Do you know your neighbors? Why not get to know them by throwing a block party? Summer is the perfect time to gather your neighbors for some fun, mingling, food and games. We’ll help you organize the best block party ever. Ready?

Organize the Best Block Party Ever

Step 1: Invites and sign ups

First, reach out to the neighbors you know and narrow down a date. Once you have a date and time chosen, start spreading the news! To cover all your bases and maximize turnout, reach out both in your neighborhood and online. Check out a free printable site like Echo Park Paper Blog and download their free block party invites printables. Next create an event on Facebook or Evite and spread the word online.

Consider including a sign up sheet for potluck and equipment, or create one on Sign Up Genius, encouraging your neighbors to go online and sign up for what they will bring to the party.

Step 2: Setup

Make a checklist ahead of time. Some items you should have ready: several tables, disposable tableware, napkins, cups, chairs, name tags, coolers, ice, and disposable table cloths. You’ll probably want to begin setting up for the party at least an hour ahead of time.

Step 3: Food

Food is important. GOOD food is key. Barbecuing hot foods like hot dogs and hamburgers are always a winner, but why not add some variety? Some suggestions:

  • Salmon, ribs, bratwurst, or chicken
  • Barbecue Corn on the Cob – break the cobs into two pieces and double how far they go. Here’s a delicious recipe from Food Network: Perfectly Grilled Corn on the Cob
  • Potato Salad
  • Pasta Salad
  • Tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole. Check out this Chipotle copy-cat guac recipe.
  • Fruit skewers
  • Veggie trays
  • Iced tea, soda, water, and if desired, beer and wine.

Dessert deserves it’s own paragraph. Personally, I think no party is complete without chocolate chip cookies, but that’s just me. A dessert table with an ice cream sundae station would be a big hit. Keep the ice cream in the freezer until it’s time for dessert, and then let the kids (and adults!) create their own sundaes. A friend recently attended her neighborhood block party and they had a cotton candy machine. Get creative!

A note about special diets:

  • Do you have babies and toddlers in your neighborhood? Keep little-kid friendly food on hand, such as Cheerios, squeezable fruit pouches, and juice.
  • Have note cards and Sharpies handy at the food table for neighbors to write down what their dish is, and whether or not it has peanuts, gluten, and other potential food allergens in them.

Step 3: Games and Activities

You gotta have games, right? Here’s a quick list of games you can bring out for some fun:

  • Ladder Toss
  • Cornhole
  • Water Balloon Toss
  • Three-legged race (a classic, right?)
  • Lawn Darts (the safe kind!)
  • Bubbles
  • Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt
  • Super Soakers
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Giant Jenga:
Toydle: best block party games - Giant Jenga

Check out this rousing game of life-sized Jenga!

If you have older kids in the neighborhood, invite them to participate in running some of the games for the younger children. Get everyone involved!

Want to learn how to make your own Corn Hole set? Check out this great tutorial: How to Build a Regulation Cornhole Set

The Neighborhood Superhero: You

There you have it – you are the neighborhood hero! You can now officially organize the best block party on the block. Block parties are a wonderful way to foster a sense of community with your neighbors and have some fun. The camaraderie and connections will last long after the party is over.