How to throw a Great Block Party

Community parties are an excellent way to get to know your neighbors. They foster community spirit and strengthen bonds between the families and friends within a neighborhood. Whether you live in an apartment building or a small community, throwing a party is a fabulous idea to get people together. JumpStart has some great ideas on how to make your next party a great success without any added stress.

Successful Block Party

12 Tips for Hosting a Great Block Party

Throwing a neighborhood event is all about planning. To host a memorable bash for neighborhood the without any hitches, you will have to start preparations a minimum of two months in advance. In fact, the earlier you begin, the more time you will have to pay attention to details and the less likely you are to have unpleasant surprises. Here are a few great tips that you can use to host an event that your guests will remember for all the right reasons.

  1. You don’t have to plan the block party on your own. Enlist the help of other families in the neighborhood. This can either be by co-hosting or by putting a different family in charge of each aspect of the preparations. If expenses begin to pile up, don’t hesitate to start a neighborhood collection to fund the arrangements.
  2. Find out about the legal processes involved. If your plan to close off a street, you will need to inform the proper local agencies about it to get legal permission to do so. If you are hosting it in a cul-de-sac or other public area, find out from the relevant authorities about any restrictions or guidelines that might need to be followed. In some cases, you may need a special permit, to pay a certain fee, receive a written okay from every household on the block, or an event insurance policy. Find out what the rules are in your neighborhood.
  3. Periodically review the progress you’ve made. Meet your co-host or volunteers at regular intervals to discuss preparations and challenges. You’ll need to have all your permissions in place a month or so in advance and your invitations out at least 2 – 3 weeks ahead of the engagement.
  4. Choose a time and neighborhood location convenient for all your guests. Try to have the event somewhere that could act as middle ground. Also avoid having the community gathering during holiday vacation times or on weekends as fewer families will be free to attend.
  5. Arrange for plenty of food
  6. Arrange for plenty of food. Everyone that’s attending will be expecting to eat. This does not mean that you spend the weeks leading up to the event holed up in your kitchen. Just ensure that there is enough food for all of your guests. Popular options are to have the food catered, to ask each invited household to bring enough food to cover their family, to have a potluck or to make the main dish and ask each family to bring a side dish. The rule of thumb with food is that it’s better to overestimate than to underestimate. After all, you do not want people to leave when still hungry.
  7. Don’t leave anyone in your nieghborhood out of the fun. Events like these are for everyone who lives in your area. There should be no exceptions to this. If you don’t have contact information for all the families on your street, use flyers or a neighborhood newsletter to invite everyone in your community.
  8. Be prepared to borrow equipment. This applies to any equipment that is a must for your party and a waste when it’s over. For seating arrangements, it’s perfectly normal to ask attendees to bring lawn chairs with them.
  9. Have name tags for the guests. It’s unreasonable to expect all your guests to know each others names. Make mingling and conversation easier by having name tags for your next neighborhood gathering. Keep a stack of them along with a marker near the entrance so that guests can fill them in and put them on.
  10. Entertainment for all ages
  11. Make sure to create a fun environment for those that attend. Plan ice breakers and games for various age groups. However, use them only as required. Games and activities are great as conversation starters but prevent mingling if used excessively amongst adults. For kids, it’s best to have a constant supply of games and activities planned.
  12. Be considerate of those that don’t come. Respect the families that don’t turn up and make sure not to have the music system blaring late into the night. It is also be a good idea to have a sign clearly indicating which houses and yards are part of the event so that guests don’t wander into the wrong ones by mistake.
  13. Get everyone involved with the clean-up. At the end of the party, there’s bound to be a big mess. Whether you’re at home or in a public location, make sure to clean up after yourselves. Make it easier for yourself by enlisting help from the guests or the planning committee. Keep big plastic bags around for the trash. You can even make it part of the activities for the kids by having a prize for the group or individual that collects the most garbage at the end of the party.
  14. Expect a few surprises. No matter how much you plan or prepare for the party, a few things might go wrong. If this happens, don’t get too worked up about it. Assess the situation calmly and react reasonably. Problems tend to seem a lot bigger than they actually are when you’re the host.

And finally, have fun. Even if your guests meet one new family during the party, you have done your neighborhood a service. So feel good about yourself and enjoy your block party!

Looking for other ways to meet your neighbors? Find out about popular spring community activities and the benefits of joining a neighborhood association.

Planning to throw a party at home? Find out how to throw the perfect party, even while sticking to a budget!

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