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How to organize a block party (it’s easier than you think).

No expensive venue. No decorations or favors. No elaborate menu. Block Party USA is simply about relaxing with your neighbors.

Select a date. Here in Wilton, we have designated the two weekends bookending the summer as block party weekends, one in June and the other in September. If one of those weekends won’t work for you or your neighbors, don’t worry, as any date will do. The goal is to make it happen.

Decide on a location. Some favorite block party spaces are the road, a common area, the end of a driveway, or adjoining yards. Nothing fancy is necessary. In fact, the more informal the gathering space, the less intimidating the event and the more people will come.


Check in with your municipality to understand local ordinances. You may be required to secure a permit up to a month in advance. Some municipalities offer free block party supplies such as street barricades, music and PA systems, tables, chairs, and games. You may be asked to submit the signatures of neighbors with your permit application. This is another opportunity to knock on doors and connect in person!


Invite your neighbors the old-fashioned way by dropping off flyers to each home. Handmade flyers created by children will help set the tone that the block party is an unpretentious event where everyone is welcome. The flyer should include the date, time, location, your contact info, and a food plan.


Speaking of food, it’s often a block party highlight. There’s a reason the term “breaking bread” has lasted for centuries and spans cultures. Research from the University of Oxford found “that communal eating increases social bonding and feelings of well-being,” Take the potluck approach and encourage your neighbors to bring a favorite dish from their family table, past or present. Be mindful of possible allergies, and label accordingly. Other casual food options include rolling out grills for a barbeque, throwing an ice cream social, or just filling up coolers with drinks and gathering curbside to watch the sunset.

Most importantly, keep it simple! Block parties should not be elaborate, costly, or staged for social media consumption. Block parties are about putting away phones, meeting and enjoying neighbors, and fostering more free play for children.

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Block Party Items to Consider

  • Signage for oncoming cars 

  • Name tags (consider including name, address, how long you’ve lived here)

  • Sign-in sheet (names, kids’ ages, address, phone number, email address, and if your child available to babysit, pet sit, rake leaves, shovel snow, etc.)

  • Bug spray and/or citronella candles

  • First aid kit

  • Music player

  • Garbage bags and recycling bin

  • Plates, napkins, plastic/silverware, cups

  • Paper towels/wet wipes for cleanup

  • Coolers or beverage containers w/ plenty of ice — don’t forget a bottle opener

  • Community table(s) for food/drinks and tablecloth(s)

  • Sunscreen

  • Hand sanitizer or wipes

  • Outdoor games - i.e. cornhole, Giant Jenga, sack races, egg toss, sidewalk chalk and bubbles

  • Loose parts play (empty boxes of all sizes, cardboard rolls, bottle caps, rope, string, pieces of wood, pine cones, shells, fabric remnants)

  • Flashlights, headlamps or glow necklaces for children after dark

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