A simple backyard barbecue can be spur-of-the-moment; a block party, if it’s to be successful, can’t. To pull off a great and memorable party, some advance planning and preparation is required.
Set a date.
Although you can hold a block party on any day of the week, it’s obviously best to hold it on a weekend – preferably a Saturday – when you’ll have plenty of time for a leisurely setup and everyone can stay out late if that’s the direction the party takes. Check the forecast and plan for a sunny day, but have a backup plan just in case it rains. If it’s only a drizzle, you may be able to go ahead as scheduled, but nobody will have fun being outside in a downpour. Summer is the best time to throw a block party. Consider having the party just before, or during, the first or the last week of school; that way, there’s less risk of some of the families being excluded if they’re on vacation.
Theoretically, you could plan a block party all by yourself – but it would take a lot more effort, more money from your pocket, and potentially be a lot more unorganized. If you want to make it a solo project, skip this step. If you’d rather have some help, call up a neighborhood task force! A couple of months before the projected date of the party, organize a planning meeting. Recruit neighbors that you already know, or if you aren’t yet acquainted with them, be bold and just outright ask if they’d be interested in helping you plan – or if they know any other neighbors that might. Tell your neighbors what you need, and assign them to be in charge of the tasks they think they’ll be best at. For example, if you’ll be having kids’ games, you could try to recruit a teacher or Scout leader to lead them. You’ll need a team of about four or five people, ideally, to organize things. As the supervising leader, you can help everyone else in their tasks, make sure that everything is completed by the specified date, and oversee the “odds and ends” such as special permits, insurance, etc.