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37 Block Party Ideas That Will Delight Your Neighborhood

Block Party Ideas

Updated on: Feb 24, 2024

Everyone loves going outside to enjoy the fresh air when the weather starts getting warmer, but why not add some fun and company to your outdoor plans for this spring and summer season with these block party ideas? You can organize a legendary block party with the 37 block party ideas that are sure to impress any community.

Block parties originated in New York City during WWI as a way to honor the members of a block who had gone off to war. The block would be closed off to traffic, and those living on the block or in the neighborhood would come by to sing patriotic songs and have a parade. The invite that everyone is waiting to happen each year.

Today, block parties consist of the people in the area coming together to hang out, eat delicious food, and enjoy fun games and activities with each other. Hosting a block party is one of the most fun and engaging ways to get to know your neighbors names. To help with planning your block party, we have compiled a checklist of several ideas for decorations, bbq party games ideas for adults and children, and activities that will be a blast for all your neighbors and guests!

Block Party Ideas: Decorations

1. Flower Leis

Greet guests as if they were arriving in Hawaii! It’s easy to order inexpensive flower leis and allow guests to wear them around the party.

2. Luau Theme

Following that trend, find tropical-theme tablecloths, tropical-theme napkins, and tropical-theme plates with images such as pineapples, or exotic flowers. You can also easily find tropical-theme honeycomb centerpieces, toy ukuleles, and coconuts to place around the event space.

3. Tiki Torches

Purchase some inexpensive tiki torches to help create an enjoyable and relaxing tropical paradise atmosphere. If filled with citronella oil they can help keep the bugs away from your gathering as well. Doing the tiki torches setup will make sure your guests are having a great time and not worry about the disturbance of bugs.

4. Raft Drink Cooler

Purchase a small raft or a children’s wading pool to fill with ice and use it as a cooler. Make sure to have a lot of extra ice handy for this fantastic decoration!

5. Fun Straw Hat Centerpieces

One easy and interactive centerpiece would be straw hats. Simply buy some straw hats for kids to decorate and voila - centerpieces! Use inexpensive sunglasses, flowers, or beads as decorations for the hats. These low and simple decorations are great for any party, especially for a birthday.

6. Fruit Bowls

For a luau theme, purchase some tropical fruit, such as mango, pineapple, bananas, etc. Arrange these in bowls on the tables and allow guests to snack on these delicious fruits during the party. If you prefer a traditional BBQ style theme, have seasonal fruit such as watermelon, strawberries, or cantaloupe. Anything that would fit a luau.

7. Holiday Themed

If your block party is on a holiday, consider making the theme that holiday! If it is the 4th of July, you could have red, white, and blue decorations and banners along with American flags hung up. If it is Halloween you could decorate with pumpkins, scary signs and spooky decorations. What is a block party, it is anything you want it to be. A neighborhood block party that would bring even unknown neighbors together to have a blast.

Block Party Ideas: Games

8. Water Balloons

This will take some time and preparation, but water balloon activities can be fun for people of all ages. Have a water balloon fight, or play water balloon toss games (don’t let them hit the ground!). Make sure to have a lot of balloons prepared!

9. Sock ‘Em

To play, you need many balled-up socks. Then divide the playing field in half and separate the guests into two teams, A and B. One side of the playing field is Team A's backyard; the other side is Team B's backyard. Players all get down on their hands and knees and on the signal, they have one minute to throw as many socks as they can into the other team's yard. The team with the fewest socks in their backyard after one minute is the winner.

10. Dunk Tank

A dunk tank is always a crowd-pleaser, especially on a hot day. Adults can sit atop the chair inside the dunk tank and kids will have lots of fun trying to dunk them. Kids throwing balls at the target, which, when hit, will release the chair and dunk whoever sits inside.

11. Party Tag

You have to add this game to your list of block party ideas. Unlike traditional games of tag, the power of being “it” isn’t transferred, it’s shared! The game begins with two players designated as “it” who must hold hands and chase after the others. Each player that is tagged joins the chain of taggers. If the chain becomes too long, the players can break into groups of two or four but not into groups with an odd number of players.

12. Sidewalk Pictionary

Don’t have a Pictionary board? Don’t fret! All you need is chalk and sidewalk to create your own! Divide the players into teams and then assign each team its own plot of ground. Give each team the same word or phrase. One person in each team will then use a piece of chalk to draw a picture that represents the word or phrase. The first team to guess correctly wins.

13. Let’s Limbo!

Find a long pole or stick. Decorate it with various colored streamers and use it as a limbo stick. Everyone loves limbo! Have a game for kids only and another game for adults only.

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14. Tug of War

Divide the block into 2 teams, maybe left side of the street vs. right side, and see which team is strongest in the classic game of tug-o-war! Games like this bring out everyone’s competitive side!

15. Potato Sack Race

These races will get the crowd jumping! Each participant will put both of their legs in a sack or a pillowcase. This sack needs to reach their waist or higher. Everyone in the race will line up next to each other and jump forward and first to the finish line wins!

16. Bobbing for Apples

This old school game is a great way to cool down if it’s hot during your fun block party. What's needed is a large tub you can put water and apples in. Fill the tub to the top with water and place a few apples in it. The apples will float, and the player is tasked to try to get an apple out using only their mouth.

Block Party Ideas: Contests

17. Musical Charades

This game adds some action to the classic party game of musical chairs. Begin with a circle of chairs that face outward. The number of chairs set up should be one fewer than the number of participants. The players then walk around the circle until the music is turned off.

The player left without a chair picks out a random piece of paper, which has been labeled according to a category of your choosing, from a hat. That player must then act out whatever is written on the paper for the other players to guess. Continue the game by removing another chair from the circle and starting the music.

18. Dance Competition

The dance floor is the perfect place for some healthy competition and activities. Awarding prizes for the “most outrageous” or “best retro dance” will give your guests even more of an incentive to get down.

19. Chalk Art Contests

For this block party game, assign each player their own plot of sidewalk and chalk. For the younger children, allow them to draw whatever they would like, but assign themes for older children. Set up award ideas such as “most creative” and award prizes accordingly.

20. Hold Tricycle Races

Gather the neighborhood tricycles to organize races for different age groups. Let toddlers compete by tricycling straight to the finish line, but ask older kids to maneuver around pylons or hold timed relay races. For adults, create a whimsical obstacle course that requires competitors to ride tricycles around flags, under hurdles, and over small speed bumps, for example.

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21. Treasure Hunt

Give each neighbor five shapes cut from construction paper that suit the theme of your block parties, such as suns for a summer gathering or flags for a Fourth of July party. Before the block party, ask them to hide the shapes where they'll be visible from outside.

Be creative! Hang them from trees, stuck in windows, on mailboxes, or in flower beds. Set the kids loose with clipboards and pens and ask them to write the address and specific location of the shapes they find. Present prizes like school supplies, gift cards, candy, or movies to participants who spot the most. It is one way for the entertaining party ideas to be fun and challenging.

22. Balloon Relay

Divide the players into teams and then set up one half of the team across from the other half. Give each team a balloon. The first player must race it across the room without letting it touch the floor. The next player does the same. The winning team of the party is the first one to have all of its players complete the race without dropping the balloon.

23. Bean Relay

For this game, you will need empty egg cartons and beans (marbles or pebbles will also work). Divide the players into as many teams as there are egg cartons. Set up the egg cartons in a row on one side of the playing area. Set up piles of beans across from each carton.

The first player in each team must race to the pile of beans and place one per cup in their egg carton. The next player does the same. The winning team is the one that fills its carton the fastest.

24. Bake Off

Have the bakers of the neighborhood challenge each other off to bake the best item with a set of ingredients. Get about 4 judges to taste and decide who will be the winner with the best recipes is.

25. Sports Contest

Depending on what space and equipment is available for your block party, you could have a sports game. Football or basketball games will be a great source of entertainment, either playing or watching. There could be teams such as boys vs. girls and parents vs. kids. The prizes could be first dibs to lunch or dinner or just bragging rights.

26. Cookie Decorating Contest

For this contest, have a spread of cookies and other decorations such as sprinkles and different colored frostings. You can have this split into a children and adult contest, so everything is judged fairly. Award ideas could be “most colorful” and “most creative”.

Block Party Ideas: Activities

27. Karaoke

It can be embarrassing to get up and sing in front of a group of people, but with the help of some outgoing people, block party karaoke is sure to be a hit! Make sure to get a cheap karaoke microphone and to have a sound system ready with some fun, family-friendly tracks to get everyone singing along! Karaoke party ideas are one way to help bring everyone to have some fun and show off their talents.

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28. Face Painting Station

Before the block party, ask around the neighborhood for some artistic teenagers or adults willing to take turns painting faces. Children will love wearing fun designs during the event. You can find face-painting supplies at your local arts and craft store.

29. Outdoor Family Movie

Keep the party going long into the night with an outdoor movie. Rent a projector from your library or from a tech equipment store. There are various ways to set up a screen; search online for the way that will best suit your event space. Let families bring their sleeping bags, pillows, and some popcorn to munch on. Turn on a film that is suitable for all ages. You could also watch the stars in the nighttime, while the kids watch their movies. The night backyard party ideas could be something everyone will be thrilled to do in the summertime.

30. Inflatable Houses

Rent an inflatable moon bounce, slide, or relay race. Let the kids release their sugar rush from all the good foods at the block party inside the bounce house.

31. Kids Talent Show

Set up a small stage around for all to see and leave the rest up to the kids to show off their funny, crazy talents. Give all participants small prizes, such as candy or gift bags. It’s a show that’s sure to be fun for all! Each child could have a color or none at all to show their age. Either way, it is a good giveaway idea for all the kids to have a chance at winning a prize of their choice.

32. Kids Bike Parade

Embrace the opportunity of not having cars constantly crossing the street- get the kids to decorate their bikes with balloons and streamers and host your own Bike Parade right in your own neighborhood.

The parents get to sit back and enjoy and the kids get to finally rule the street. This is a great outdoor block party activity idea to get the kids excited! It is also a great party ideas for adults to get to know each other, while their kids do the bike parade.

33. Bubbles in the Air

Get the little ones together and let them have a ball with blowing bubbles into the air. For a more exciting twist, look at getting a bubble machine and watch them go wild trying to catch them all!

34. Fire Truck Visit

Several months before the block party, call your local fire department and ask if some firefighters can come for a short time and give a demonstration of the fire truck as well as a few fire safety tips. Kids will love exploring and learning about the fire truck. This is also a fantastic opportunity for some fun pictures!

35. Pet Parade

Bring all of your pets to the block party, dress them up and parade them down the street. For a little competition, have a panel of judges to award prizes for the “best behaved” or “cutest face” awards. Kids can get wild with ideas of how to make their pet the winner! You could even have an award to be about which pet has the best name. It could also be a community block party games favorite.

36. Food Sampling from Different Cultures

A way to get to know everyone better at the party is for everyone to bring a dish or appetizer from their culture. This way everyone gets to try new dish or app and has a chance to strike up new conversations with their neighbors and find new menu ideas for their home. These community event ideas will for sure be a new tradition since you can also share each other's food recipe.

37. Bonfire

One relaxing idea for your list of party activities is a bonfire. If there is a fire pit available this could be a way to warm up on a cold fall or summer night. Everyone could also enjoy making s’mores and roasting marshmallows around the fire. This would make the end of a summer event be very memorable.

Block Party Ideas: Conclusion

Planning a block party isn't that hard. You have rallied up the neighbors and are ready to throw a great block party. Make sure to include some of these fun, outdoor, and entertaining block party ideas to really get the entire neighborhood together for some big fun! A sign to bring those having a bad day, and turn it into something positive. Making them feel part of the neighborhood fun.

Need help planning out your block party? Check out our block party budget worksheet and checklist

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Written by Patrick Fernandes; Contributor: Tianna Hall

Patrick Fernandes

Western Connecticut State University

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Tianna Hall

Converse university