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How to Organize Your Own Block Party

Block parties are great fun and a terrific way of getting to know your neighbors. Block parties have been recognized as a very positive and powerful way for people to connect on their blocks to build stronger, healthier, and more cohesive communities. One of the most important things to remember when organizing a block party is that it should be visible. The best way to do that is by closing off the street to traffic and having it in the street or having the party in someone's front yard or a series of front yards.

The purpose of a block party is to share the power and fun of block parties, enabling anyone to organize their own block party. Block parties have been recognized as a very positive and powerful way for people to connect on their blocks to build stronger, safer, & more cohesive communities. Block parties are encouraged and supported by the city, foundations & neighborhood groups. The exact origin of block parties is unknown, although they are very popular in other regions of the United States especially on the East Coast.

One of the most important things to remember when organizing a block party is that it should be visible. The best way to do that is by closing off the street to traffic and having it in the street. That way everyone feels comfortable in attending and since the street is very public everyone can own the party. If you can't close the street then have the party in someone's front yard or a series of front yards. Back yard parties are nice but they don't have the same inclusive feel of a party in the street.

Getting Started...

1.Start talking to your neighbors about having a block party.
2.Canvass the block and find 1-2 other people to help you - kids are great resources!
3.Have a planning meeting with others who are interested.
4.Choose a date, time, and place (1-2 months notice is good)
5.Create a flyer - G-force Laser Tag will help you Create your flyer & posters and print them for you, at no cost, providing you are having G-force Laser Tag as part of your block party.
6.Go door to door and get signatures for the Request for Street Closure. This is also a good time to start connecting with people and pass out your flyer.
7.Determine if your city or county requires permits, insurance, barricades, norification of police, etc.
8.Identify volunteers to pick up permits, barricades, food, etc.
9.Invite neighborhood police officers and/or firefighters.
10.Invite your city council representative, county commissioners, and/or elected officials.
11.Contact local paper for coverage if desired.
12.Arrange for barricade rental at least a week in advance. ie. sawhorse barricades
13.Distribute a reminder flyer with particulars of the party
14.On the day of the party ask people to bring out their chairs, tables, grills etc.
15.Have Fun!!

Recommendations for a Successful Block Party...

1.Choose a shady spot in the street
2.Have a barbeque, potlucks are great, too!
3.Have games with prizes for children and adults - chalk art is great to draw in the street
4.Feature entertainment by residents
5.Take lots of pictures
6.Have sign-in sheets for participants

Potential Costs...

1.Barricade rental (if required)
2.Permit and insurance (if required)
3.Food and beverages
4.paper plates, napkins, cups, plasticware & ice cream
5.Entertainment and decorations
6.G-force Laser Tag
7.G-force Laser Tag's Giant Bouncing/Jousting Arena: Our bouncing, jousting arena is great fun. It's very large at 26' x 26' the kids love to try their skills against each other
8.Lots of other fun Games

Fundraising Ideas...

1.Take up a collection on your block
2.Ask area businesses and supermarkets to contribute
3.Have a bake sale on your block

Quick Tips To Remember...

Don't organize a party alone. Ask a few neighbors for suggestions and tell them how they can help with as little as one hour of their time for delivering flyers or party set-up/clean-up.

Advertise early and often. Two months notice gives people the opportunity to schedule their other activities around the date.

Announce there will be free stuff - food, music, face painting, prizes - to help boost attendance.

Visit the businesses in your neighborhood to ask for donations. Grocery stores often give free food or supplies. Click here to fill out an application for a Block Party Certificate.

Have a few small, but nice, door prizes from local record stores, restaurants, theatres, and flower shops.

Invite neighborhood kids to help plan the party. They can provide information on what kids want to do, what they'd enjoy eating, and what they can contribute to the event.

Take pictures and show them off in a scrapbook at all future parties.

Have a party theme to make the party memorable. Examples include an open house where everyone starts at one house on the end of the block and visits each home and parties that are held to support a cultural, ethnic, or annual municipal celebration.