
  • Croquet
  • Corn Hole
  • Badminton
  • Ladder Golf
  • Musical Chairs

PRO TIP: Take your games a step further by creating a bracket and offering prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place!

4. Cozying up by the Perfect Fire

Having a bonfire is a great way to tone down the evening and relax before the night comes to an end. This leaves room for any missed topics of conversation, and of course, s’mores for the little ones!

Bonfire Safety

If you decide having a fire fits into the grand scheme of your celebration, be mindful of the safety of your guests, especially if there are children around. Here are 8 simple tips to make sure everyone stays safe:

  1. Review local ordinances regarding bonfires. Some cities have “burn bans” or may require a burn permit.
  2. Build the fire in an open area. Avoid building the fire near trees, houses, fences, trash and overhead cables.
  3. DO NOT use any accelerants to start the fire. Creating an adequate base with kindling and a fire starter is the way to go.
  4. Don’t add combustible items to the fire. Items such as fireworks, batteries or aerosol cans can pose a huge fire risk.
  5. Be mindful of alcohol consumption. Ensure you aren’t putting your guests or yourself at risk.
  6. Have a fire extinguisher accessible. This doesn’t have to be the traditional red one you’re used to! You can also have a bucket of water or dirt on hand.
  7. Teach children a safe path they can walk on. Try to keep children behind chairs if they need to leave their seat. Children should never be left unattended around a bonfire.
  8.  Put your fire out at the end of the night. Hot coals can be dangerous for several hours at a time, be sure to extinguish your fire with water or dirt and ensure all coals are covered.

PRO TIP: Have you ever tried different candy bars in your smores? Try using a Reese’s Cup or a Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Cream Candy Bar, the kids will love it!

5. Being the Responsibility Queen/King

Last but not least, a responsible host makes for a great get-together. Making sure that many of the hazards around your home and yard are contained will put everyone’s mind at ease. Keep sharp objects out of reach of curious hands and mouths, ensure no one gets behind the wheel if they’ve had too much to drink and review your insurance policy to make sure you have adequate liability coverage for hosting your event. Everyone will be talking about your bash for years to come!

PRO TIP: Make sleeping arrangements beforehand to ensure guests don’t engage in drinking and driving. As the host, you could be liable if an accident were to occur!

Amy Ingram
Social Media & Communications Coordinator
Amy joined Rockford Mutual in January of 2017 with an Associates Degree in Marketing. Amy has a great understanding of insurance in general as she is currently working towards an Associate in General Insurance designation.