1Work your Labor Day theme.
Have your local bakery create a cake in the shape of a brief case or hardhat. Type up your invites to look like paychecks. Hang vintage labor posters and red, white, and blue bunting and string lights. Play American music by working class heroes like Bruce Springsteen and Louis Armstrong.

2Lay in barbecue supplies.
Sure, you’re going to do hot dogs and hamburgers, and chicken, and ribs. But consider throwing some brats and kielbasa in the mix, maybe even seafood. Don’t forget the veggie burgers and the beer. You’re also going to need charcoal, lighter fluid, etc.

3Make it a potluck
When people ask “what can I bring?” be ready with an answer. Give your guests their assignments the week before. Your guests will appreciate your organization. No one likes showing up with the same dish as someone else. Outsource all the sides and salads and desserts to your guests.

4Play lots of games.
Traditional games like three-legged races, sack races, relays, horseshoes, and tug-of-wars are a great fun and a terrific way to get the youngsters good and worn out so they’ll get a good night’s sleep before their first day of school. Chill autumn air is just around the corner, so take advantage of the last warm days with badminton, volleyball, maybe even a whiffle ball game. Send everyone home with a brown lunch bag containing candy and a lottery ticket—so if they get lucky they won’t have to work any more!

Always have lots of tea and coffee for sleepy drivers heading home on roads teeming with homebound holiday traffic.

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