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Throw a backyard Labor Day bash with end-of-summer foods, drinks and games

Say goodbye to summer while welcoming fall with a backyard Labor Day celebration featuring fun games, delicious drinks and festive food.
/ Source: TODAY

Lifestyle and entertaining expert Barbara Majeski is turning off the grill to have even more fun this Labor Day. She shows us how to have some serious end-of-summer fun with easy recipes, creative decorations and great DIY games.

Seasonal Décor

Throwing a Labor Day party is a blend of trying to hold onto summer while gearing up for fall.

Using classic backyard barbecue décor of gingham tablecloths with beautiful floral accents is an ideal way to mesh the two seasons. Using this oilcloth fabric sets the perfect tone. Set out vases of fresh sunflowers to complete the look.

Delicious Drinks

Start off the celebration with some libations that everyone will be gushing over. Here are some ideas:

Blueberry Mint Spritzer

Nathan Congleton/TODAY


1 ounce blueberry vodka, preferably Smirnoff

1 ounce blue Curacao

1/2 ounce cranberry juice

1/2 ounce lime juice

1 pinch muddled mint

5-10 blueberries


In a cocktail shaker add a handful of ice, vodka, blue Curacao, cranberry juice and lime juice. Shake and pour into a tall glass filled with ice. Garnish with the muddled mint and blueberries.

Madras Frozen Pops

Nathan Congleton/TODAY

Keep the kids away from this frozen treat! This one is for just for the grown-ups.


3 parts cranberry juice

1 part orange juice

1 part vodka

12 snack-size zip-top plastic bags


In a cocktail shaker, add a handful of ice, vodka, cranberry juice and orange juice.

Shake and then pour into zip-top bags, seal tightly and freeze overnight (or, use a popsicle mold if you have one).

Kids' Hydration Station

Fill two giant beverage dispensers, one with water and one with lemonade and let kids serve themselves.

Barbara Majeski

Food for Conversation

These festive foods do double duty as conversation starters and make it simple to talk since they're so easy to eat.

Mason Jar Pulled Pork Sandwich Station

People will never stop talking about this pulled pork sandwich station. Not only is it visually mouth watering with all the scrumptious fixings but it also gives the grill master the day off.

Set out every fixing you can find. Nothing is off limits. A few recommendations are guacamole, onions, peppers, lettuce, bacon bits and shredded cheese. Don't forget the hot sauce! Then in a larger bowl, cut up bread into bit size squares. Corn bread or a soft potato rolls are recommended.

Hand each of your guests a mason jar to fill and make their own sandwich. This eliminates the awkward hold-your-plate-while-eating-a-sloppy-sandwich-with-one-hand dilemma. Instead, this monstrous sandwich is contained!

Mason Jar Pulled Pork Sandwiches

The balance of sweet and savory flavors is what makes the pairing for tender pulled pork and freshly baked corn bread so perfect. Serving it in a mason jar keeps mess to a minimum and lets your guests customize their meal.

Corn-on-the-Cob Pinwheels

Nathan Congleton/TODAY

Using the food as part of your décor is a double dipping win! The crowd goes wild for these visually adorable and healthy side dishes.

Cut corn into 2 inches wheels and boil to your desired tenderness. Take skewers and pierce the wheels. Then stick into a foam stabilizer in a ceramic pot.

Darling Desserts

End the festivities on a sweet note with autumn-inspired treats.

Campfire-less S'mores

It's not fire pit season yet, but we are starting to get hungry for our beloved s'mores.

Barbara Majeski


2 milk chocolate bars, preferably Hershey's

1½ graham crackers, crushed

12 pretzel sticks

12 marshmallows


1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Microwave the chocolate in a small bowl for 1 minute, stirring until completely melted.

2. Place the crushed graham crackers in separate bowl. Thread a marshmallow onto each pretzel stick.

3. Dip marshmallows into melted chocolate, then into crumbs. Place on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Apple Snickers Salad

Nathan Congleton/TODAY

Turn fresh apples, creamy pudding and candy bars into a sweet caramel-apple inspired dessert with just 6 easy ingredients. Kids and adults alike will love this creative treat. Get the recipe here.

Engaging Games

Keep kids entertained with fun backyard games that you can set up yourself using just a few easy-to-find items.

Nathan Congleton/TODAY

Pool Noodle Javelin Toss

Re-purpose pool noodles for a fun javelin toss game. With just a few noodles and duct tape you can make a fun game to aim, throw and win like a backyard javelin pro. Find full instructions here.

Giant DIY Ker-Plunk Game

Take game-time fun to a whole new level with a giant-scale version of the classic Ker-Plunk game. Get the step-by-step instructions here.