We live in the best neighborhood ever. It’s almost like someone created an awesome people magnet here and all these awesome people just bought houses in our ‘hood. For that reason, we celebrate with an annual block party. I have been helping to put this together every year, and since many of my friends ask how we do it, I figured it was worthy of a share here.
Block parties are a great way to create a sense of community, and also just a great way to meet all of your neighbors! We’ve had a lot of new people move in recently too, so it was great to put names to all the new faces.
Find out your town’s regulations.
This is your absolute first step. You should be able to find this on your town or city’s website. Our town, for example, has a form that has to be signed by the abutters, and we have to send it in with the day and time that we want to hold the party. Our selectmen’s office approves it and sends us the approval letter.
Select a date.
I know this is obvious, but choose a date where most people are around. The old tradition in our town is to do it on “Town Day,” which is an annual town celebration. Town Day ends around 3, so we start ours at 4. People like to attend town day, so we know most people will be around. Town Day is in September for us, so school is already underway and people aren’t typically on vacation.
A place, of course!
We have a dead end in our neighborhood, which is perfect. If someone is willing to host, great! Parks are also a good bet.
Invite, invite, invite.
We take a layered approach with this. A simple flyer with the date, time, what to bring (we just ask to bring a dish to share, and a chair if they’d like) and a contact phone number with any questions. Then we send out an Evite to our email list. Each year, we put out a signup sheet so we can keep adding to the list. We don’t require signups for food– we may end up with five macs and cheeses, but we’re okay with that.
Three to four of us organize, and we provide the following: tables, water, balloons, kid activities, music.
We keep it SIMPLE. This year we did chalk, bubbles, and fake tattoos. Most of the kids are just happy to ride their scooters in the street!
We also do a “donut dangle,” which is also sometimes referred to as bobbing for donuts. We do one round for the kids and one for the adults. You hang donuts from a string and people have to eat them off the string without their hands. First person who eats their donut wins!
All in all, it’s a great time– it’s simple and fun, and people always look forward to it. In fact, when people move to the neighborhood, the block party is the first thing they hear about.