We moved into our house in a new subdivision being built, 15 years ago. Since it was new I figured nobody knew anybody so I came up with a brilliant idea of creating a neighborhood from the olden days. A neighborhood that was safe and everybody knew everybody. Where the kids would be playing ball games in the street and it was safe to be outside after dark without an adult. With a new subdivision, I had the power to help form it into an ideal place to live.
I looked into Neighborhood Block Watch Programs. I don’t know if these are in all states but in Arizona, this is a program within the cities that encourage getting to know your neighbors by having two parties a year. There is a required amount of people that need to attend to get credit for that block. Once those are done then the block is given a sign posted at both ends of the street that says “WARNING NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH we report all suspicious activity.”
Safety experts indicate that people who know their neighbors and are aware of their habits more readily report suspicious crimes in the neighborhood.
Community development specialists report that people who interact with their neighbors in a positive setting are more likely to keep their homes and properties clean and well-maintained, thus improving the overall value of a neighborhood.
Mental health experts believe that good relations with neighbors is a building block to healthy relationships in other aspects of life and contributes to a sense of self-worth and overall happiness.
With my new found information I decided to become the welcoming committee and start prepping for a party.
However, I did not just want it to be my exact street, my idea was the whole entire subdivision… our community, 196 houses. And since I just LOVE LOVE LOVE Halloween I decided I would start a Halloween Party.
I started walking the streets and knocking on doors six months prior.
I introduced myself and told people my idea.
I found another neighbor that was passionate about it too and she jumped on board and started knocking doors as well.
We hit 196 homes and got the majority of people on board with our upcoming party.
We have 10 blocks in our subdivision so as we knocked on doors we told them our idea as well as that we were looking for 1 person from every block to be our contact and to help us plan the party so that each of their streets could get a block watch sign as well.
We found our 10 contact people and 3 months prior to Halloween we met together and I assigned each block a food and a game. The captain would then go back to their streets and deliver invites with a request for each family to bring a particular food item as well as someone from the street to help create a game/ booth and take turns manning that game/booth. We set up posters on mailboxes and it became the talk of the community. They loved the sense of involvement and personal touch our neighborhood was creating.
We picked our designated street to have it on and closed up that street. We also asked the neighbors on our designated street if we could use their garbage cans, their carport or to set up a booth somewhere in their yard or front of the house. I then drew a map to tell each block where they would be setting up.
We also encouraged any local high school, dance troupes, theater groups or whoever in the neighborhood wants to set up a booth they are free to do so as long as they are not selling something. This event is a free event that the community has chipped in and thrown. It is not MY party it is OUR party.
We have had scout troops set up haunted houses, haunted buses, jr high theater do a fortune telling booth, cupcake walks, bingo, jump houses, dunk tanks, contests and all for free. Pulling all our resources together. What a great way to bring a community together.
Our party was a hit and now after 15 years, it is super simple. We almost have a given set of who does what and how. It has gotten easier and easier. We have a set weekend of the 2 weeks prior to Halloween and always on the same street. Now the neighbors on this street just expect it so it’s just easier all the way around.
Over the years, I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge on all things Halloween, budget party planning, organizer and mom! So, I decided to share my knowledge in a free printable Halloween Planning Guide!
The E-book covers organizing ideas for a block party
In my Bonus Guide, I give you my exact
Fill out the form below and I’ll send it straight to your inbox.
Old-fashioned baseball – draw a baseball diamond in the street with chalk, encourage everyone to wear a hat or shirt from their favorite team, play “Field of Dreams” on a sheet hung from the side of a house. Serve hot dogs and sing “Take me out to the ballgame.”
Set up a projector on the garage door in the front yard and play a seasonal movie. Have neighbors bring their own lawn chairs and have popcorn and hot chocolate.
Pirates of the “Your Neighborhood Name” – decorate tables with inexpensive gold dublooms, hang a pirate flag from basketball goals, flag poles or utility poles, encourage everyone to dress as a pirate which is a really inexpensive costume
Christmas in XX month you choose for the block party. Play holiday music, encourage neighbors to string Christmas lights, potluck food dishes should reflect the holiday theme, tables decorated with holiday decor. Door prizes wrapped in holiday paper.
The sky is really the limit and possibilities are as diverse as the people who live in your community. Have a little fun, think outside the box and get to know those who share your neighborhood and home.
If you lack any ideas check out my Halloween Pinterest boards. It’s one of my biggest boards full of tons of ideas. Well, I actually have many family-friendly Halloween Boards like…Witches Parties, Costumes, Halloween, Halloween Prize Board, Halloween PhotoBooth Board.
Happy Haunting and Happy Planning!
Karie Babbitt is a Lifestyle and Family Travel Writer. Mother of three boys and one girl. She has raised a family of six on a single income for over twenty-five years. She will share how she budgets so she can travel to show her kids all fifty states before they leave her home. Her parenting fails and successes, budgeting tips, food and living life in bliss.