15 neighborhood block party ideas that will bring the community together

Several women laugh and talk in front of a table of food.
Paperless Post BlogGet-Togethers > 15 neighborhood block party ideas that will bring the community together

A block party brings a neighborhood together in the name of fun, friendship, and food! Whether you’re chummy with your neighbors or you’ve never met them before, planning an unforgettable block party turns the people down the street into fast friends.

Find inspiration for your next community event with this list of block party ideas. These decoration and invitation suggestions, must-try games, unique party themes, and block party food ideas will make everyone in town wish they lived on your street.

What is a block party?

A block party is a gathering of people on a neighborhood street, typically in front of one location or house. Occasionally, the event gets so big it sprawls past several houses. Organizers sometimes block off the street to let guests walk freely, set up tables, bring food to share, and participate in games or other group activities.

Block parties can celebrate anything, such as summer holidays, a successful football season, the end of the school year, or a new neighbor moving in nearby. Some legendary block parties even become annual events in their neighborhoods.

Block party theme ideas

Every party needs a theme—and a block party is no exception. Try one of these theme ideas for neighborhood block parties that turn casual gatherings into something special.

1. Summer fling

A green block party invitation; a colorful picnic tablecloth set with watermelon slices, chips, a drink, and pink flamingo straws.
Missing Link” by Hello!Lucky for Paperless Post, Camp Bride Tablecloth, Yellow Stripe Small Napkins, Fruit Punch Large Plates, and Multicolor Large Compostable Plates, available at Party Shop.

 

If you want to throw a block party simply to enjoy long, warm nights with friends, then a summer fling may be the theme for you. A summer fling is also the perfect way to celebrate the summer solstice and the longest night of the year.

Invite everyone with beautiful summer party invitations, decorate the street with brightly colored tables and balloons, then add in some dancing, fire pits for marshmallow roasting, or an outdoor movie screen and projector to keep the party going and the guests entertained.

2. Neighborhood Olympics

You don’t need to travel the globe to see the Summer Games this year when you organize a block party with this theme. Include outdoor sports, such as skateboarding or suction-cup archery, and create brackets of players that lead to championship rounds. Get the kids to decorate signs that cheer on their favorite athletes. Then, host a medal ceremony at the end of the party to award neighbors with gold, silver, and bronze medals!

Don’t forget to set up hydration stations with a variety of drinks!

Summer party invitations

Customizable designs for having fun in the sun, made to email, text, or share.

3. Patriotic party

There are plenty of chances for summer block parties draped in red, white, and blue, especially when you plan your event around Memorial Day, the 4th of July, or Labor Day. Decorate with 4th of July party supplies or other outdoor accessories that enhance your patriotic party vibe.

Provide masks, hats, or necklaces—all in red, white, and blue so guests can be part of the décor too. Burgers, hot dogs, and pizza are easy, classic all-American fare.

As the sun sets, hand out sparklers to light up the night and remind neighbors to bring lawn chairs if there’s a fireworks show happening nearby.

4. Grillmaster competition

Two BBQ invitations. On the left is an illustration of grilling utensils on a checkered background. On the right is an invitation shaped like a grill and food items.
Tong Time” and “On The Grill” by Paperless Post.

 

You may think you have the best grilling skills on the street, but your next-door neighbor begs to disagree! Find the real pit boss on the block with a party that’s also a grilling competition. Send BBQ-themed invitations to invite neighbors to participate in the cookoff or to come and try out their friends’ fare. Set up a grill for each competitor, hold a vote for the top meats, and give the winner a case of beer!

If your block isn’t much for grilling, host a chili cook-off instead to see who brings the spice.

5. Costume contest

If you live in a neighborhood that goes above and beyond when it comes to decorating for Halloween or Christmas, a costume block party might be just the right fit. Choose a costume theme for the year—options include superheroes, book characters, celebrities, or animals—and challenge each family to dress the theme as creatively as possible. Add finger foods and drinks that match the theme to show your attention to detail.

Foster a competitive flame by awarding a prize to the best-dressed family!

What to serve at a block party

Two teen girls scooping popcorn out of an old-fashioned maker with other people gathered in the background.

The best part about a block party is that it comes with tons of food—and you don’t have to prepare it all yourself! If you’re looking to bring a unique block party food idea as your contribution, try one of these party favorites.

6. Hot from the grill

Block parties and barbecues just go together. Pull together an incredible pulled BBQ pork dish, or line up grilled chicken kebabs for everyone to enjoy.

If there are any vegetarians or vegans on your street, try out a delicious veggie burger recipe. And don’t skip grilled Mexican street corn for the final touch to the perfect outdoor party menu.

7. Sandwiches and side dishes

Present neighbors and future best friends with a variety of finger foods and easy dishes to eat while they mingle, like hot Hawaiian beef sandwiches. Cook up some hush puppies as a side dish, coupled with a black-eyed pea tomato salad.

And for a block party staple, fix up a classic potato salad recipe.

8. Fruit frenzy

Everything’s in season—just in time for your block party! Combine the flavors of summer when you prepare a strawberry watermelon salad or a crowd-friendly fruit salad. For a colorful twist, skewer some rainbow fruit kabobs and add a dip, or garnish your main dishes with pineapple salsa.

9. Drinks for kids and adults

Remember to hydrate! Follow a sweet, non-alcoholic strawberry lemonade recipe, or add a Southern twist with some Southern sweet tea. For the over-21 crowd, prepare a party punch, or go all out with pineapple margaritas.

10. Delicious desserts

There’s more to a dessert table than store-bought cookies and brownies. Respect your neighbors’ sweet teeth with pink lemonade cupcakes. Blend up some watermelon sorbet on a particularly hot day, or prepare apple pie pops for a handheld twist on an American classic.

And if you still want those brownies, swap the premade ones for the best-ever brownies.

Block party game ideas

Mingling and eating are the main activities at a typical block party—but who says your block party has to be typical? Check out our ideas for block party activities and games to infuse a bit more life—and competition—into your gathering.

11. Field day games

Sure, your neighbor may have won the Christmas lights contest—but can he toss an egg farther than you can (without breaking it)? Find out during some traditional field day games at your block party, including tug-of-war, three-legged races, a water balloon toss, and hula-hoop contests. Any of these games can add to an Olympics-themed block party or just enhance a casual gathering on a street with a strong competitive streak.

12. Neighborhood scavenger hunt

Challenge neighbors to a race around the block with a neighborhood scavenger hunt. Give family groups a list of items to find or photograph—think “uniquely shaped mailbox” or “a garden with five colors of flowers”—and award the first returning group with a prize!

13. Block trivia

How well do you really know your neighbors? Put your knowledge to the test with a neighborhood trivia contest. Participants can win points for knowing where the Parkers went on vacation, how many dogs the Patels have, or what college the Murrays’ oldest daughter plans to attend. The winner gets a prize, and everyone gets to know each other better!

14. Chalk art

Showcase your neighborhood’s artistic talents with a street chalk festival. Each household gets a square of street to decorate with chalk. At the end of the block party, you all get a beautiful gallery to enjoy.

Pro tip: Block off the street to avoid tire tracks across your works of art.

15. Water(melon) polo

If a neighbor has a pool they don’t mind sharing, then it’s time for a refreshing—and wild—game of watermelon polo. Split your neighborhood into two teams, with five players from each team in the pool at a time. Grease up a watermelon, toss it in, and see who can score the most points by carrying it to their side of the pool!

How to plan a block party

An animated invite with smoke blowing at a grill and the words “Smoked Meats” animating on top.
Holy Smokes” Flyer by Paperless Post.

 

Behind every successful block party is an organized party planning process—and mostly likely a spreadsheet of some kind. But planning a block party doesn’t need to take a ton of time or work! Follow these quick tips for planning and hosting a block party, and you’ll feel like it came together all on its own.

  • Form a committee or planning team: Like the block party, the planning process should bring neighbors together. Create a committee with tasks for each member, including vendor communication, food organization, and activity planning.
  • Send invitations: Don’t rely on word of mouth for your block party! Send Paperless Post’s block party invitations about six to eight weeks in advance so families can adjust summer plans if needed. Group families and couples together on your guest list so each person receives an invitation via text message, email, or shareable link on neighborhood social media. Then, add a cohost from your planning committee so they get the same RSVP updates you do.
  • Plan on more food: There’s no such thing as “too much food” at a block party. It’s easy to link to a spreadsheet with a Link Block so neighbors can sign up to bring their favorite dishes to a potluck-style event. Worst-case scenario, you can send home leftovers with neighbors to enjoy after the party is over.
  • Create a group playlist: Add another Link Block to your invitation to include a link to a community playlist. Invite neighbors of every generation (yes, even the teens) to add their favorite songs, then shuffle them so everyone enjoys what they’re hearing.
  • Have fun: No one wants to spend the party day worrying about small details! Give each member of your planning committee one job for the day so no one has to manage everything. Assign shifts at the grill or game stations so everyone gets a chance to enjoy the fruits of their labor—and the refreshment table!

Rock the block with Paperless Post

Whether you’re hosting a small get-together at your home or a block party for the whole neighborhood, Paperless Post has the party-planning features and tools you need. Not sure what type of party to host? Try this guide full of fun summer party themes as well as the perfect summer party invitation ideas to set a festive tone early. No matter how hot it gets outside, Paperless Post knows how to help you throw the coolest party of the season.

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