How to Throw a Last-Minute Block Party

Memorial Day’s still a good 5 days away, which means you still have time to spearhead a neighborhood block party. There’s no better way to generate good community karma than to throw together a festive, in-the-street shindig, even if it’s last-minute. 

Here’s your 5-step to-do:

Get a permit, if necessary. Some cities require you to obtain a permit in order to shut residential streets to vehicular traffic. Contact your local municipality to inquire.

Spread the word. Make up cute, creative flyers and case the neighborhood, ringing bells and inviting your neighbors to the soiree. (If you have kids, cart them along.) Whether they can make the party or not, these folks will wave to you the next time you pass each other on the street.

BYOG. Ask neighbors to wheel their grills out to the street so everyone can share the cooking. Each family should also contribute some combination of grill-ready proteins, along with drinks, sides, and desserts. Make it communal—that’s the point. 

Plan entertainment. Encourage folks to bring guitars, ping pong tables (carried from basements or garages), and hockey sticks to the party. Kids can play at one end of the street, adults at the other.

Take a picture. This bash could be the start of an annual tradition, and there’s no better way to memorialize it than by getting a group photo. In the middle of winter, you can distribute copies to all the neighbors—providing a little reminder of the warmth of your neighborhood, and the promise of future gatherings to come.

Want a model? Read about my neighborhood’s block party here.

Does your neighborhood host block parties? Chime in below!

-The Great Grilling Guide

-See all of Cheryl's posts here

Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule. Read all of Cheryl's iVillage posts here.

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