Whether it's your first or thirtieth, throwing a block party can feel overwhelming. This post will help you throw a block party step-by-step.
STEP 1: FIND A PARTNER
Find someone who will support you as you party whether it’s a roommate, neighbor, or fellow block leader. (And of course, I’m a party support option. Woot!)
STEP 2: PUT A DATE ON THE CALENDAR
Pick a date with your someone, and put the date on the calendar. Like, pen to paper or thumb to screen, put it on the literal calendar. Things are 300% more likely to happen if you put them on the calendar. (Which is the same as 3x, but 3 is way less impressive than 300.)
STEP 3: PICK YOUR ACTIVITY
When you consider your activity, think about what you own or have access to. Do you have a projector for a movie night? Does a neighbor have a fire pit? Can you borrow your sister’s cornhole set? This is your opportunity to get creative.
If you're a Block Leader, Community Renewal has a lot of stuff to help make your party great that you can use for free! That includes:
A six burner grill and accessories
A bounce-house from Extreme Inflatables
Street closures from the City of Shawnee
Party In a Box sets
If you want any of those things for your party, you have to make your request at least two weeks before your party by using the Block Party Planner on the Block Leader tools page.
STEP 4: CREATE INVITATIONS
From writing them by hand to designing them on canva.com, create your invitations however your creative heart desires. I suggest you include:
What - Come Eat Ice Cream
Who - With Your Neighbors
When - June 27th, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Where - 5555 N. Your Street
You can include a final note at the bottom like, “See you there!” or “Bring a lawn chair!” You can make fancy invitations when you open a free account at canva.com. You can draw them by hand. However you want to make your invitations is good with us!
Want something easier? I've created done-for-you invitation templates! Plug your information in and you're ready to print with a professional looking invite.
STEP 5: PASS OUT INVITATIONS
Put a date on the calendar to pass out invitations to your block with your someone.
Grab your invites and your tape (nothing that will leave marks on the door, of course). Knock or ring the doorbell once. If your neighbor doesn't answer, tape the invitation to their door and move along. (Don't put it in their mailbox. It's illegal.)
If your neighbor is home, introduce yourself and let them know about the party. Feel free to chat it up. For most people, walking around invitations is really uncomfortable. It’s okay. You’re not alone.
You have my permission to make it as simple as it needs to be. Don't feel obligated to chat for hours. You don't have to make cookies. You don't have to wait for five minutes for them to come to the door.
You showing up is enough. You are enough.
STEP 6: PREP FOR THE EVENT
Prep depends on your activity. Gather the things you need and have an idea of who’s doing what during the event. It’s okay if you want to provide more than what you put on the invite (like providing food if you just said yard games), but don’t feel pressured to. You can keep it simple. You’re doing a huge thing by making space for relationships, and you’re doing an awesome job at it.
STEP 7: RELAX. HAVE FUN.
You’ve done a great job. Now, have fun at your event in whatever way that looks like for you. If it’s serving up hot dogs, do it. If it’s leaving the dogs to someone else and mingling, do it.
You can trust the work you’ve put into this, and you can trust that things are going to unfold just right. Let the event run its course.
Another word on the actual event: people may not come. If they don't come, that's okay, too. It doesn't mean you did anything wrong. You did exactly the right thing by making space for your neighbors. You are enough.
Playing the long game just means that, sometimes, the results are further away than we'd like.
Keep going. Keep being visible, interacting, and gathering.
Good things are ahead. Don't give up!