If you’re close with the community you live in, throwing a neighborhood block party can be a lot of fun. Large community parties like this are perfect for July 4, Memorial Day, and even a joint graduation celebration. It brings everyone together, and allows for a break from the busyness of life.
But planning a big neighborhood bash is quite an undertaking! There are some major differences between a regular ol’ house party that you’ll want to prepare for. Below, we’ve included the major steps you won’t want to miss—from planning through execution.
First and foremost, make sure this is something your neighbors can and want to attend.
Create a Facebook group or start an email chain with your neighbors and find one or two dates that work for the majority. This will not only give them an early head’s up, but it will also give you options when you ask the city for permission. But be sure your invitees know the dates are tentative until the city approves them. You don’t want to get party fever before the date is official!
For convenience and safety, your location is very important.
Your neighborhood block party doesn’t have to be right on the street. Instead, you could find a local spot nearby to host it at. This is an especially good option if you live on a busy street. But wherever you host it, make sure there’s plenty of lighting, and that you have a way to safely block the area off from traffic. Traffic cones won’t cut it for this!
Bonus Tip: If you don’t live on a dead-end street, consider putting up signs on the surrounding streets so drivers know ahead of time that the road is closed.
Of course, if you’re using part of the street or nearby spot, you’ll need permission from the city.
To do this, we recommend you go your local City Hall or look online for the required lead time, and any applicable fees. In general, we recommend giving your guests 6-8 weeks’ notice with the invitations, so aim to file with the city two months before the party. This is where having multiple date options comes into play—if there’s a problem with one date, you have a backup!
Bonus Tip: Permission to close a street does not mean permission to drink in public. There’s a separate procedure for that, so if you want to enjoy some beer or wine, make sure to get the “OK” for that, too.
This is big undertaking, and you’re going to want some help!
Once you have permission from the city—and before you start inviting everyone—establish your crew. Put someone in charge of games, someone else for seating and tables, and others for set up and clean up. If you have a lot of kids in the neighborhood, have them help! They can set up, hand out any invitations, and pick backyard games.
Now it’s time for the real fun to begin!
Consider who you’re inviting, and the the best way to reach them. Do you have a tech-savvy group? Facebook might be the best way. Do you have busy families always on the go? A flyer they can stick to the fridge may work best. Whichever is the best method for your neighborhood, consider doing double-duty. Use both email and a flyer, or mail invitations along with a phone call. As we said earlier, we recommend 6-8 weeks’ lead time for everyone to clear their schedule up.
Don’t Forget the Kids
Make sure there’s plenty of fun for them!
If everyone in the family is having fun, the party will last longer. If you have a pool, be sure to note that on the invite. There are also plenty of backyard games to play—ask around and see if any neighbors can bring a game when they come. You could even ask each family to bring a game or ball for the kids to use.
This is very important! You definitely wouldn’t leave your house messy after a party; the same goes for a block party. If you’re not feeling up for the task, the city will clean it—but they will charge you for the effort.