Rock the Block with These 8 Block Party Ideas 

Block Party Ideas

Make your neighborhood the talk of the town with a block party that knocks everyone’s socks off. No matter what season you choose, you can plan the ultimate gathering that’s sure to be fun for kids and adults alike. Wondering how to organize a block party? Let these eight block party ideas from us at Pottery Barn help get you started.

Make a List

And check it twice. Santa has the right idea when it comes to getting organized. Start by making a big list of everything that you and any other hosts need to do for the event. Pick a date and a rain date in case you need to move the event due to weather. Figure out what the radius of your block party is going to be. Then, divvy up the workload. Many of your neighbors will be glad to bring tables and chairs, provide dinnerware, help prep food, set up games and rent equipment as needed. Make sure you have someone research permit requirements in your area and apply as soon as you have your dates set. 

Pick a Theme

Having a theme can make it easier to plan everything from decor to the menu, so this is a good starting point while you plan. Popular block party themes range from talent shows to simple cookouts, and everything in between. While you’re creating your planning committee, have everyone agree on the general theme. Block party ideas for families typically include a nice mix of activities, food and entertainment to keep neighbors of all ages having fun together. 

Block Party Etiquette: Invitations 

Send an invitation to every household within the radius you establish for the party. Additionally, in many cities and towns, it’s traditional to invite local professionals like the police or fire department. It helps show your neighborhood’s appreciation, build community relations and is extra fun for kids. Phone calls and emails are usually sufficient for this laid-back party, and it adds a personal touch. 

Plan Fun Contests

When you’re brainstorming how to organize a block party, fun contests can be at the top of the list. Liven up your block party and loosen up the neighbors with fun activities that everyone can enjoy. Have a few small gifts and prizes on hand to reward the winners. Treasure hunts are always fun, especially for your younger neighbors. Hide clues tucked around the neighborhood, near outdoor furniture and other commonly used items. Then, give the players all a map or the first clue to send them on their way. Other block party ideas include:

-Volleyball, kickball and street hockey.
-Tables for playing games like cards, checkers and chess.
-Dance or limbo contest.
-Designate someone’s porch or gazebo as a stage for local musicians to play or for a neighborhood talent show.
-Let your pets in on the fun with a pet parade.
-Have a house-decorating contest or a sidewalk chalk drawing contest.

Go Big, or Stay Small

Some neighborhoods pool their funds to rent dunk tanks, bounce houses and hired entertainers, but you don’t have to go big to have fun. Traditional, small-scale activities like egg relays, water balloon tosses and a good tug-of-war match can be the highlight of everyone’s day. Include a few kids-only activities to give parents an opportunity to socialize and grab a drink and a bite to eat. 

Create a Tasty Menu

Having an awesome buffet filled with food and drinks really takes a block party to another level. This can tie in with your theme too. Block party ideas for food include traditional cookout fare like burgers and hot dogs, barbecued chicken, potato salad, green salads and desserts. If you choose a different theme, you could have everyone bring a covered dish, potluck-style, or go with a simple ice cream social with desserts. 

Don’t Forget the Decor

You don’t need a lot of fanfare for a block party, since they usually happen outdoors. If your neighborhood budget allows, set a little money aside to tie balloons to everyone's mailboxes or to add string lights over the main party area for ambience. Set up a registration or welcome booth by the block party entrance where everyone can grab a name tag, sign in with contact information that you can use to create a neighborhood directory and offer donations to offset the party’s cost. 

Make It Meaningful

In addition to giving you and your neighbors a chance to get together, consider using your block party to raise funds for a charitable cause or to donate to local volunteer organizations. Hold a block-wide clean up or have everyone plant flowers or plant trees. Another idea is to research the history of the neighborhood and create a display with old pictures and interesting trivia.