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Pack the perfect picnic with these themes

Pack the perfect picnic and enjoy a day out at a Highland Lakes park. Staff photo by David Bean

No matter how you pack it, a picnic provides a positive break from the pressures of life. The key to the perfect picnic is in the planning, even for an impromptu occasion. The important part is to be creative. Here are a few theme-based picnics that look like a lot of fun.


Fried chicken, potato salad, baked beans, watermelon, lemonade, brownies, and perhaps a round or two of croquet.


Easy-to-build sandwiches, chips, and flavored popcorn mixes. Typical outdoor games such as sack races or water relays, moving water from bucket to bucket with sponges.


Kid-friendly foods such as peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and banana sandwiches, puppy-dogs (mini-hotdogs), and water-squirting tag games.


Any food you would find in a ballpark, including hot dogs, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks. Competitive outdoor games such as flag football.


Food from different countries such as a Mexican fiesta with a taco bar, chips, and salsa. Bring along a piñata to provide candy for dessert. Kick around a soccer ball or throw a Frisbee.


Set out a picnic hot dog bar with cooked wieners, buns, and toppings. Play a game of outdoor photo scavenger hunt using camera phones to capture images from a predetermined list.


Pull out the skewers for kabob-style sandwich squares on a stick along with fruit, veggies, and even cookies and brownies. Bring out the big stick and some music to see how low you can go in a game of limbo.


Waffles or French toast fingers with fruit and whipped cream, hard-boiled eggs, cheese biscuits, chopped fruit, and juice. Guests come in their PJs and use uncooked eggs for a few rounds of egg toss.


A fingerfood fiesta of sandwich squares, veggies sticks, whole bananas and strawberries, chips, and cookies. Use spoons for an egg race.

What to pack besides food, plates and utensils

To be prepared for anything, bring blankets, chairs, a tablecloth, sunscreen, bug spray, games, music, and trash bags. If the family dog comes along, be sure to have water and dog treats.

For a list of parks in the Highland Lakes, visit Don’t forget: Your own backyard could be the best place ever.

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