A block party is a great way to spend a sunny day outside and get to know your neighbors. Set up the block party across front yards, backyards or in the middle of your street (check permit requirements). Gather the food, entertainment, and, of course, your neighbors for an easy party right outside your door.
1. Let’s eat! The easiest plan is a potluck where everyone brings a dish to share. To make sure you have everything you need, put your event on SignUp Genius (signupgenius.com). Guests can pick from a list of items needed - green salad, mustard and ketchup, dessert - without duplication. For the main dish, you can ask everyone to pitch in for the cost. Guests can bring their drinks in a personal cooler or you can include it in the cost of the main dish.
2. Go play in the yards. Set up each in the front or back yard with a different outdoor game. Suggestions include Bocce, yard Twister, croquet, lawn tic-tac-toe, volleyball, badminton, horse shoes, bean bags, or ladder golf. Bring out the hula hoops, jump ropes, and balls of all sizes. You can also make a four square game with chalk or tape on a driveway.
3. Fun stations. Set up self-serve stations offering sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and temporary tattoos. Enlist some of the teens on the block to help with face painting. Create a simple background for selfies and group photos. Provide a large frame, sunglasses, boas and hats to be used as props.
4. Take a collection. This is a great opportunity to give back to your community at large. Call your local food bank and see which items they need the most this month. Collect new and gently-used school supplies for families who are struggling. You can even help the furry friends of the community by collecting gently-used towels and blankets for a local animal shelter.
5. What can you borrow? Most of the basic items needed for a block party can be found in everyone’s garage. Ask everyone to bring their outdoor tables and chairs, coolers, and lawn games. Pull out the kiddy pools (adult supervision required), sprinklers, and water guns. Determine who has tents, grills, and other tailgating items.
6. What should you rent? If there are small children at your block party, you might want to rent a character costume to meet and greet the kids. Just keep in mind the temperature outside. If the block party is taking place on a really hot day, a very light costume is definitely the better choice.
7. Nighttime fun. Use glow-in-the-dark sidewalk chalk to make cool art. Create a glow-in-the dark-scavenger hunt by hiding glow sticks in neighborhood bushes and trees. If allowed, set up a family-friendly movie to be shown on the side of a house or garage door.
Pam is a freelance writer, a suburban mother of three, and the neighborhood party planner.
Editor’s Note: In Calgary, you must obtain a Block Party Permit from The City of Calgary. The City requires you to obtain a Block Party Permit prior to closing a roadway for entertainment purposes. For more information on cost of the permit, the rules and regulations for holding a block party, and to apply for a Block Party Permit, visit calgary.ca/Transportation/Roads/Pages/Traffic/Permits/Block-party-permits.aspx.
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