In today's busy world, neighbors are often greeted with a quick wave at best. Have a block party where everyone can relax, have fun and get to know each other--and soon you'll be having coffee together, swapping kids or whoopin' it up with a pitcher of margaritas.
Put a flyer in neighbors' mailboxes inviting them to meet to discuss a block party. At the meeting, discuss possible dates and who will do what. See 373 Plan an Organizational Meeting.
Distribute sign-up sheets for tables, chairs, glasses, plates, napkins, utensils, barbecue grills, side dishes and other party essentials. Have plenty of trash cans and bins for recycling bottles and cans. Rent a portable toilet if necessary.
Plan the food and drinks. Call it international night and have each family make a dish that is unique to its heritage. Or have everyone bring their own food to grill. This is a surprisingly effective way to get strangers to mingle easily--they feel less awkward with something to do. Have everyone prepare his or her favorite cocktails and munchies for a happy hour. Don't forget nonalcoholic punches for those who don't drink alcohol and for kids.
Dress up the block with colorful decorations. Buy lots of balloons and have everyone tie them to trees and fences on their property. You might consider a block theme color and decorate accordingly. Ask each family to make a family banner to display on its front lawn. Hang pin~atas for the kids. Tiki torches and lots of twinkling lights are festive when the sun sets.
Organize entertainment. Bring in pony rides or a mobile petting zoo or rent an inflatable jumping structure for the kids. Ask the neighborhood fire station to send an engine by if it's available. Plan party games for kids and adults alike, such as a water balloon toss and an egg race.
Rock the street with music everyone will enjoy. Hook up a CD player outside or splurge on live music (see 335 Hire a Band).
Contact town officials to see about getting the road barricaded if it's a large enough group. You'll need to supply a map of the area where you'll be holding the event, including cross streets for barricades.
Send invitations to everyone on the block. Get the kids involved and have them stuff the invites in everyone's mailbox (check first to see if this is legal in your area).
See 342 Throw a Party and 316 Throw a Dinner Party for more ideas. If you want to block the street off, you may need describe the event and get a petition signed by surrounding businesses and residents in the proposed area. There may also be a permit fee. Contact your police department or town officials for official requirements. Ask about scheduling garbage pickup for the day after the party.
Remember to set a rain date.