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National Night Out Party Ideas

National Night Out celebrates it’s 30th anniversary on August 6th, 2013.  Though my neighborhood doesn’t celebrate National Night Out (we like to be different), we do have a block party every summer.  Just like the official “Night Out”, our block party is a time to get to know the new neighbors and connect with the established ones that we don’t see on a regular basis.  We are known to have the “the best block party in town” and frequently have people from neighborhoods close by crash our party to hear the bands play.  Our block party really is  big deal…

National Night Out

In honor of this year’s upcoming National Night Out 30th Anniversary, I thought I would share some ideas from my neighborhood block parties that have helped them to be successful every year…

1)  Register your party on the National Night Out website.   They’ve got a ton more ideas than we do to make your party a success!

  • If your party is simply a block party and not related to National Night Out, make sure to call the police station and get a permit to have the party.  In doing so, you’ll have permission to be loud and block off your street(s).

2)  Charge money to attend.  Yes, I did say to charge money.  We charge $25 per family to attend the block party.  We also charge $10 per person “at the door” for those friends who want to come and watch the band (this is actually where we make the most money).  The money is used for things we want to rent and other expenses.  All profit goes straight into next year’s budget.

watermellon-cookies raspberry dessert3)  Potluck style food builds community and saves money.  A sign up sheet for the neighborhood helps to make sure you have everything you need from meat to veggies to desserts and drinks.  Potluck style it on the plates, forks, cups, etc or have each individual family bring their own.

  • Watermelon cookies and Raspberry Cheesecake Salad are tasty and make a big impression.  Of course, we’ve got plenty of other tasty treats you could bring under the “topics” then “tasty treats” tab up at the top of our blog 🙂

4)  Ask for donations.   Sometimes small, local companies may donate things (or money) for your block party in exchange for advertising.  Our local DQ has donated overstocked and “wrong order” cups and another local restaurant donated overstocked plastic silverware to our party.  It doesn’t hurt to ask (especially if you’ve got connections).  We’ve also had luck in asking local farmers for discounts on things such as corn to grill.

5)  Having a police car, ambulance and/or firetruck visit is a MUST!  Call your local department and let them know your party date and what time you want them to come.  Both the kids and the adults love climbing in and around the emergency vehicles.  Last year I got arrested!

6)  Bouncy houses and/or dunk tanks are super fun.  This is where the money you charge comes in.  We usually rent a bouncy house for the smaller kids and a dunk tank for the adults and older kids.  We’ve saved money by sharing our things with a neighborhood close by who has their party the day after ours.

slip-and-slide sponge ball fight7)  A giant slip and slide can be a huge success!  Last year we decided to save a bit of money and make a giant slip and slide instead of having a dunk tank.  We did NOT miss the dunk tank!  The giant slip and slide was something all ages could do and everyone had a ton of fun with it.  We’re doing it again this summer!

8)  Keep down the mess while having a water fight with sponge balls.  Another new thing we tried last year were sponge ball fights instead of water baloons.  We were tired of picking up tiny water baloon pieces all over the neighborhood and the sponge balls definitely helped to keep the mess down (despite some of them falling apart.  Plus, they are better for the environment because they are re-usable and they stay wet longer!  I saved our sponges for this year too.

9)  A temporary tatoo and face painting station is fun for the little kids.  Some of the older kids in my neighborhood set up a temporary tatoo and face painting station at a couple of our block parties.  They were busy for at least two hours putting multiple tatoos on kids and painting both arms and faces.  Even the adults got into the tatoos!

Large DIY Cup Holder10)  Help the enviorment and cut down cost with a drink station.   Having a drink station for re-suable plastic cups is another way to cut the clean up and save money.  In the past we’ve had to clean up multiple used water bottles around the neighborhood.  Now, with our drink station, the kid’s and adults cups stay in one spot to get used over and over again.  A cooler full of lemonade and water is also a lot cheaper than buying water bottles.

11)  You can’t go wrong with a live band!  I think that our live bands are really what make us have “the best block party in the area”.  It doesn’t hurt that our neighborhood has two people in bands living in it.  Last year neither band was available so we tried a DJ.  Though he was fun, it just wasn’t the same.  We’ll be going back to having a band this year.

  • FYI, if you are going to have a band, you definiely want to get a permit!  We had the cops called on us the first year we had one because someone complained about the noise.  Thanks goodness, our permit allowed the band to keep playing!

I could go on an on with other things we’ve done at our block parties but this post is getting long enough.  Have you had a block party in your neighborhood?  What types of things have you done or had?

*This post is in no way connected with or sponsored by National Night Out.  All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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