You just moved in; you are not even fully unpacked yet, and a neighbor knocks at your door to tell you about an upcoming block party. Resist the urge to say you just do not have time quite yet. It can be tempting to use the fact that you just moved in as an excuse to not participate, but why would you want to? Few neighborhoods are this community oriented these days, so if you found a place that is then do not pass up the opportunity to join in. Chances are good that everyone will get together for a quick meeting to plan it, so use this opportunity to introduce yourself to all your new neighbors and impress them with a few great ideas.
Make Arrangements to Block the Street
If you really want to have a full block party where you do not have to worry about thru traffic, talk to the city about getting barricades. In many cases you only need 50 percent of the block to sign a petition in agreement. Some areas require as much as 75 percent participation, so check with your city first so you know what the requirements are. While you are at it, see if you can apply for a noise permit, too.
Hire a Band or DJ
Chances are good that someone on your block is in a band or knows someone who is. Set up a stage in a central location for the band to perform. Alternately, you can hire a DJ. Either way, this is why it is a good idea to have the road cleared, so the street can be your dance floor.
Organize a Scavenger Hunt
If you have a lot of kids on your block then ths could be organized for them. If your block is primarily single people and couples then a more complex hunt can be organized. These are a lot of work and they do take a considerable amount of planning, but there may be someone in your group looking for a project they can really sink their teeth into.
Plan Adult Activities
If the scavenger hunt is just too much work, you can organize plenty of other activities. Rent a karaoke machine or set up volleyball net. You can also have a dance or limbo contest, or you can even have a pet parade.
Have Activities for Kids
If your block is full of kids then there needs to be plenty of activities to keep them occupied. The words, “I’m bored!” should never be spoken. Rent a jump house or hire a magician. Some of the teens might be interested in painting faces or drawing temporary tattoos on little ones. This will get them excited about the event, too. You can organize a three-legged race, water balloon toss, or a big game of Hide-and-Seek. You might even want to check with your local fire station to see if a couple of firefighters will bring a truck over for a demonstration.
Turning your block party into a theme or costume party instantly turns the excitement up a level. You can decorate your property accordingly and it gives everyone a reason to get dressed in costume. Keep in mind that it will be hot, so costumes should be light and simple. Something as simple as beach attire and blow-up palm trees and tiki torches works. You can also do a “Christmas in July” party.