Whether you’re new to the neighborhood and looking for a fun way to break the ice with your neighbors or a lifelong resident of your block giving back to your community, throwing a block party is a great way to get the whole neighborhood together for a good time! Follow these 5 simple steps and your party will rock!
1. Play By the Rules
Many communities require a permit for a block party and may have various restrictions on noise ordinances, large gatherings, etc. To be safe, make sure that you’re covering all of your bases. Your best bet is to check with the Homeowners’ Association, city hall, and the local community board before any final details are set or invitations are sent. If you’d like to block off the street for the party, you will probably need a petition with signatures from the residents of your neighborhood. This is something you’ll need to discuss with your local city hall for further instruction.
2. Build the Guest List
The best way to get started when planning a block party is to know your audience. If you’ve lived there for years and know every member of every family, you know exactly who you’re catering to. If you’re new, all this takes is a friendly introduction. Go door-to-door and introduce yourself to your neighbors. Let them know your plans for a block party and ask about their interests and ages of family members. This is a great time to get a few helping hands on board if you don’t want to plan the party alone. Try designing a flyer about your ideas for the block party and ask your neighbors if they’d be interested in attending and/or helping. You’ll also need a fairly accurate headcount to plan for the right amount of food and entertainment, so be sure to keep tabs on the number of people interesting in attending!
3. Entertain the Kids
Kids love to jump and play! Make it easy with one word: Inflatables. Bounce houses or inflatable games will be a hit with the neighborhood children! If the block party is in the evening hours, consider renting an inflatable movie screen and playing a family-friendly movie.
Alternatively, consider hiring a roaming magician, clown, or face painter to keep the kiddos entertained. You can also organize some good old-fashioned yard games like egg races, relay races, hula hoop contests, potato sack races, and more!
4. Entertain the Grown-Ups, Too
The kids are off playing– now it’s time for the adults to have some fun! Hire a cover band to perform your old favorites and really start rocking the block. Cover bands can play a little of everything and keep the party vibe going all night!
If your neighbors seem shy, hire a bartender to serve up some liquid courage! After all, no one is driving home after the block party. Ask your bartender to help you come up with a drink list and make a menu using catchy neighborhood-themed drink names. (Main St. Manhattan, anyone?)
Horseshoes, washers, and corn toss games are perfect games for adults at a block party. Make your own corn toss game! Click here for instructions.
5. Don’t Forget the Food!
Everybody likes to eat! You can handle the food preparation a number of ways. If your budget allows, hire a caterer so you can just relax and enjoy yourself at the block party. You have enough on your plate as it is– no pun intended.
But, if hiring a caterer just isn’t in the budget, this is your chance to enlist the help of your neighbors! Ask your neighbors to volunteer their grills for the party. Having a bunch of small grills is better than no barbecue at all! Call it a potluck and ask everyone to bring their signature dish, or turn it into a “Cook Off” or “Bake Off” if you’re feeling competitive. You think your grandma’s apple pie is better than my grandma’s apple pie? It’s on!
Planning to cook for a large crowd can be challenging, so here’s a handy guide for knowing how much food to buy and cook.
You could also book concessions like popcorn, cotton candy, or snow cones to make the party a little more festive!
If all of this planning sounds like a bit too much for your busy schedule, hire an event planner to do it for you! After all, they are professionals and will make sure that your block party is fun for everyone and follows the rules. And for all your outdoor party entertainment needs, visit GigSalad!