There are few summer events as nice as a block party. It’s a time for the people in your neighborhood – from close friends to casual neighbors to people who have never even met – to gather outside for sun, games and, most importantly, food.
If you’re lucky, your neighborhood may already have an annual block party that you look forward to every year. Or you might have a neighbor who loves putting together big events. But if neither of those is true for you, and you’re still itching for a big neighborhood get-together, it might fall to you to plan the block party.
Thankfully, with a little planning (and plenty of good recipes), this is a lot simpler than it seems.
Planning a Community Block Party
- You can host the party on your own. But it’s more practical and more fun if you can rope in a couple of neighbors to act as casual co-hosts.
- Find a location. If your party is small, you can find a neighbor’s yard or driveway to use. If there are a lot of you, though, look into moving to a local park. Another option is to seek a permit so that you can block through-traffic on your street: that way, you can host a true “block” party with room for everyone.
- Figure out a budget. How big or fancy your block party becomes is up to you, but you’ll have to consider expenses for food, permits and entertainment. Ways to split the cost include charging a small admission fee, asking folks to bring a dish, asking for contributions, or even hit up local businesses to see if they’ll donate food or services.
- Decide on entertainment. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but make sure there are some things to do. Music is a must, whether you hire a DJ or set up a speaker system and an iPhone playlist. Outdoor games like lawn darts, volleyball, or bags make great options, and having water toys, balloons, and chalk for the kids will help keep them entertained.
- Send out invites. Give everyone at least a month’s notice, whether through a flyer in their mailbox, a Facebook invite, or word of mouth. Follow up with a reminder a week before the event.
- Pick the right food.
The Best Foods for Block Parties
Food is the core of a good block party, whether you’re planning the whole thing yourself, or whether you’ve just been invited to one and asked to bring a dish.
If you want your party (or your dish) to be a true standout, try some of these recipes.
Pretzel Woven Hot Dogs
This genius creation of hot dogs and hot pretzels woven together is the perfect, salty snack. And with only four ingredients, it’s super simple, too. Head over to the Tablespoon website for the recipe.
Fresh Tomato Salsa
If you’re running late or in a pinch, bringing a bag of chips and a jar of salsa is totally fine. But if you want to step up your salsa game, go homemade. This fresh Pica de Gallo recipe goes perfectly with everything (especially grilled chicken and a glass of lemonade) and features fresh ingredients like fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro, garlic, and more. What’s even better is that you can throw it together in 5 minutes.
Cowboy Caviar Dip
No block party is complete without cowboy caviar. With black-eyed peas, corn, black beans, onions, tomatoes, and avocados flavored with Italian dressing, cilantro, salt, and line, it’s like a Chipotle bowl to go.
Pasta and Potato Salads
Pasta and potato salads are a block party staple. Make yours stand out with this super simple Jalapeno Popper Potato salad. This simple potato salad has a core of potatoes, bacon, cheddar, and jalapenos, but it’s the zesty dressing that really makes it pop. See the full recipe on Delish.
A few more pasta and potato salad options sure to impress include:
- Buffalo chicken potato salad
- Italian sub pasta salad
- Caprese pasta salad
- Pickle pasta salad
- BBQ chicken pasta salad
Block parties can tend to lean towards salty and savory flavors, but no one wants to forget dessert. That’s where Strawberry Shortcake Dip comes in. This party-friendly take on strawberry shortcake (featuring delicious fresh strawberries and homemade cream) will have your guests coming back for more.
Here are a few more dessert recipes perfect for impressing and delighting everyone at your block party:
Now that you’re good and hungry, what food will you be bringing to your neighborhood’s block party this summer?