Blockbuster Block Parties — How to organize and create the ultimate neighborhood bash

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In this digital age of virtual social gatherings, the old-fashioned, small-town feel of the annual block party is a welcome summer relief to our often impersonal and hurried lifestyles. Block parties are a chance to unwind, relax, reconnect with old neighbors, meet new neighbors, and soak up the summer fun right in your own backyard.

The Party Planner

The key to any successful party is planning and every successful party needs a party planner or a planning team. Determine who will take the lead in the planning process. If no neighbor stands out as the ambitious leader, form a small committee or group to help coordinate all of the details and assign specific duties to each team member. The other key element is to plan early. No successful party comes together without proper planning. Sometimes this could take months or even years to fine-tune. So start early.

Get the party started

The first step in planning a block party is to choose a time and location. It might even be a good idea to organize a special block party meeting or neighborhood ballot to get ideas and input from the entire group. We all have busy schedules, especially during the summer months with graduations, family vacations, family reunions, and summer camps. So it’s important to pick a day that works best for everyone. If possible, try to avoid holiday weekends since most people will already have other commitments. August seems to be a popular month in Naperville, since families with school-aged children are usually around gearing up for school sports and the upcoming school year. If the traditional summer months are too busy, consider choosing a date in September, as a final salute to summer.

Choose a location that will accommodate a large number of people and that has enough room for kids to play safely. Neighborhood parks, playgrounds, common areas, subdivision cul-de-sac’s or dead end streets are ideal locations.

Block Party Permit

Naperville, Lisle, Bolingbrook, Wheaton, and most other suburban communities, require you to purchase a block party permit. The application form for Naperville can be accessed on line at or by visiting the City Clerk’s office. The Naperville permit costs $10 per day, requires residential signatures, and spells out the rules and restrictions for your party – including the delivery and setup of street barricades, the restricted use of loudspeakers or amplifiers, and party hours. Be advised: the application process requires a minimum of 14 days to process. So allow enough time to get the proper approval.



The cost for block parties varies depending on your party plans. The more elaborate the party—the higher the cost. Determine ahead of time your party budget. If you are passing the hat and collecting money from neighbors, determine the exact dollar amount needed from each family and the deadline for collecting the money. Allow enough time to collect the necessary money for rental deposits or down payments. Check with your homeowners association for any funds that may be set aside for annual neighborhood picnics or events.


Decide who and how many people to invite to the party. Here’s where you can use our digital age to your advantage. If you’re connected with your neighbors on social media, create an event for your block party on Facebook—for free. You can also send out free electronic invitations using or Many of these online sites also offer other party planning tools at no additional cost. More formal and traditional invitations can be created or bought at stores such as Paper Source, 215 S. Main Street or Party City, 428 S. Route 59. These locations will also allow you to customize and create a party theme with additional in-store party accessories.

Entertainment and Activities

A block party in Naperville wouldn’t be complete without activities for the kids—and grown-ups. It can be as simple as face painting and sidewalk chalk to a water balloon toss or a karaoke competition. More elaborate activities can include renting inflatable slides, moonwalks, a rock climbing wall, or dunk tanks. The Fun Ones, at, specialize in water slides, large inflatables, and concession equipment including cotton candy machines and frozen drink machines for fun fairs, school carnivals, and corporate parties. David Spata, The Fun Ones Manager, says their busiest time of the year is July and August, so book early. The west suburban entertainment company offers party packages ranging from $50 to a couple thousand dollars depending on your party needs.

Protect against the unpredictable elements of Mother Nature by renting a tent. Naperville Rental, 429 E. Ogden Ave,, carries a large selection of tents, tables and chairs, staging and dance floors, large coolers, and grills. They even offer delivery in the Naperville area for a $65 fee. Their busiest season is from May through August.

Food Options

No party is complete without food. The cheapest and easiest way to organize food for a block party is to have a potluck. Encourage everyone to sign up and bring a favorite dish. Assign someone to keep track of who’s bringing what so that you don’t end up with eight pasta salads and no burgers. You will also need to make arrangements for a grill. If you prefer to leave the cooking and cleanup to the pro’s, hire a catering company. There are several catering options in the Naperville area.

Buona Catering,, brings the tastes of Buona’s favorite dishes to your party. Buona at Home will even help you plan your party from 15 to 500 guests. They provide custom food menu’s, professional wait staff, music and lighting.

Belgio’s Catering,, offers full service catering. They can accommodate as many as 3,000 guests. They offer complete food service, event coordination, full liquor service, bartending and a wait staff plus complete party equipment. They also organize party activities and can oversee the rental, delivery and return of many of your party supplies. They’ll even clean-up after the party.

My Chef Catering,, is an award-winning catering company serving Naperville and the surrounding area. Although food is their specialty, they can also assist you in planning every aspect of your event, from rental equipment, decorations, games, DJ’s, live music, to photographers.

With proper planning and organization, your next neighborhood block party can be the highlight of the summer.