Before you get caught up in school activities and our Midwest weather gets too cold, seize the day and get to know everyone around you with a rockin’ block party. It will take some preparation, but is worth the effort when you’re rockin’ the night away to Sweet Caroline. Don’t worry, we wouldn’t make a suggestion for a party like this without giving you the steps that will make your party rock:
- Get the buy in of your neighbors (Remember the homeowner’s association can’t be mad if they’re having fun!). Pick a date that works for most of you, and create a 8 ½ x 11 flyer. Your invitation doesn’t have to be fancy, especially if you have to mass produce it to pass out to a LOT of neighbors.
- Themes. Need a theme for your party (remember, themes are optional)? How about a pool party (think plastic flamingos), retro party or glow-in-the-dark party? Make sure your guests know your theme. If you’re hosting a retro party, set up a play list with your DJ that fits your decade. Suggest your guests come in attire appropriate for your decade. For a glow-in-the-dark party, think glow sticks and lighting. Make name tags that tie into your theme, and have your neighbors’ names and addresses on them, so you know who they are and where they live.
- Coordinate refreshments. Depending on the size of your party, get snacks that are easy to make and come in big sizes. Think of things like snack mixes, veggie platters, candy bowls and popcorn. If you have a theme, play off it. For example, if you’re throwing a pool party, get some round colorful candy for beach balls, and use licorice for noodles. If you’re hosting a REALLY big party, ask your neighbors to bring their own beverages.
- Set your entertainment. We have fond memories of our neighbor’s annual karaoke parties growing up. It was fun, and great to meet people and hear them sing karaoke to their favorite song (well, some of them). If karaoke isn’t your thing, rent a jump house (read why here), host an outdoor movie, or get a dj for the evening.
- Decorations. You don’t need a ton of decorations, but make sure you have fun with them. If you’re hosting a pool party, add arrows to the pink flamingos to guide your guests to the party. Hosting a retro party, make up little cards with facts about the decade and add them to the tables. Glow in the dark party? Think glow in the dark cups and accessories…everywhere! You can even make your decorations into games, like a scavenger hunt for the kids or a trivia game for the adults. Hosting a dance party? Make request cards, and have your neighbors pass in their requests throughout the night. If they pick the music, they have to dance to it!
Most importantly, mingle and have fun! Ask an outgoing neighbor to talk to all the neighborhood newbies so they feel welcome (don’t forget the name tags either, see idea above!). Enjoy your evening, and get to know the people you drive by every day—but probably have never met—in a social, relaxed, and, if you’re having a DJ or karaoke party, rockin’ party atmosphere.