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Six Tips for Throwing the Best Block Party

Keep these things in mind when planning your summer block party, and you're guaranteed to find success.

By Kaitlyn Chow on May 22, 2014

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Stephan Hawk

America lives for weekends once summer rolls around. Getting outside and enjoying every second of the warm weather can be the perfect excuse to host a neighborhood party. Throwing a good block party is all about planning – even planning when to start planning! With these tips and tricks, you’re bound to whip up the best party your block has ever seen.

Start with a “planning party.” Invite other interested neighbors over for a round of snacks and conversation to discuss early preparations for the block party.

1. Choose a location.

Before you try to hula, there might be some bureaucratic hoops to jump through. Call your city chamber to find out about fees, insurance and permits required in your area.

2. Pick a date.

You might have to give a 90-day notice to the city for a permit. Allow enough time for this to process and always choose a rain date just in case. Observe neighborhood courtesies when setting the time of day.

3. Decide on food.

Pepperplate.com is an online tool to help you coordinate dishes with other neighbors so there’s plenty (and just enough) of everything.

4. There's an app for that.

A good planner knows how to delegate. Have everyone sign up and share responsibilities. Doodle.com will help you coordinate schedules. PitchInapp.com can also help you communicate amongst volunteers. You can get to this online or download a version for your phone.

5. Deliver Invitations.

You can design cards online with tools like SimplytoImpress.com, GreetingsIsland.com, or go big with your event planning with SplashThat.com.

6. Line up the activities.

In the end, the key is choosing the right games and entertainment. Here are some of our favorites:

Framed photo booth – you can paint and decorate one or more old picture frames (find one cheap at your local hobby store like HobbyLobby.com). Hang it in a tree, set it up against a basic backdrop or use as a prop, and have someone with a tri-pod camera ready to snap some fun pictures of anyone willing to strike a pose.

Glow-stick bowling alley – Fill up plastic bottles with water and break some glow-sticks, pouring one color into each bottle so it glows. This is a great afternoon game that only gets more fun as the light wanes. 

Bake-off – Chili, cakes or cocktails – pick your favorite dish and let the competition begin!

Homemade ice cream – Either churn homemade ice cream or buy from the store. You can create fresh treats by offering a table full of delicious add-ons like chocolate or butterscotch syrup, sprinkles, chocolates chips, cookie bits, etc.

Bike parade – Have kids and adults alike decorate their prized wheels and have a parade down the street.

Movie in the yard – make some popcorn and set up a projector in someone’s front or back yard for an event treat for everyone. Pick a family-friendly movie!

Bean bag toss – simple “classic” games can keep everyone moving and having fun.

*Photo courtesy of Lafayette College, available under a Creative Commons license.

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