National Night Out™
National Night Out™ is an annual evening in August designated for neighborly get-togethers. But block parties aren't limited to that night. Get one together anytime.
Find block party recipes, tips and more.
Simple summer shortcuts
Block parties can – and usually are – super simple. All it takes is one person (it could be you!) to get the word out. Set up a few food tables in a yard, and tell the neighborhood to bring food to share and some chairs. That's it. To take it a step further:
- Add a few games.
- Get donations from the neighbors and rent an inflatable jumping thing for the kids.
- Hire a few babysitters at one house, and send the kids there; make the block party a wine and cheese party for the grown-ups.
- Make it an impromtu event, like Flamingo Friday. Get a kitschy flamingo that you and the neighbors share. When you want to host a block party, put it in your yard signaling to the neighbors that this Friday, the party's at your place.
Potluck party food
What's a block party without fabulous food? Get everyone together, ask them to bring a dish to share, and sit back and enjoy the spread. Need some ideas to get you started?
Wondering how much to make? Use our handy food amounts chart.
Games and fun
Plan ahead for a few simple activities to get neighbors mingling and kids giggling.
- Ask neighbors to bring a cake to the block party, and hold an old-fashioned cake walk.
- Fill water balloons ahead of time and have a grown-ups vs. kids water balloon fight.
- Local fire departments are often willing to send a fire truck to a block party for kids to get an up-close look – and a short lesson on fire safety.
- Provide a clipboard with paper to pass around the party, and ask neighbors to jot down phone numbers, then after the party, print and distribute a directory. As you all keep a watch on your neighborhood, it's great to have contact information so you can report anything unusual.
- Bend the triangular part of wire coat hanger into a circle. Bend the base of the hanger hook at a right angle to the circle. Fill a basin with a few inches of bubble solution, and make giant bubbles for kids (and kids at heart) to pop.
- Allow some time for neighbors to introduce themselves and tell how they came to live in the neighborhood.
- If there's a creative parent or teen on your block, line him or her up as a face painter. (Inexpensive face paint is available at craft stores.)
- Ask shops in your area to donate small toys or treats, and fill a pinata.
Just a few details to make the block party easy, extra-fun and trouble-free!
Assign neighbors supply paper products, beverages, grills, chairs and tables.
If you deliver invitations by hand, you can encourage people to come – and to volunteer to help.
If you are blocking off the street, you'll most likely need a permit. Allow at least a month to get the OK from your city.
Haul out a few big trash bins. If they're handy, folks will use them and cleanup will be all the easier.
- Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. See our Food Safety Tips.
Before it gets too dark, gather everyone for a photo.