How to Plan a Neighborhood Block Party
I’m still new to our neighborhood but have been invited to many block parties here since moving in eight months ago. Our neighbors put together themed parties often and it’s incredible how quickly and seamless the plans happen. They delegate tasks, have an online forum to discuss ideas and everyone contributes with their own strengths in the group so it’s a comfortable process for all. How to plan a neighborhood block party is a quick list of everything you need to do to get your neighbors celebrating together.
It could be the start to summer, specific holidays, neighbor birthdays or just because you enjoy spending time together – block parties are a great way to bring out everyone for the fun.
What to do first
Getting to know your neighbors is a great first step. We moved onto a street of established friends that had already been hosting block parties for years together. They have a solid perfected system and get their plans moving quickly but like with any learning curve, it all has to start somewhere.
Establish a guest list
Interact with your neighbors and determine the size of your party. Deciding if you’re inviting everyone that lives on your street, the full neighborhood or just close friends will help you draft the guest list. If you’re keeping it casual, setting up an online invitation with the ability for your guests to invite friends is a great way to help make sure you’re not leaving anyone out unintentionally.
Find your strengths
We are all unique with different strengths. Establish who enjoys party planning and determine the roles each person feels most comfortable with. These conversations usually take time to develop but sometimes you get a new neighbor like me that quickly throws in, “I know a great local t-shirt printing company, DesignAShirt.com, and can create a design for shirts to wear at our next party.”
Plan the Neighborhood Block Party
Each party is different depending on the time of year, theme and a variety of other factors. Aim for a date everyone is available to attend but also realize while planning a neighborhood block party it’s impossible to work around everyone’s schedule.
Planning a party usually means you already have a specific theme in mind. If your neighborhood block party will include children be sure it’s kid friendly and be mindful of everyone’s preferences.
Date and Location
Our neighborhood block parties happen either at the end of our street on the cul-de-sac or in a neighbor’s home. Depending on the size of the party you could also host at your neighborhood park or common areas. Check with your HOA to determine if there are specific guidelines you are required to follow prior to setting a location for your neighborhood block party.
Set up a Facebook event for a place to easily discuss the block party and keep everyone updated with the plans. Some neighbors are not on social media so a friendly verbal invitation gets exchanged at the mailbox or during nightly walks to the park.
Food & Drinks
Sign Up Genius is how our group communicates party needs and designates guest contributions. Some parties are a full potluck but others have catered meals. Be mindful of budgets and time. For quick block parties on short notice everyone brings a dish but the parties that have been planned for months sometimes include a taco truck (Hello Cinco de Mayo!) or snow cone machine in the summer. Details can be discussed in your online forum or through a planning meeting. The Sign Up Genius should always include paper goods (plates, napkins, utensils) and items for the children like snacks and juice boxes. With a big group there are many different dietary needs and drink preferences so it’s encouraged to bring your own drinks if you plan to have anything beyond the basic water, soda and party punch. A tub of vanilla ice cream takes basic drinks over the top for an easy party upgrade like with these Dr Pepper floats at a college football party.
Our last neighborhood block party included bouncy houses and water slides for the children to play. The total rental cost was split between the number of children each guest brought to the party. Salsa competitions, cook offs and game nights make frequent appearances at our parties too.
If you’re hosting an outdoor neighborhood block party, decorations might not be necessary. We live near a beautiful desert landscape so for my last dinner in the desert party the decor was very minimal. Most times with a neighborhood party, everyone can bring an item (tablecloths, party banner, photo backdrop, etc) and it won’t be an overwhelming task for one.
Your neighborhood block party Sign Up Genius should also include party essentials like canopies and shade tents, tables, power cords, etc. For outdoor parties each neighbor brings their own chairs but the basic items might need a small set up crew to help get the party area established. If food items are being shared tables should be set up early so dishes can be arranged as guests arrive.
I quickly learned our neighborhood block parties are full of many extra details like matching shirts and competitive obstacle games. I worked with DesignAShirt.com for a discounted rate on matching shirts for all the party attendees. The screen printing and embroidery company was really great to partner with when I made my daughter a personalized rock climbing shirt so we turned to them again when we were making a larger amount of matching shirts. With a huge selection of shirts and the ability to print your own design with as many colors as desired, it’s easy to make personalized and affordable shirts for your neighborhood block party.
What are your best tips for planning a neighborhood block party?