The first Tuesday of August, neighbors across the country will gather in cul-de-sacs, backyards, community centers and local parks to get to know one another. It’s more than just being neighborly though. It’s National Night Out! The intention is to take time to get to know your neighbors who live across the fence or across the street and bring back a true sense of community.
Started by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), National Night Out (NNO) is based around the idea that neighbors who know one another are good neighbors, watching out for each other’s homes and neighborhood. NNO is a party with a purpose, which is something we can get behind.
If you’re attending, helping to coordinate or hosting your neighborhood’s block party, we have some last-minute suggestions for making the most of it.
If you’re coordinating or hosting the party, check to see if your local municipality is sending police squads and fire trucks to registered parties, and sign up. Kids love climbing into the vehicles and talking to the officers and firefighters. If it’s too late, you can register your party next year with the NATW, and you’ll also get an event planning kit and other helpful resources.
The block party is arguably the best part. Weather permitting, everyone will be outside. Is the patio ready? Perhaps you should consider these Trends in Outdoor Living. Your home will become the neighborhood hot spot (just warning you).
A few last minute tasks to think about: Wipe off the grill, tables and chairs before people arrive. Be sure to place several trash and recycling bins where people can easily find them. Have the neighbors bring chairs if needed, and put some tables together for food. If you haven’t mowed the yard yet, hold off until after the party or bag the clippings. This will minimize tracking grass fragments into the garage and house.
Good Eats and Fun for Everyone
Spread out the food preparation responsibilities by having everyone bring a side dish, while you grill hot dogs or hamburgers. The food can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like.
Break out the yard games. Hire a clown. Initiate a game around the basketball hoop. If you have a big neighborhood gathering, hiring a local musician could be a big hit. Also don’t forget, another purpose of the evening is to visit with local police officers and first responders. Get to know your local law enforcement, sit in a squad car or fire truck and encourage the kids to do so too.
More than anything else, do what you can to make neighbors feel welcome and comfortable. Get to know one another. Be neighborly. And enjoy the evening!