Sunny days and sultry nights give us the perfect excuse to throw summer parties! Good friends, good food and the great outdoors is all you really need, but when you throw in a theme, it’s sure to be a sizzling success.

Let’s take a look at five hot summer party themes.

1. Nautical nights

Get ready to sail into a fabulous night with a nautical themed party. This one’s all about the décor, to give your guests that all-important ‘out to sea’ feel. If you have a verandah, convert it into a cruise ship deck, complete with sun loungers and blue and white striped towels.

Hang nautical banners, life preserver cut-outs and fishing nets across walls or in trees in the backyard. Think navy, red and white for a main colour scheme, and don’t forget the paper umbrellas for your cocktails.

To really make a splash, invite everyone to come dressed in their nautical best, as sailors, captains or even mermaids - if they really want to go all out!

2. Beach blanket bingo

Take a dive into retro beach movies, and theme your party around 1965’s Beach Blanket Bingo. This one works best if you have a pool area, or you can set it up at the beach for a colourful twist on your next summer event.

Props and décor couldn’t be easier, as a few blow-up beach balls and beach umbrellas in reds, yellows and blues set the scene. Add in a surfboard or two, a 60s soundtrack for tunes, polka dot tablecloths and vintage inspired-swimsuits. To top off your retro theme, hire a hot dog cart with a variety of relishes in dispensers, and watch your guests have the time of their lives.

3. Puppy power

Are you surrounded by friends and family with dogs? Everyone loves their canine companions, so why not include them in your next summer party? It’s a great chance for dog lovers to meet everyone else’s furry friends, and the kids will love it.

Obviously, you’ll need an appropriate venue like a dog park or large, fenced back yard. Really set the mood with puppy paw tablecloths, banners, toys and large bowls of water. After that, all you need to do is sit back and watch the entertainment unfold.

4. South seas style

Why fly to paradise when you can create one in your very own backyard? This theme is all about the tiki torches, so go for gold. You can line your driveway with them, place them around the pool, or illuminate a verandah in style.

Greet each guest with flower leis, place bowls of pineapples on tables, and offer a dress up basket of grass skirts and straw hats.

Hire bongo drums to create the perfect ambience and give your guests a chance to make their own party tunes (just warn the neighbours first!)

5. Mexican fiesta

A colourful, Mexican fiesta is perfect for summer parties. Of course, there’s the ever-popular piñata to look forward to, but put a summer twist on the fun with water balloons attached to tree branches. Kids – and big kids – can line up and take turns at cooling down with a swing of the bat.

Décor is simple, with brightly coloured paper flowers in vases, strategically scattered confetti over table runners and surfaces, sombreros for wall hangings and dress ups, maracas and strands of fairy lights.

It’s amazing how quickly a fun theme puts the sizzle into a summer party – now you can start planning yours!