Elizabeth Enright once said “Plan a dinner, yes, or a house, or a budget, or an appointment with the dentist, but never, never plan a picnic.” I beg to disagree. Picnic virgins or the caught-off-guard should not be deprived of the spontaneity and sunshine of a pop-up party.

As the weather gets warmer and your upper-level Calc class gets less interesting, why not take advantage of the longer days that mark the start of spring? For those of you who don’t know, the days between the first signs of green grass and the first frost is picnic season.

Therefore, us at Spoon University have done you a favor and put together a foolproof directory to encourage you to take your #collegefoodie out into the fresh air. Here is a guide for pulling off the perfect picnic that is the quintessential mix of impulsivity and preparation for even the most inexperienced picnickers.

Scout It Out


Photo courtesy of beachhousetci.com

Location. Location. Location. Aside from the food, the reason you’re picnicking is to get outside. You should make sure to pick your park/garden/beach etc. with care.

Crucial components:

  1. Views: Take it to a hilltop or riverside or your campus arboretum.
  2. Terrain: Make sure that shit is level. Falling into a ditch is a sure way to ruin your picnic.
  3. Access to trash and recycling: Littering is not cool, bro.

Avoid at all costs:

  1. Beehives/ants
  2. Agressive boom boxes
  3. Frisbee enthusiasts
  4. Seagulls

Big Ass Blanket


Photo by Kristine Mohan

Much like being the third person walking behind two people on a sidewalk, not being able to fit on the picnic blanket is awkward AF. The unwritten rule behind blanket sizing is to provide each picnicker with nine square feet of lounge space. Keep this in mind when selecting a suitable blanket.

Other blanket qualities to consider are the value you place on said blanket. It is inevitable that spilled wine, mud and cracker crumbs will wreak havoc on most textiles. When in doubt, repurpose and recycle old quilts or tablecloths.

Basket Innovations


Photo courtesy of Jason Jonathan

We get it, you’re a college student, so telling you to buy a stylish wicker basket and red checkered tablecloth is pretty much the same as asking you to not eat ice cream for the rest of your life. Not all heroes wear capes. Let these crucial containers help you with all your food transportation needs.

  1. Mason jars: Show off your hipster side and cooking abilities with these bad-boys.
  2. Tupperwear: An excuse to throw a party in themselves.
  3. Baking pans: Keep it simple and don’t repackage those brownies.
  4. Thermos: Equally useful for keeping hot chocolate warm and cocktails cold.
  5. Utensils: Make everyone be responsible for their own and avoid plastic waste.

Menu Management


Photo courtesy of honestly.com

Whether a novice or a pro, you know that the menu is the most crucial part of the picnic. It can make or break your al fresco excursion. In order to avoid fiasco, here are some tips to help you and your friends achieve your picnicking aspirations.

  1. Communication is key. Make sure you and your friends decide what kind of food theme you’re craving. Telepathy doesn’t quite work with hunger. Theme ideas: farmers market, Greek deli, Spanish tapas, vegetarian, Southern cooking, Eiffel Tower views
  2. Spontaneity needs simplicity. The most relaxing and original picnics don’t require 4 course meals, but rather they rely on light bites.
  3. Sips. Salads. Supper. Sweets. Make sure you fill each of these categories with at least one option for each. Then you can be sure you have a well rounded meal.

Leave No Trace


Photo courtesy of Margret Weinberg

Mother Nature is hosting your party, so be a respectful guest and pack up everything you brought with you on your picnic. If this is difficult for you, plan ahead and use reusable containers or bring garbage bags with.

We hope this guide helps you take the picnic season by storm and that you take full advantage of our advice for your next outdoor concert, birthday celebration, or badminton tournament. Hopefully we gave you a worthwhile reason to play hookie.