A block party is a great way to get to know the neighbors, but how exactly does one go about planning for one? PartyJoys will give you ideas and the know-how of how to throw a block party with guaranteed success.
Did You Know?
These parties are believed to be a WWI innovation, originating from the East Side of New York City. It is reported that back then, the entire block was roped off and members of the block who had been to war were honored with patriotic songs and a parade.
You’ve been to your fair share of parties, yes? Have you ever been to a block party though? You know, the one where the whole block or a particular community on the block gathers about to have some fun together? Block parties are all the rage these days―’cause not only do they give the neighborhood a chance to get together to have some fun, they also give them an opportunity to improve relations. Win-win.
Block parties became quite popular in the ’70s and it was from these early parties that the main themes of dance, entertainment, and activities have been inspired. It really is a lot of fun to get together with the neighbors and celebrate whatever be the occasion. It allows everyone to meet and bond, and it increases the camaraderie―which is really important, especially in today’s world of strained relationships. But, we philosophize. Let’s forget about the philosophy behind the party and get to the party itself. If you’re planning on throwing an amazing block party and need to know all there is to know about how to plan and host one, the details of the same have been given below.
It’s All in the Planning
A party of this magnitude requires some major planning―more importantly―planning done right. No need to get overwhelmed, here’s what you need to look into.
Fix a Date and Time
Fix a date and time for the party―very important. Usually, the weekend is considered an ideal time to have the party. You can hold a meeting with a few neighbors to get a consensus of which would be an ideal day or time.
Get the Permit
Since the party is held on the streets, the block is usually roped off and the traffic is redirected. To do this, a special permit is required. This is required to be filled in 90 days prior to the scheduled date of the party. Contact your local government body or council to find out the details of the same because every city has different rules for this one.
What’s the Party About?
It is very important to decide the theme of the party―all further planning depends on this factor, may it be food, decorations, or entertainment. The theme is usually a pot luck brunch or dinner. You will also have to decide what are the things that will be made available and what are the things that everyone needs to get on their own.
Make Those Invites Fa-haa-bulous
The invites have to be fabulous―no two ways about it. Make sure that each and every person is invited, there are no exceptions to this rule. Also, the invites have to be given at least a month in advance. The invites should have all the details of the party―the date, time, theme, activities, and any special instructions that need to be given―like bring a snack or your own chairs. The RSVP should be added to the invites as well.
Here are a few samples that you can look into and design your invites accordingly.
… And Of Course the Decorations and Signs
A majority of the decorations will depend on what the theme of the party is. If there is no particular theme that is being followed, then you can look into putting up buntings, balloons, and streamers―this depends on the budget. Since it is a potluck theme, you will have to specify that they have to get their own chairs or any other dish that is needed. This will be cleared in the invites, of course. And whatever you do, don’t forget to put up a sign stating that the street is closed for the block party. It is also important to have barricades put up so that there is proper safety maintained and people can easily access the street.
How About these Themes?
How about a Barbecue party for the whole block? A nice, lazy, late Sunday eve BBQ? This is an ideal setting for a family set up. There can be stations put up all around and the adults will take turns at the grills. The right music flowing in, some activities held on the side… perfect.
Or how about a karaoke station? A few games (and pegs) down and everybody is taking their turn at the machine … fun times, fun times.
A carnival is also quite the popular theme that is taken up at these parties. Stalls are put up everywhere and depending on the kind of budget that is available, candy floss carts, and popcorn stalls line the street.
Let’s Make it an All-activity Party
These parties are about having fun, loosening up, getting to know each other, and much of the same―what better way to do this than to play games and hold activities? This is the crux of the party really, especially if it’s a residential area with a lot of families. Usually, these parties are a great mix of the games and other forms of entertainment. There are activities like face painting, and crafts for the kids that are arranged. Bouncy houses are also made available. Sometimes, a band is hired as well, and if not, music is usually played from a system.
Other than these activities, games are arranged because they act as instant ice breakers. Make sure that the games aren’t too complicated, they need to be extremely simple so that everyone can participate in them and a lot of time is not wasted arranging for the same. And, they need to be a mix of games that can be played by both―adults and children. Here are some block party game ideas to play.
Gunny Sack Race
In this, gunny sacks are provided and the participants have to get into them, pulling them up till their hips. They then stand at the starting line and at the blow of the whistle, they have to hop across to the finish line. The person who reaches the finish line first, wins. You can have batches for this game, and a final game for all the winners to decide the penultimate winner.
Lemon on Spoon Race
Give each participant a spoon and a lemon. They have to place the lemon on top of the spoon and then walk from the starting to the finish line while balancing the lemon. If the lemon falls to the ground, they are disqualified. Like in the last game, in this game too, the final winner can be decided with the help of a match between all the winners.
Tossing Water Balloons
Pair up two people and make them stand with a distance of 6 – 8 feet between them. Provide a bucket that is filled with water balloons to one person and provide an empty bucket to the other. At the blow of the whistle, one person takes the balloon and tosses it to his partner, who has to catch it and put it into the bucket. At the end of a minute, the team that has the maximum balloons, wins.
Ask the Firemen and the Local Heroes to Drop in
One of the highlights of a block party is to have the local police and fire department drop in. Some blocks even have a commemoration for local heroes like war veterans or celebrities. It is considered quite the fun to have these heroes grace the occasion. Many times, as a gesture of goodwill and to increase the camaraderie between the community, the firemen will invite a young kid to come up to the truck and ring the alarm.
Do you see how much fun these block parties are?! Insane amounts of fun! And such a great way to get to know the neighbors, you know? Go do it then, have a great, great block party and wow everyone senseless.