Block party, here you come…summer is upon us and it’s time to get outside and get social! If you are lucky enough to already know your neighbors this one is easy for you, if you wish to get to know your neighbors better this is a perfect opportunity to do so. With beautiful weather, summer holidays and everyone being tired of being indoors you want a chance to be outside, enjoy the sunshine and each other’s company. Here are all the tips and tricks you need to throw the best summer block party.
Invite Guests to the Summer Block Party
First, round up your neighbors and invite them to the block party, it is ideal to invite them in person if possible, and a group text down the road is helpful. Rule of thumb-invite everyone! Even if you don’t really know your neighbor or maybe think they wouldn’t want to go, invite them anyway. You may be surprised at who would love to attend even if you rarely see them, plus even if they can’t make it you might start a new friendship, and it’s a good heads up to what will be taking place.
Also, don’t limit the block party to just your block, sure those are the first guests you might think of and the easiest ones to invite, but if your daughter loves to play with the kids the next block over, or your neighbors are super friendly with the family on the other side of the neighborhood, don’t be shy and invite them too. Think the more the merrier, you won’t be doing all the cleaning or cooking so more people just equals more fun for all at the block party.
Remember for those that didn’t want to come, make sure they know when the block party will be taking place and have your cell phone number in case they have any issues. Most often people are cool with others having fun even if they don’t want to join, but you definitely don’t want to upset your neighbors! It is a simple gesture, that will go a long way in the end and maybe they will even come to say hi and join the fun once they realize they are missing out.
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Divide up the Duties for the Block Party
The best part of the block party is that you get to have a party without all the work of hosting a party by yourself. There is no hectic cleaning of the house prior or making sure you have everything you need for everyone, instead, the whole block will pitch in, which means less prep and more fun for you! Plus with it being outside, no one will have to step foot in your house so don’t worry about trying to shove everything in the closet.
Pot luck and BYOB (bring your own beverage) is the most popular and easiest way to manage the food at a block party. It is important to have one person in charge of keeping a list of who is bringing what, that way there are no duplicates and enough variety for all. Think easy food to bring and eat such as small bite appetizers, easy to eat entrees such as mini sandwiches/sliders, hearty dips, fruit skewers, and desserts (cookies, brownies, cupcakes, rice crispy treats, etc.). Food Network has a great list of no heat, summer recipes that are sure to be a hit at the block party.
Or if everyone wants to pitch in you can get a food truck for the block party, taco trucks are always a hit and even less hassle for you! Since everyone has their own preference of beverages and the houses are close, keep it simple and have everyone bring their own beverages. From kids to adults, everyone will be able to have exactly what they want to enjoy at the block party. Also, make sure to tell everyone to bring napkins, plates, or utensils for what they are serving, this will help reduce the number of extra items that need to be purchased by you.
Tables & Seating
There are two ways to tackle seating for the block party, BYO-think bring your chairs (camping or beach chairs are perfect), or those who have folding chairs can bring them out for all to use. Some guests may be happy to bring their own chairs, but if anyone has extra chairs, it’s always nice to have a few more scattered around as guests mix and mingle. Especially if there are extra tables to eat and drink at, higher chairs will be more comfortable. Most likely there are a few people on the block who have some tables in their garage that they can put out for food and drinks.
You really don’t need a lot of décor at a block party, but if the block party happens to be taking place during a holiday weekend a little décor is fun for all. Decide who wants and is willing to pick up a few items for everyone, think flags for a 4th of July block party, table cloths, and maybe some cute (yet inexpensive) paper plates or napkins. You could add a few string lights or lanterns on the food tables or around for ambiance as the sun starts to go down.
If there are a lot of little kids it can also be fun to get a few things for them, sparklers, glow sticks or theme-appropriate necklaces are fun. Luckily these items are relatively inexpensive and can be found at the local dollar store. Small price to pay for the extra fun for the kiddos and you won’t feel bad to throw it away at the end of the party. If you have a few super ambitious moms on the block you can even get together and put little goodie bags together for the kids going to the block party.
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Have a Game Plan for the Summer Block Party
The best block parties will have a game plan from set up to break down. Luckily a block party is on the more casual side so less stress for all, but you will still need to make sure everyone knows who is doing what. Between yourself and 2-3 other ambitious neighbors, you can make a plan of who will be doing what and at what time. It’s actually easier to only have a handful (at most) of people helping, otherwise too many cooks in the kitchen is not a good thing.
Decide who will be in charge of set up, and designate one person to direct where everything is going. Once the tables are set out, you can easily place cards on each table to note which table is for what (small bites, entrees, desserts, etc.), that way you do the work ahead of time but no need to be hands-on the whole time. Don’t forget to put a few trash cans out for everyone too, as there will be plenty of trash from the food tables. Think less is more in regards to set up, if there are any decorations or items for kids, whoever is bringing them can set them out.
You will also want to make sure there is plenty to keep the kids entertained as well. From bikes to a bounce house, even sprinklers kids are easily entertained. Luckily kids like to run in a pack and will keep each other busy on their own, but with a little extra thought or plan ahead of time you can easily have more items for the kids when inevitably they become a bit tired or grumpy. As the block party wraps up simply make sure that everyone takes home what they came with so ideally at the end there is little to nothing left behind for you to clean up.
Read More: How To Host The Perfect Summer Picnic
Remember at the end of the day you are throwing a block party to make less work for yourself, not more. So don’t over-stress and keep it casual, let everyone be in charge of what they are bringing and just help the flow by organizing and making sure everyone is on the same page. Even if you don’t have a “block” per se you can have a rooftop party with neighbors, in the parking lot or a communal area, just make sure you get approval if needed. Most importantly enjoy the block party!
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