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Wanna live on an awesome street where neighbours are friends and kids ride their bikes together (in other words, a playborhood to be proud of)? Get together with your neighbours and organize a block party! Pick a time, set up some tables and chairs and join together for an afternoon of eating, drinking and playing. Block parties are also a great way to raise money for a cause of your ‘hood’s choice, thought they can simply be a way to hang with your nabes outdoors.

The families who make up Toronto’s Brockton Triangle community are no strangers to hanging out and partying together, whether it’s through community gardening, massive yard sales or car sharing. So it should come as no surprise that they know how to throw down at a neighbourhood block party. We got mom Gretel (and designer of awesome kids’ dress-up gear) on the phone so she could share her top three block party planning tips with you.

Gretel’s block party tips

1. Give kids their own grown-up world. Have everyone bring together all their ride-on toys (tricycles, Cozy Coupes) and make a place on the block (if it’s closed off) or at a dead end or parking lot where kids can ride their wheeled devices together and have a big rodeo.
2. Put chalk buckets on every corner and transform your street into a gigantic outdoor mural. This is a great activity because it gets the adults involved too, and the whole block becomes festive and fun until the next rain.
3. Potluck, potluck, potluck. Every kind of community gathering should involve everyone bringing some kind of food, whether it’s snacks or full-on covered dishes. It’s also great to have people bring their barbecues out to the sidewalk and make a sidewalk-side kitchen. Everyone can bring their own burgers, dogs or whatever and cook it.
4. Bring together a bunch of talent from the neighbourhood. Your block party entertainment roster need not be a who’s-who of the most famous family on your street. It can be a motley assortment of 13-year-old rappers and girls who want to lipsynch to Beyonce.  Do it on a corner and let people set up lawn chairs.


Watch this 10-minute film to learn about the history of block parties in New York:

Bunchland Block Party Playlist:

Martha and the Vandellas – “Dancing in the Street”

Miley Cyrus – “Party in the USA”

Lovin’ Spoonful – “Summer in the City”

Jennifer Lopez – “Jenny from the Block”

The Beatles – “Come Together”

Lauryn Hill – “Doo Wop (That Thing)”

The O’Jays – “Love Train”

Katrina and the Waves – “Walking on Sunshine”

More resources:

Block party planning checklist

Eight steps to throw a block party from Block Party NYC

Block party information kit with useful PDF forms

Photo by ex_animo via Flickr.

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