Throwing a block party isn’t as hard as you’d think! Here are 5 easy steps to get your first block party off the ground and running, and you’ll be planning your next one in no time.
If you’re new to your neighborhood, or your child is entering elementary school age, then you know just how important it is to know your neighbors. And it can be really difficult to find meet other families, especially if you’re a working mom. I recently teamed up with a few other moms in my neighborhood to plan a neighborhood block party with these intentions:
- I want to have friends in my neighborhood I can hang out with;
- I want my kids to have friends when they start school; and
- I love meeting new people and seeing friendly faces around my home!
CHOOSE THE DATE
First step is choosing the date and getting some general buy-in from any neighbors affected by the party time and location. One of my friends lives in a cul-de-sac, so we were able to use her area for the block party. She went door-to-door and let them know about our idea for the block party and asked their permission. Everyone was thrilled that we were going to do it and excited to attend!
TIP: Make sure if you’re planning an afternoon event to check what time sunset is during that month. You don’t want to be packing up the party in the dark!
MOBILE CATERING & FOOD TRUCKS
San Diego has so many amazing food trucks, but the tough part with many of the popular ones is that they require a minimum or pay upfront to reserve them. Keep your eyes open at birthday parties, street fairs, and around the neighborhood for food trucks and mobile catering companies that you can contact. Ask if they would be willing to come to your block party and charge the attendees for any food or drink purchased, rather than footing the bill yourself and trying to collect donations.
TIP: If you’re flexible on your event date and times, you may find some trucks aren’t as busy on Sundays or during off hours.
If you’re trying to meet families, then you’ll need some activities for the kids to keep them occupied while you make new friends. Sidewalk chalk, amateur face painting, coloring stations, and maybe even a bouncy house. A bouncy house is sure to attract neighbors to your block party and most likely people will want to chip in! Typically they cost around $100 delivered and setup, and you’ll be able to put them on concrete or the grass.
TIP: Grab a few parents at the party to help you manage the number of kids bouncing at a time. It’ll save you the time to mingle and also help prevent injuries!
BYOB & SNACKS
Once you have the date set and vendors confirmed, you’re able to spread the word! For our first block party we didn’t know anyone so fliers were the only way that we could communicate. On our fliers we included an email address for any questions, and also asked that people bring their own beverages and a snack to share. You’ll get more than enough food and cookies – even if you don’t have a food truck!
TIP: Let people know ahead of time to bring cash if they would like to purchase a pizza, ice cream or other goodies at the party.
CONNECT & REPEAT
Make sure to have a welcome table at your block party with an email signup sheet so you can share pictures from the event, and also connect in the future for other block parties. Our neighborhood also created a Facebook group, which now families use for impromptu biking get-togethers, lemonade stands, or rummage sales. It works great to get together on the fly!
TIP: Order name tags and markers so that attendees can meet & greet more easily. It’s really hard to remember so many names, and it keeps the conversation moving. Maybe even jot down the names of your kids too!