Neighborhood Block Party
18 years ago we moved into our home in a newly built subdivision. Since the neighborhood was new, I figured nobody knew anybody. 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. I had the benefit to help form our new subdivision into an ideal place to live.
I researched 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, the block is given a sign posted at both ends of the street that reads “WARNING NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH – We report all suspicious activity.”
There are so many benefits of knowing our neighbors.
- Safety experts state that people who know their neighbors and are aware of their habits more readily report suspicious crimes in the neighborhood.
- Knowing our neighbors benefit mental health as well. Mental health experts believe that good relationships 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.
- As an added bonus, 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 value of a neighborhood.
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 LOVE LOVE LOVE Halloween, I decided I would start a Halloween Party.
The crazy lady comes knocking. 🙂
I have 10 blocks in my subdivision. Six months prior to my ideal party date I started walking the streets and knocking on every single door. I would introduce myself and told people me idea. I was also looking for 1 person from every block to contact to help us plan the party and this would ensure that each street could get a block watch sign.
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.
Three months prior
We found our 10 contact people. 3 months prior to Halloween we met together and I assigned each block a food or paper product item and a game. The captain would then go back to their streets and deliver invites with a request for each family to bring their streets assigned item and a request for someone from the street to help create a game/ booth and to take turns managing 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.
Night of the party
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 wanted to set up a booth to do so as long as they were not selling anything. This event was a free event that the community created and funded. It was not MY party, it was OUR party.
Since the first party, we have had scout troops set up haunted houses and haunted buses, a junior high theater do a fortune-telling booth, cupcake walks, bingo, jump houses, dunk tanks, and contests – all for free! Pulling our resources together, it has been a great way to bring a community together.
This is the booth I do. I made it out of an old bookshelf. I downloaded a talking mirror program. When kiddos come up they can ask the magic mirror questions and talk to the mirror. The mirror is able to talk back with the help of these two helpers who have a peephole that they can see through and a microphone hooked up to speakers with voice changing audio.
Eighteen years later
Our first party was a hit, and now after 18 years, it has become super simple. It’s a given of who does what and how. We have a set weekend the 2 weeks prior to Halloween and the party is always on the same street. The neighbors on this street just expect it, making the party even easier.
Over the years, I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge on all things Halloween, budget party planning, organizing, and mom-ing! I’ve decided to share my knowledge with a printable Halloween Planning Guide.
If you or someone you know has a Halloween Party coming up, I’d love to give you a helping hand with this e-book on organizing your own party and the included bonus content for free. However, I would love a review if you feel inclined to do so it would be greatly appreciated. Order your instant printable here. For your free printable use the coupon code “Monster Mash”
The e-book outlines organizational ideas for a block party:
- Invites with sample poems
- Decorating Ideas
- Food Ideas
In the included bonus guide, I give you my exact formula for:
- Meeting Agendas
- Assignment Lists
- Sample Maps
- Blank Map with 20 houses on it
- The 1st and 2nd invites I send out
- Donation Request Letter
- Halloween Trivia Games (for a booth)
- Sample Game Instructions
- …and Extra Ideas!
Need More Ideas for Block Party Fun
Draw a baseball diamond in the street with chalk and 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. 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 and encourage everyone to dress as a pirate.
Christmas in “XX month”
Choose a month for the block party. Play holiday music, encourage neighbors to string Christmas lights. Potluck food dishes can reflect the holiday theme and tables can be decorated with holiday decor. Door prizes wrapped in holiday paper.
The sky is the limit and the possibilities are as diverse as the people who live in your community. Have fun, think outside the box, and get to know those who share your neighborhood and home.
If you lack ideas, check out Hey There Bliss Halloween Pinterest boards. It’s one of our biggest boards full of ideas. We have many family-friendly Halloween Boards such as Witches Parties, Costumes, Halloween, Halloween Prize Board, Halloween PhotoBooth Board.
Happy Haunting and Happy Planning!