Swimming Pool Party Themes

Cheryl Cirelli
Luau decorations
Decorations set the tone for the entire party.

Pool parties can be loads of fun, and setting the tone with the right overall theme is the first step in making yours a success.

Exciting Themes for Pool Parties

A pool party is a great summer party idea. Add a theme and complete it with decorations, activities and food for a festive time.

A Day At the Beach

Even though the party is taking place at a swimming pool, you can recreate the feeling of a beach party with the right decorations. Include a sandbox for a kids party, along with plenty of pails and shovels to play with. Beach balls can be decorative and also fun to play with in the pool.

Large, colorful beach towels can be draped over chairs or fences, and large umbrellas provide both decoration and shade for sun-soaked guests. Motifs like seashells can be used on everything from paper plates and napkins to strings of lights around the pool or fencing.

Food can be kept simple, much like what you would eat at the beach. You can serve pizza, chips, soda and ice cream.

Keep your guests entertained with plenty of music and a game of volleyball. If you have a sandbox, let the kids build a sandcastle.

Under the Sea

Make your guests feel like they're deep below the ocean with an under the sea theme. Hang paper streamers in shades of blue and green vertically along fences, creating a sense of both flowing water and seaweed. Paper fish can be attached randomly on the streamers. Place inflatable or plastic fish, seahorses, dolphins, and other sea creatures on tables, around the pool, and even floating in the pool. A menu to compliment this theme can be filled with a cake done in the shape of a fish, fish and chips, Goldfish crackers and a blue punch.

Some fun activities to include with this theme include:

  • Pin the Tail on the Whale: Use a large whale that you either draw or print out and cut off the tail. Make several copies of the tail to use with this game. Blindfold the guests one by one, spin each around, and have them try to pin the tail on the whale.
  • Beanbag Toss: Place small prizes in beach pails and give guests the chance the throw beanbags into the pails for a chance to win the prize.

Hawaiian Luau

A Hawaiian luau theme is simple to work into any outdoor party. Bright colors, large fresh or paper flowers, leis, and grass skirts are all easy-to-find decorations that can be incorporated into the pool setting. Grass skirts can be hung around tables and on fences, and brightly colored flowers can be placed almost anywhere to create a festive mood. If you're feeling ambitious, create tropical palm trees out of fence posts by wrapping the posts in brown streamers. Attach green leaves cut from construction paper, and finish the "trees" off with a couple of brown balloons for coconuts. For a special touch, float fresh orchids in the pool water or purchase floating candles to use.

To delight your guests, serve a menu complete with items such as:

  • Pulled pork
  • Grilled pineapple
  • Fresh mango and papaya
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Coconut cake

Include some fun luau activities such as a hula contest, limbo contest, hula hoops and games that are fun for all ages. Some games to consider are:

  • Pineapple Bowling: Set up pineapples as bowling pins and use a coconut instead of a bowling ball to try and knock them down.
  • Pass the Coconut: This is played like Hot Potato. A coconut is passed around a circle of guests. Play music; when it stops, whoever is holding the coconut is out.
  • Sand Bucket Toss: Use a sand shovel to dig ping pong balls out from the sand and toss them into a bucket set five feet away. The person who fills their bucket up first is the winner.

Just Ducky

Rubber duck in pool

Use rubber ducks as decorations as well as favors for this fun pool party theme. You can hold a rubber duck race in the pool as the main event of the party. Decorate with rubber ducks and a bunch of balloons and streamers done in bright yellow. Rubber ducks come in all shapes and sizes so include a fun mix to delight your guests.

You can serve yellow food such as cheese, crackers, lemon pie and drinks such as lemonade. For a fun twist, purchase duck shaped cookie cutters and make duck cookies or sandwiches cut in the shape of ducks.

Movie Night

Hold a movie night in your own back yard. You can blow up floating lounges for your guests to relax on in the pool and show a movie on your big screen for a fun movie night. Set up a poolside buffet of movie favorites such as:

  • Popcorn
  • Peanuts
  • Hot dogs
  • Candy
  • Soda

Chairs can also be set up around the pool for those who prefer to watch the movie out of the water.

Mexican Fiesta

Create a Mexican-inspired atmosphere by placing blankets and sombreros around the area of the pool. You can set up several small tables and decorate them with colorful balloons and small sombreros as favors. Serve food buffet style and include items such as:

  • Tacos with all the fixings
  • Fajitas
  • Chips and salsa
  • Margaritas

Hang a piñata to entertain your guests. It can be filled with candy and various pool novelty items such as deflated beach balls, sunglasses and water guns. Play salsa music and let your guests dance the night away.

Barbeque Picnic

A poolside picnic is the perfect way to celebrate summer. It is simple to do and can be done with decorations such as red and white plaid table cloths, blankets on the ground and plenty of red and white beach towels. You will also need a grill.

You can serve your guests grilled meats such as hamburgers and hot dogs and set up a buffet near the pool with plenty of picnic favorites such as:

  • Baked beans
  • Potato salad
  • Corn on the cob

Play games such as volleyball in the pool or relax poolside while sipping on a refreshing lemonade.

Tiki Lounge

Turn your pool area into a tiki lounge for your next party. You can set up an outdoor bar and use grass skirting around it to create your own tiki bar. Tiki torches can be displayed around the pool area as well as strings of lights.

Serve your guests drinks such as margaritas, daiquiris and piña coladas. For the kids, serve fruit punch. The menu can include items such as:

  • Shrimp and chicken kabobs
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • A selection of fun finger foods

You can play a game of limbo in the pool and have reggae music on in the background to complete the mood.

Specialty Swimming Pool Decorations

Balloons near pool

Many specialty retailers carry fancy décor items made especially for pool parties and entertaining. These can include:

  • Light-up fountains that float in the pool
  • Disco lights for the top or floor of the pool
  • Floating seats for one or more people, complete with cup holders
  • Solar powered floating lights

For items like these and more, check sites such as In the Swim or AmeriMerc online, or visit your nearest pool supply store.

Set the Tone

Whatever party theme you choose for a swimming party, be sure to carry out throughout the party. From food to decorations, a theme can add an element of fun to any celebration and set the tone for the day. Use caution with decorations and activities played around a pool. The most important thing to keep in mind is safety of your guests.

Swimming Pool Party Themes