National Night Out is August 7th, 2018 for the rest of the nation. Here in Texas we celebrate in October, that means there’s still time to plan a block party in your community. As custom home builders in Houston and surrounding areas, we know just how important it is to nurture a strong and connected neighborhood. Neighborhoods where residents know one another are safer and people report enjoying living there more than where they don’t know their neighbors. In this digital age it can be a challenge to meet neighbors, having a block party can help get people outside and meeting one another.
National Night Out
(from the National Night Out website)
National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.
Millions of neighbors take part in National Night Out across thousands of communities from all fifty states, U.S. territories and military bases worldwide on the first Tuesday in August (Texas celebrates on the first Tuesday in October). Neighborhoods host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and various other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, exhibits and much, much more.
Hosting a Block Party
You can download this free block party flyer template and edit it to reflect your party’s information and then print it out. In Texas NNO is the first Tuesday in October, but mid week doesn’t work for everyone – it’s perfectly okay to host the block party on the weekend. Talk to your neighbors and find out what works best for them and then plan accordingly.
Planning a block party is a lot of work so recruit some of your neighbors to help out. Delegate tasks like entertainment for the kids, food, beverages, and make sure someone calls the local fire department or police department to have them stop by with one of their rigs for the kids to explore.
Choose a Date
In Texas NNO is the first Tuesday in October, but mid week doesn’t work for everyone – it’s perfectly okay to host the block party on the weekend. Talk to your neighbors and find out what works best for them and then plan accordingly.
Across the nation, many businesses will provide meat for grilling, entertainment and other items to the neighborhood event. For instance a local real estate company is providing meat to any block parties that sign up. The ask that their business name be included on any flyers and that they can swing by the event and introduce themselves. Check your neighborhood Facebook page or NextDoor page to see if any businesses in your area are offering anything.
Sign Up Sheet
Be sure to have a signup sheet at the event. This is a great way to capture everyone’s email address and/or phone numbers.
Another great way to keep in touch before the event and after is to create a Facebook page for your block or neighborhood, or a NextDoor page. You can put the web address on the flyer and have people sign up for the page and RSVP if needed. It’s also a great way to communicate who is bringing what for the potluck.
You may have a neighbor who provides the exact service you’ve been looking for. Find out what people do and let them promote their businesses.
A Few Things to Consider
You may want to have a bathroom policy of “everyone uses their own bathroom” to maintain home security. Encourage children to help clean up by providing a prize for those who help. Provide name tags.
A block party is a great way to meet your new neighbors and stay in touch with old friends. It strengthens your community and makes it a safer place to live.