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Smart Tips and 10 Tasty Recipes for the Ultimate Block Party

Rock the Block
May June 2023

For a fun-filled celebration with food, family, old friends, and soon-to-be new ones, nothing beats an outdoor get-together with the whole neighborhood, aka an old school block party. Whether you just moved to town or have lived there for years, it’s the perfect chance to meet and mingle with neighbors and have a blast with guests of all ages. An outdoor, all-are-welcome event also lets you flex your party muscles without the stress of cleaning, prepping, and hosting at home.  

To pull off the ultimate bash, planning is key. On top of the usual event-planning details, inviting the entire neighborhood comes with a few extra logistical challenges. Fear not, this simple checklist has got your block party bases covered. 

1. Register and apply for permits (if necessary). Depending on where you live, outdoor public events might need to be registered with the city or county. In some cases, a permit is required, particularly if you plan to have loud music or alcohol. Be sure to look up the requirements in your area and apply within the necessary timeframe, typically 30 to 60 days before the party.  

2. Recruit some help. From the invitations to the table set-up to trash collection, a successful block party has a lot of moving parts. Assemble a team to divide and conquer the to-do list to lighten the load and ensure nothing is forgotten. 

3.. Choose the date. Maximize attendance by letting the neighborhood know about the party well in advance, about six weeks or more. It can be helpful to check in with neighbors ahead of time to see which dates work best and to avoid overlapping with other events.  

4. Make a plan for food and drinks.  Making your block party a potluck is a smart way to divvy up the cost and labor of feeding the entire neighborhood. Break the menu down into categories like snacks, drinks, entrees, and desserts, then circulate a signup sheet to avoid duplicates. Let people choose what they want to bring, but don’t be afraid to make suggestions if there are items that no one has claimed. Be sure to consider where and how the food will be served and make a plan for getting necessary items such as: tables, plates, utensils, coolers, ice, and trash cans. 

5. Choose the activities and music. To get everyone in on the fun, choose games that are easy to set up and play with people of all ages and abilities. An egg and spoon race, water balloon toss, three-legged race, and greased watermelon toss are just a few examples of inexpensive, group-friendly activities. You can include a signup sheet for game supplies along with the potluck signup. If you plan to have music, designate someone to create a playlist, arrange for speakers, and figure out the best way to play it. 

Ready to be the talk of the block? These tasty recipes are perfectly portable and ready to party!  

Pull-Apart BBQ Chicken Sliders

These hearty sammies are easy to pull off for a party, thanks to shortcut ingredients like rotisserie chicken and bottled barbecue sauce. Keep the slider rolls attached for easy assembly when piling on the filling with crunchy pickles and the kick of pepper Jack cheese. 

Nachos to Go

These endlessly customizable nachos are a riff on “walking tacos”. Make ahead or let guests  build their own with seasoned beans, shredded cheese, and any fixings they like, served to-go style inside individual, snack-sized chip bags.   

Square Deviled Eggs

This updated take on the old school party app tastes as good as it looks. Skip the boiling and peeling with deviled eggs that simply bake in the oven, then cut into squares for serving.  

Fruit Granitas

This fruity refresher will take you back to your childhood lemonade stand. Fresh strawberries (or swap in any berries you like) and lemonade combine for frozen, flaky granitas that are easy to prepare using a baking dish and a fork.  

Grilled Sausage-Stuffed Mini Peppers

For keto-friendly fare that both kids and grownups will love, try these colorful meat-and-veggie skewers. Sweet mini peppers stuffed with Italian sausage grill to perfection in just 10 minutes.   

Mini Spicy Corn Pups

We taught an old dog new tricks with these gluten-free, two-bite corn pups. Fresh jalapeno brings the heat to turkey hot dogs wrapped in cornbread batter that bakes in a mini muffin pan. 

Watermelon Punch

This fruity melon refresher with fresh basil and lemonade is a cinch to make, no punch bowl required. Blending the watermelon whole inside the rind makes for easy prep and a disposable, eye-catching serving vessel.

Big Batch Sangria

Spain’s favorite summer sipper is easy to serve a crowd with this large make-ahead recipe. Whip up the DIY simple syrup and cool completely, then combine remaining ingredients for a fruity, warmly spiced sangria.  

Mini Apple-Rhubarb Pies

These palm-sized fruit pastries are sure to end your party on a sweet note. Refrigerated pie dough speeds up prep for adorable two-bite hand pies made with peak season rhubarb and warmly spiced apples.

Red Velvet Cake in Jars

This treat was made to walk-and-roll. Send guests home with a delicious souvenir, or keep the party moving all night long, with layers of red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting served inside grab-and-go mason jars. 

BBQ Crunch Burgers

This crowd-pleasing burger is ready to make some noise in just 20 minutes. Crispy fried onions add lip-smacking crunch to beef patties topped with barbecue sauce on pillowy brioche buns. 

Pineapple Mango Slushies

Take a trip to the islands without leaving the block. Frozen mango and a combo of fresh pineapple and juice make up this tropical treat that transforms into a grownup cocktail with a splash of dark rum. 

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