The first Tuesday in August is quickly approaching and that means National Night Out is almost here. National Night Out is a nationwide movement to get people out of their homes and celebrating their community with neighbors. Connected neighbors are a notable deterrent to crime and hosting an NNO block party is a great first step toward building connection with your immediate community.
Parties don’t have to be elaborate, and oftentimes, keeping things simple makes for more fun for everyone involved. Check out these six tips for hosting an entertaining and effective National Night Out party:
- Create a simple invitation that can be left on each of your neighbors’ doors. Our Thrifty Ideas has a free template available here.
- A potluck keeps planning to a minimum and helps create a sense of investment among guests. You can always ask guests to BYOM (bring your own meat) for the grill, beverages, and chairs in addition to a side dish or dessert to share.
- Simple activities can really help bring guests out of their shell and spark more meaningful connections. Consider:
- Planning a few group games or a bike rodeo/parade for the kids.
- Developing a scavenger hunt or bingo game using fun facts that describe yet-unnamed neighbors.
- Providing sidewalk chalk for attendees to make a mural on the street or decorating a banner to hang for a photo booth.
- Hosting a plant, book, or cookie exchange.
- Collecting goods for a food pantry or assisting elderly neighbors with yard work.
- Use the party as a chance to do some block organizing:
- Start or update a contact list for households on the block (don’t forget to include pets!)
- Create a private Facebook group and invite all the neighbors to join using their mobile devices
- Identify an official block leader who will manage the contact list, register and organize next year’s NNO party, and act as a liaison between the block and the neighborhood association and police department.
- Begin planning your next block gathering. A progressive dinner perhaps?
- Post photos on social media to show the world how great your community is. This may encourage others to get out and enjoy the evening in the future.
- Finally, have fun and get to know your neighbors!
It’s not too late to host a National Night Out party. Follow this link to register.