Looking for a new way to make fun memories in your own backyard? Look UP!
Stargazing is such a cool, engaging way to spend an evening outdoors – whether you’re hanging out with family or hosting friends and neighbors for a little celebration. “Under the Stars” is also a fantastic theme that’s easy to bring to life using star shapes, metallic accents, and galaxy-inspired colors, especially when paired with delicious snacks!
Since the night sky is the main event, I like to keep the decor simple, yet inviting. Give your backyard a warm, sparkly feel with a few strands of patio string lights, decorative stars, and cozy blankets to share. (You’ll want to turn off the string lights to get things nice and dark when it’s time to stargaze, but they create a beautiful ambiance for the rest of the evening!)
Sprinkle metallic star confetti on the food & drink tables and accent with pipe cleaner stars. To instantly play up the theme, print my “Under the Stars” signs, and check out these printable constellation guides to help guide the stargazing!
If you want to sit or lay down while stargazing, large blankets or beach towels are often all you need. Lawn chairs and big pillows work well for seating options too. (A couple more “guest comfort” items worth considering: 1. bug spray and 2. hydrocortisone cream – for people with grass sensitivity!)
Charcuterie boards are always crowd-pleasers, and they’re even more fun with a theme involved! Use star-shaped cutters and a mix of family-friendly dark & light snacks to create a Moon & Stars Themed Charcuterie Board. Grab your favorite finger foods, including cheeses, crackers, fruits, and dips to create a delicious spread made specifically for your group!
And remember, this is an evening celebration, so make sure to include some decadent sweet treats on your grazing board too, like BROOKSIDE Dark Chocolate Açai and Blueberry Candy and HERSHEY’S NUGGETS Truffles. Metallic-wrapped silver and gold chocolates like HERSHEY’S HUGS & HERSHEY’S KISSES chocolates also pull double duty as sweet treats AND *sparkly* decor!
Turn ANY clear beverage into a “galactic drink” with one little trick: blue and purple ice cubes!
Vary the amount of food coloring drops used so that you end up with 4 different ice cube colors - 2 shades of blue and 2 shades of purple. To keep your drinks from getting watered down, make the ice cubes with lemon-lime soda (or another clear soda/juice) instead of water.
Or, if you’re really feeling sweet, drop a JOLLY RANCHER hard candy in blue raspberry flavor to get that same color and an added bit of flavor!
Once frozen, pile different colors of ice cubes into mason jars or glass tumblers for an instant burst of *galactic* color. (You can also crush the cubes to make pretty homemade slushies!) Garnish drinks with star sprinkles for the perfect finishing touch.
When your crew isn’t busy snacking or stargazing, keep them entertained with star-themed books, playing cards, or a crafty activity like DIY Constellation Journals. For our family stargazing night, I found the most beautifully illustrated book on the night sky that kept the kids intrigued for over an hour (which is a very long time for something not on a screen!).
Stargazing is a great reminder of how big and vast the universe is, and that we are part of a truly incredible world. I hope these ideas inspire you to do some sky-searching of your own and make some fun memories with your favorite people along the way!
Jennifer Sbranti is a mom of 2 and the founder of Hostess with the Mostess (HWTM), a creative lifestyle brand established in 2006. Her graphic design work and party ideas have been featured in media outlets such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, Real Simple, and more. Through HWTM, Sbranti shares inspiring ways to *bring the fun* to special occasions and everyday moments.