Arts & Entertainment

Hosting a neighborhood block party

Hosting a neighborhood block party

By Karla Mikkelson

Many years ago, on quaint little Cedar Street, we hosted a neighborhood block party – filled with potluck dishes, sunshine and laughter. The memories of the games we played and the neighbors we got to know better are still remembered with a smile today.

Thinkstock

Thinkstock

Here are the basic steps we took that made for a successful party with approximately 20 attendees:
1. Make and deliver invitations by hand to a two block radius.
2. Invite everyone to bring a lawn chair and a dish to pass.
3. Organize simple get to know each other games.

Our games:
Everyone was required to take two slips of paper. On one, finish this statement: “You’d never know it by looking at me, but …”

On the second slip of paper finish this statement: “It may sound crazy, but when I was a child …”

Arrange lawn chairs in a big circle. The slips get drawn out, read aloud, and the group discussion begins as people take turns guessing just who looks like they wrote what. It was an amazing afternoon of missed guesses, laughter, and generations of neighbors all on an equal playing field getting to know one another.

One handwritten note read: You’d never know from looking at me but “I’ve been married five years.”
Little did we know, it was really one of our adorable little 80-something-couples who had only been married for five years!

And after many wrong guesses, I can still remember when my next door neighbor finally revealed he was the one who answered: “It may sound crazy, but when I was a child, I used to go out in the cow pasture and taste the cow’s salt block.”

Now that is a memorable moment. Happy party planning.

Karla Mikkelson is a graphic artist and jewelry designer in Alexandria.

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