This time last year, I was 5 months pregnant and we were building our house. Fast forward through moving in during the Fall, having a baby and planning a fundraiser for a dear friend we are now enjoying Summer in New England.
I don’t believe I have ever written about how much I LOVE our new neighborhood, especially since we live near some great friends (who I originally met on Twitter through a mutual friend and then we realized we were building houses *literally* around the corner from each other). One of our first goals after moving in was to organize a block party so all of our neighbors could meet. It’s a new development with a little over 20 houses completed. I knew a few families here and there, but we hadn’t gotten the chance to get everyone together yet.
My friend Kelly and I took charge and had a casual meeting with a couple of other neighbor Moms and delegated responsibilities for the party. Some of the things we found most helpful with planning a block party in a brand new neighborhood were:
- Start a *closed* neighborhood group page on Facebook (so conversations are private)
- About a month before the party, drop off a flyer to every house with the party date, Facebook group address & an email contact since not everyone is on Facebook (don’t put the flyers in mailboxes because you might get a threatening email from the Postmaster… just saying). We found that about 60% of the neighborhood was on Facebook.
- When people offer to bring something, let them! Organize party needs such as food, drink, entertainment and divy up the responsibilities to those that offer.
- Make the party fun by assigning hours to certain houses/areas with a theme. For example, we had a BBQ theme at 2 houses, then we moved across the street to a Mexican theme, then a “Pub” theme, an Italian theme, then finished it off with a Cupcake bar!
- Don’t make the mistake we did: allow more time than you think for each house if you do an “Around the World” type party like we did. We only allotted an hour per “station” when there should have been more time and probably less “stations.”
- Provide entertainment at each house for all ages of kids. Some hits at our party were: an automatic bubble maker for the toddlers, face painting for the older kids, horseshoes, bean bag toss, music, pinatas and make-your-own cupcakes for the kids.
- Bring coolers with wheels and take your wagon! We were carrying Sangria and food from house to house in Jackson’s little red wagon.
- Provide name tags for everyone! One thing neighbors commented on that they liked were the name tags we printed out with a picture of each house on them. Names are great, but it’s nice to put a face to a house, you know? Since people RSVP’d, I knew that 4 people from House #1 would be coming so I took a snapshot of their house on my iPhone during a nightly walk and printed 4 of the same name tag. I bought the “Hello my name is” tags from Amazon and then downloaded the template onto my computer. Then I just copied the house picture into the template and printed them off. It was easy peasy and probably took an hour for 20+ houses. (word of advice: make a couple extra of each house because people will grab the wrong house, bring more guests, etc). We also had some blank ones available.
Overall, the party was a huge success. We partied from 2pm until 10:30pm! Of course not everyone stayed all day, but everyone (except for 1 house) came and had fun. It was a great way to meet everyone and to be able to put a “face to a house!” We are planning another party at the end of summer and I can’t wait to get to know everyone better.
Do you have any block party planning tips we could use next time?