Happy America’s birthday. everyone. We hope you are ready for some grilling, some fireworks and plenty of cold drinks. This Fourth of July has the unfortunate distinction of falling in the middle of the week, which means that most people will be getting up and going to work before and after the festivities. But let’s be real here: We know that’s not going to stop you. Approach your patriotic partying with caution though. With a full day of celebration punctuated by dangerous explosives, there’s more than one way to screw up the Fourth of July. Here are some mistakes to avoid.
Believing One Case of Beer Is Enough
“Someone else will bring drinks.” Those famous last words have sunk many summer parties. This is an all day affair and you should always assume that everyone who is coming will believe that a bag of chips dusted with imitation lime covers their responsibilities. The worst thing that could happen if you overstock is that you have drinks for the rest of the week. You should also load up on some easy to make summer concoctions. You can put together these punches by just dumping the ingredients into a gallon jug and shaking.
Buying Only One Bag of Ice
Almost as bad as running out of drinks? Running out of ice. Load up with enough of it to fill a cooler almost to the top—less empty space will mean slower melting. Drinking something warm in early July might be enough to make you want to move to Canada.
Forgetting That It’s Freaking July
The only thing more certain to show up than a heat wave on Independence Day is your friend in an American flag tank top chanting USA, USA! The Fourth is mostly an outdoor experience, so remember sunscreen (especially for tank top guy) and water. If you’re out in a park somewhere, a couple liters per person should do it.
Falling Asleep Before Sundown
The fireworks show that coaxed you into spending the day on your friend’s uncovered rooftop isn’t going off until after 9 p.m., and drinking all afternoon with no break or shade is a good way to wind up face down on a deck chair while everyone else “ooohs” and “ahhhhs.” Take whatever precautions you need to to ensure you make it all the way through the evening. George Washington would have wanted it that way.
Trying to Go to Too Many Parties
It must be very hard being you, getting invited to half a dozen get togethers for the Fourth. You might have promised everyone that would stop by at some point, but that is the other surefire way to end up face down in the aforementioned deck chair. Even worse, because you’ll be on party number five, you may not even know whose deck chair it is.
Only Drinking “American” Drinks
We know there is a big push this time of year to drink American. We’ve even done some of the pushing. But just because this is the quintessential American holiday doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself of thirst quenching sour beers or Mojitos. You can hold all the patriotism you want in your heart. You don’t also have to hold it in your mouth.
Exploding While Drinking
It should be obvious that you shouldn’t be setting off fireworks at 10 p.m. if you’ve been drinking since 3, but apparently not obvious enough. After all, the reason they show those videos with dummies dressed just like you blowing their hands off every year is because people actually do that. Bad things happen when you mix cocktails and gun powder and the fuse is almost always shorter than you think it is.