potluck

Once upon a time, block parties were a way for neighbors to kick back, let loose and enjoy each other’s company.

Party on the block!

Unfortunately, these neighborhood get-togethers are growing few and far between as our schedules get busier and our neighbors are more like strangers. Use these creative themes to throw a block party they won’t forget and bring back the block party for good.

Bring the pound

Are any of your neighbors in the market for a new cat or dog? Contact your local shelter or humane society and ask them to bring a truck filled with adoptable critters to your party. Set up a gated area and provide lots of toys for pups and kittens. Your neighbors will love the chance to cuddle with new four-legged friends between plates of food. Everyone will have a great time -- both the pets and the people! And who knows? Maybe a few of the pets will end up adopted, a winning scenario all the way around. Keep your desserts in line with the theme by serving “Puppy Chow” and cookies shaped like dog biscuits.

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Have a fashion show

Encourage a creative streak in your neighborhood by turning your block party into a fashion show. Pick a theme and go with it, or tell everyone to wear whatever they like -- just as long as it’s homemade. You don’t have to have an actual catwalk, but the fun clothing choices will loosen people up and make for easy conversation starters. If you decide to go with a theme, try to keep the food choices in line with that.

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Go international

If your neighborhood has people from lots of different cultures, take advantage of that diversity. Ask everyone to bring a dish that’s native to their home country. It’ll give everyone a chance to taste food from around the world, and give your neighbors a chance to learn something new about each other. If you want to take it a step further, ask everyone to decorate the front of their home in a way that coordinates with their home country as well. Everyone will enjoy walking down the street and checking out the unique decorations while they eat dinner.

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tip

Don't forget the ice cream! Give your local ice cream truck the date and time and ask him to stop by for dessert.

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