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Not Your Average Block Party: 6 Unique Summer Neighborhood Events

Block parties are meant to be a fun way to get neighbors together, meet new residents, and establish a sense of community. But all too often, they fall flat, becoming awkward events people feel forced to attend. Neighborhoods are filled with multiple generations and hosting a block party that everyone can enjoy—from kids to seniors—can be tough. With summer bringing longer days, now is the perfect opportunity to throw a fête that’s well attended and memorable. Here are six event ideas that are engaging, different, and all-encompassing.

1. Pet Parade

This idea is as silly as it sounds. Invite neighbors to dress up their pets and walk them down a short stretch of the sidewalk—in parade fashion—for all to see. Not only will people ooh and ahh over the cuteness, but it also allows them to get to know the community’s cuddliest creatures. Further, it helps spark conversation among pet owners. Consider having a panel of judges award prizes for characteristics like “floppiest ears,” “tiniest pet,” or “best walk.” Because dogs and other pets can overheat quickly, it’s important to schedule a pet parade in the morning or evening during the cooler temperatures of the day.

2. Vacation Food Sampling

It can be hard coming home from an epic summer vacation, but neighbors can recreate that joyous time by sharing their most-loved vacation foods. Direct attendees to bring a dish that reminds them of their favorite summer destination and let them sample each other’s food. This way, residents already have something to talk about. Who knows, they may connect over a shared dish or experiences.

3. Field Day

Just like in elementary school, hosting different activities throughout the day is a great way to get people together—on their own time and with their own interests. Assign each participating neighbor an activity and a time slot: Jane the yoga teacher might host a morning vinyasa from 9 to 9:30 a.m., and Bob the carpenter might hold a how-to demonstration from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. People with similar interests likely have other commonalities, making it simple to create friendships.

4. Color Block

The colors of the rainbow provide so much inspiration! Each block of the community is given a hue: red, green, blue, purple, etc. Get members of each block to wear their assigned color to the party. By using festive hues to team residents up with their blocks, they might gravitate to those in their immediate area or better identify where neighbors live. Color blocking also lends itself well to friendly competition: think charades or a scavenger hunt. Promote togetherness with sidewalk chalk for the kids, rainbow-colored decorations, and a mix of different-colored foods.

5. Movie Night Starring Neighbors

Sometimes it’s easier for people to introduce themselves on video instead of in person. Allow residents to submit a short, under-two-minute video introducing themselves. Suggest they share their first name, how long they’ve lived in the neighborhood, and a fun fact about themselves or the community. Collect everyone’s stories and play them the night of the party on a big screen. These short video introductions nudge people out of their shells, provide a learning opportunity, and require little effort. Decorate with stringed lights and serve outdoor-movie-theater snacks like popcorn, candy, and hot dogs to bring the theme to life.

6. Water Park

Create an oasis right in the neighborhood by going overboard on a water park theme. For children’s activities, set up a slip and slide, kiddie pools, or sprinklers. Encourage connection with “water cooler talk” and offer cool towels, misters, and fans. Decorate with all things water—blue and teal tablecloths, napkins, streamers, and mermaid and fish decorations. Keep foods and drinks light and fresh: cucumber sandwiches, flavored waters, seltzer water cocktails, watermelon, watercress salads, and more. With guests cool and comfortable, conversations are more likely to flow.

A Summer Party-Ready Lawn

Yikes! The extreme temps and summer storms can scorch the beauty and comfort of a lawn party. Read “7 To-Dos For a Fresh and Fabulous Summertime Lawn” for tips on creating wow-worthy front-of-home landscaping.