I’ve been to many block party’s in my short time here on Earth, and my family has pulled together a pretty decent handful of them. So I figured I would discuss the ins and outs when it comes to pulling one together.
First you want to spread the word, tell each surrounding neighbor around you, see what they think about the idea. Not everyone is going to be happy about this event, every block has the grumpy old man, or the rich snob who does not want to interact with others. Believe me, one grumpy SOB could ruin the fun for everyone.
Anyways, if all is well, you will have the entire block joining in on the fun, or half. Either way, it’s going to be fun. The best time of year for a block party is of course, the summer time. We usually throw a huge block party on the 4th of July, Labor Day or Memorial Day. People usually have this day off from work, so nearly everyone can attend.
After you have established the block party, be sure to make flyers to stick in mailboxes of those at the far end of your block. Most block partys are only half of the block, but thats because people fail to spread the word to those father down the road. Come on! Don’t leave anyone out.
WHAT YOU NEED:
Now you have a date, you know who is attending, next you want a sheet of things you will need. Just because the block party was your idea, does not mean all costs are your responsibility. Write up a booklet of things you will need. You will be surprised at how much pull some of your neighbors have. One of our neighbors had a cousin who hosted children’s parties, and she was more than happy to join in on the fun and make balloon animals for neighborhood kids. Ask around, is anyone in the neighborhood related to someone that could possibly make things even funner?
You will also need food, hello! Assign someone to bring chips, lots of chips, another person napkins and soda, salads, fruits, does someone have a large BBQ grill that you could use, see who wouldn’t mind cooking a few hot dogs and hamburgers up. But do make sure to be courteous, don’t throw such a large task on one person. You don’t want to upset anyone, or have any unhappy campers at a block party. Everyone is there to have fun. So don’t assign just one person to cooking duties. Everyone has to help!
We always have our neighbors drag out their BBQ grills and they cook for their friends and family. If you want to exchange recipes or sample tastes, feel free. But do not grub off of anyone and expect them to cook for you, unless that is how your party is assigned. Remember each person has their family, and their friends over to eat. Make things easy and drag out your own grill.
Make sure you have entertainment. Hire a DJ, band, or heck, even a CD player is fine. Allow neighbors use to the player, so they may put in what they like. Play something light and easy. No hard rock or rap music. I find that a CD player playing a few beach boys tunes always sets the summer mood just fine, and its light enough as to where it does not bother anyone. Once it gets semi late, do make sure you lower music to an acceptable noise level as to where it will not annoy people on blocks over. The last thing you want is the police to come and break up all the fun.
What else do you have? Say you are throwing a block party on the 4th of July, you’re going to want to make sure, you, or someone on the block has hook up to some damn good fireworks. Remember, their are tons of hot spots for people to go on the 4th. Make your block party worth it to come back every year.
We have a neighbor at the end of the block who’s husband works for Grucci. We always have the best fireworks in town.
If you have a pool, or a neighbor has one, ask if people can use it. If children are there always make sure their is an adult supervising the area. If it gets out of control close the pool up. If no one can supervise close it up.
Also take turns supervising. No one wants to sit by the pool all day while everyone else is out having fun. Close the pool up at night. Lock all gates. It is dangerous for children to be swimming at night even with supervision.
Once you have in order who is brining or making what your next step is to call the local town officials for a road barricade. No one wants cars driving through while a party is going on in the middle of the street. If anyone has friends or family coming in, make a designated parking spot. The roads will fill up fast, and probably inconvenience other people on other blocks due to the line of cars. Do make sure everyone guests do NOT park in someones driveway, or block anyone in. Being rude to those blocks over could land a phone call to the police.
Sometimes neighbors from other blocks will hear the fun and try to sneak in. Keep a wary eye, you don’t want any rude party crashers wreaking havoc. Usually they will try to blend in and do a good job of it. So long as they are well mannered don’t make a big deal of it. However if you see these people just grubbing tons of food, ask them kindly to leave. You certainly don’t want to feed someone whom has not chipped in. If you are too kind, before you know it, you will be feeding his whole family. Use hospitality, but sparingly when you are being taken advantage of.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS:
A head count is not always necessary, but it is nice to have a good idea of just how many people are attending. Do ask neighbors if they are inviting an family or friends, and ask for an idea. A perfect number is unnecessary.
A few hours before the party begins, you want to set up and make the neighborhood look inviting and fun. Hang balloons up on every single mailbox. Use streamers on fences, or party lights on fences, and bring out some candles. At night you want things lit up, the party does not have to stop just because night falls. Hand out glow necklaces and dollar store flashlights to children. Bring out any outdoor tents you may have, or ask neighbors to set up ones they may own. Set them up IN THE STREET for everyone to use.
Be sure to set up lawn chairs, as many as you have. It does not matter who sits in them, just make them available to your neighbors.
Children easily get bored and get annoying if there is not proper entertainment for them. Order a blow up trampoline, or if there is one in the neighborhood, drag it out into the front yard for everyone to use. Do monitor use of the trampoline, or at least make sure there is a safety gate around it.
You may also have someone face paint, or even hire a clown to roam around for an hour or so. Cotton candy machines are also available for rent at local party supply stores, as well as popcorn machines.
Bring out any fun activities for children, and adults alike. Bring out badminton, a soccer ball, set up a volleyball net, drag out a slip and slide for the kids, roll any basketball hoops into the street, and bring out a pile of old squirt guns you may have in the basement, or make a decent sized garbage pail filled with water balloons. A water balloon fight is fun for adults and children alike. Just take a look around your home, you may have more fun things than you think you do.
While everyone is mingling and having a good time, it’s easy to loose track of your child, always make sure you keep a close eye on your child, or anyone else’s child. Having something bad happen to someone at a block party could cause the block party to be shut down never to occur again.
Before you know it, you will have your entire block kicking, and a party that everyone will look forward to year after year- don’t be shy, go and mingle!
HAVE FUN, & ENJOY!