planning neighborhood events
Neighborhood events are sometimes like awkward adolescent of parties . . . They aren’t quite formal enough to be a drawn-out event, like a wedding or birthday. And they aren’t quite as casual as a girl’s night where you discuss intimate things like which Kardashian is your favorite. Yes, neighborhood events are somewhere in-between, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be as fun as birthdays and reality TV! I have planned a few neighborhood get-togethers, and these rules seem to keep me grounded when my crazy, over-achieving party-planner self tries to take over:
1. Let your neighbors know early . . . but not too early.
I always follow the two-week rule. Sending out email invites or door flyers (which I have found are the two easiest ways to invite lots of neighbors to an event) two weeks ahead means it’s early enough that they can pencil the event in but not so early that they forget there was an event to begin with!
2. Pick a location close and adaptable.
It really makes the most sense to pick a place to party that is close to your neighborhood. That just makes it easier for people to get there. Also, be prepared to adapt to weather or more people showing up than you expected. Locations with large areas and sheltered coverings are ideal!
3. Remember all age groups for activities.
At many neighborhood events, adults and kids come to party. So make sure that you keep all age groups in mind when planning activities.
4. Keep it simple.
This may be the hardest rule for me—I’m always overdoing it in the party department—but the truth is, most guests will notice way less than the host. So don’t kill yourself with a 45-clue scavenger hunt that leads to a handmade carnival with real puppies as prizes. A water fight will probably be just as entertaining and a lot less work!
And if you are looking for some neighborhood event inspiration, here are a few of my very favorite neighborhood parties. All were simple, fun, and memorable:
- Fall chili cook-off—Warning: this can get very competitive.
- Neighborhood parade—Have everyone decorate their bikes and ride around the block. Those who don’t want to ride around can set up their lawn chairs and spectate.
- Outdoor movie—Find a neighbor with a projector, hang up a sheet, and bring your own popcorn.
- BBQ—Drag a few grills together and have everyone bring their own meat and a side to share.
- A giant water fight—Have everyone bring his or her own ammunition!
For more ways to connect with your neighbors check out these posts: