How to Have a Neighborhood Party
One of the toughest things to do is move into an area where you don’t know anyone. Residents can make this easier by introducing themselves to new neighbors, but there are other ways to get acquainted. One of those ways is to have a neighborhood (or “block”) party. Here are some steps you can take to make sure that party is a success.
- First, if you know any of your neighbors, even if only one or two, run the idea by them. Tell them you’ve been thinking there are many people you don’t know and that it would be nice to meet everyone. Ask them if they know many people. If they do, they can help spread the word.
- Suggest a couple of dates to see what they think. If you get at least one person who can participate, then you are one step closer than you were before.
- Figure out how many homes will be included in your party and a central area to set up.
- Decide how food will be cooked and shared. Some people tell neighbors to bring meat to be cooked, and/or “bring a dish if you wish.” Keep this loosely structured so people can pitch in as they want or can.
- Create and distribute a flyer. Be sure to list some restrictions such as “no alcohol” or “Please do not block neighbors’ driveways.”
- Deliver flyers in person. Knock on doors and say something like, “Hi! I’m your neighbor at…. My name is….and we want to have a neighborhood party.” Tell them you feel like you don’t know many neighbors, and it would be nice to get to know one another. Encourage people to bring their families and friends, and if they wish, friendly pets.
- Pay attention to signals you get from the people you are talking to. If they seem busy when you deliver the flyers, don’t take up too much of their time. If they want to chat more, take the time to do it. If they are not home, put flyers in or under doors.
- Figure out what you will contribute for fun. It could be something simple like turning on sprinklers for kids. Or, you might be able to talk someone into face painting. Or put out a table with board games. For more adult communities, you might offer live music performed by a friend or family member. Be creative.
- You may not get much of a response at first, but once your neighbors see something going on, more will walk over.
- Have paper and pen ready for people who want to share contact information.
As with any event, other rules may apply. Be sure to contact your HOA and/or local police department. You don’t want your party shut down!
All this might feel uncomfortable at first, especially if you are shy, but your efforts to bring people together will make for a better community.