Welcome all your neighbors to a great get-together. We'll tell you how.

Summer Living: Host a Block Party
Credit: Beth Dreiling / Styling Rose Nguyen / Food Styling James Schend


Block Party Basics

  • Telephone several families to help. Set up a meeting to pick a date and make plans.
  • Contact your local police department about barricading the street. You might have to submit a special-event form and pay a small fee. Regulations will vary.
  • Decide on a tentative menu, and figure out how you will divide the cost.
  • Create invitations; be sure to include food and beverage assignments. Use the first letter of each family's last name to assign items (A-E brings side dishes, F-H desserts, etc.). Include requests for extra grills and coolers.
  • Decide who will be in charge of what tasks. It helps to ask for more helpers than you really need. Something always comes up, and a few people will back out.
  • Set up food stations around the street for easy access. Use sturdy tables for serving.
  • Practice food safety by keeping perishable foods in coolers or in trays of crushed ice.
  • Consider ages of adults and children when planning activities such as playing in the sprinkler, drawing with sidewalk chalk, and playing T-ball or musical chairs.

"Summer Living: Host a Block Party" is from the July 2006 issue of Southern Living.