How to Throw a Block Party

Nothing makes friends out of strangers faster than an old-fashioned neighborhood block party. Planning one is easier than you might think, especially with these tips and crowd-pleasing recipes!

ORGANIZE A COMMITTEE

Drop flyers in your neighbors’ mailboxes to see who’s interested in helping you plan the party. Once you’ve got a group together, divide up the tasks: food, entertainment, decorations, setup, cleanup and treasurer. It’s best to let others select their own responsibilities rather than assigning them; they’ll be more excited and engaged in the process. Communicate by group e-mail to keep everyone informed.

SET A DATE

Late spring, summer and early fall are excellent times for a block party. If there are lots of families in your neighborhood, consider the last week of school (in May or June) or the first week of the new school year (in August or September), when the most people will be in in town. Once you’ve chosen a date, contact your local government and get any necessary permits to close your street. When you’ve got your permits, your party is official: post signs or hand deliver invitations to your neighbors.

PLAN THE MENU

Get the neighbors involved by planning a potluck meal. For your contribution, try one of these recipes:

Salad: Cranberry & Pear Turkey Salad
For the Grill: Smokin' Succulent Grilled Pork
Dessert: Blueberry and Peach Cobbler 
Kid-friendly Casserole: Creamy Mac ‘n Cheese

BOOK THE ENTERTAINMENT

Sometimes all you need for a great block party is nice weather and good conversation. But consider tapping into the talents in your neighborhood. Maybe there’s a garage band or a vocalist in your midst! A brief performance can be a focal point for the party and give guests something to talk about.

PLAY GAMES

Enliven the party with sack races, a talent contest for the kids, sidewalk chalk and relays. Or bring yard games like bocce or pétanque. But remember, the more accessories a game requires, the more pieces there will be to pick up later.
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