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A block party is essentially just a backyard barbeque, except that it spans across all the backyards on the entire block and possibly even out into the street. There’s no better way to reconnect with your neighbors after a long, cold winter and reestablish that ever-important sense of community.
We’re here to help you pull off an epic block party for the ages by incorporating one of the most fun-loving holiday party themes to ever exist: St. Patrick’s Day!
Seeing as how a block party includes your entire block or neighborhood (that’s kind of the point after all), you shouldn’t have to take the whole thing on by yourself! Organizing a block party can be made much easier if you scrounge up a group of dedicated party planners.
Start by asking around to find out which of your neighbors are interested in attending. This process can be made simple by using a neighborhood Facebook group or something like Nextdoor, a social networking platform designed specifically for neighborhoods.
Once you determine who’s into the idea, invite them to be part of the planning! You can keep track of all your neighborhood block party plans in a shared document (think Google Drive) to make sure everyone’s on the same page.
Make sure to ask for volunteers early on. It’s better to have too much help than too little. Also, you can assign volunteers based on their skills.
For example, if one of your neighbors is a lawyer, they should be the one obtaining a permit for the party. If one of your neighbors is a bartender, they can be the one in charge of manning the keg and other drinks.
Invitations and Promotion
Once you have the party planned, it’s time to make sure the whole neighborhood knows about it! This can be done with Facebook invites or through a group text or email, but we also like the idea of doing it the old-fashioned way and making physical invitations.
You can either break out the markers and craft paper or use photo-editing software (this is a great task for any volunteers who work in graphic design!).
Remember to include classic St. Patty’s Day iconography like shamrocks and pots of gold. This isn’t just any block party, this is a St. Patrick’s Day block party.
Make sure to get RSVPs in advance (go door to door to get a firm yes or no if you have to) to guarantee you’ll have enough food and fun to go around.
After the invitations go out and the planning committee is working on the details, you can do as much or as little promotion as you like. Sending a reminder the day before is a good practice, just in case the date and time have slipped anyone’s mind.
A safe party isn’t always the most fun party, but if something bad happens, we can guarantee it won’t be very much fun when the police department shows up! This block party should be safe and fun for all ages.
Make sure to clean up the yard, remove any hazards, and childproof the areas where small kids might be playing. It might be a good idea to have your neighbors check each other’s property to make sure you don’t miss anything.
If you’re serving alcohol, only serve people of legal age. You might want to have a volunteer in charge of keeping an eye on the area where the alcohol is kept.
An important note… some locations require permits for large gatherings. If you intend to have a classic block party where the street is closed off and the party happens in the middle of the road, you’ll most likely need to obtain a permit for that.
Permits can be obtained easily with minimal paperwork and are free in most places. Search online to find the specifics for your area.
Set-Up and Clean-Up
Decorations should be easy. Go with the classic St. Patrick’s Day colors of green, orange, and white. You can decorate the area with balloons, streamers, large paper shamrocks, and a decorative pot of gold.
The pot of gold can be made by repurposing a cauldron from somebody’s Halloween decorations and filling it up with chocolate coins. This will make sure everyone is ready to party!
Clean-up will be made easier if you make sure to recruit volunteers before the actual party day. That way you’re not left doing all the heavy lifting by yourself.
Food and Drinks
Ordering a keg is always a good idea, and you could also fill up a cooler with Irish beer and local craft brews! The cost can be offset by collecting small amounts of money in advance (we recommend something like $5 per person).
Try making a Leprechaun Sangria by combining white wine with chopped limes, honeydew melon, and green grapes.
If it’s not green enough for you, add some food coloring and sprinkle in some edible gold glitter for extra fun. Make this recipe virgin by using white grape juice instead of wine.
A potluck is the easiest way to provide food at a block party. If you really want to nail that St. Patty’s Day vibe, make sure some classic Irish dishes are present!
Traditional foods include corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, root vegetables, Irish soda bread, potato soups, pork pies, quiche, and ice cream (okay, maybe not ice cream, but what party is complete without ice cream?).
Establish a signup sheet in advance to ensure that you end up with a well-rounded selection. This food is pretty rich for a party, so snacks aren’t necessary but can be included for anyone who doesn’t want to indulge in a heavy meal.
Heck, you could also hire a food truck if you want to simplify things! You’d be supporting a local business while you’re at it.
Any classic backyard games are perfect additions to any block party. Most games can be given a St. Patty’s theme by using cut-out paper shamrocks and/or washi tape with festive colors and designs.
We recommend providing a wide variety of games so that there are multiple options. Have people bring their favorite outdoor games, so you don’t have to provide them all (or their second favorites if you don’t want the entire block party to be focused on Cornhole!).
To go all-in on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, consider ordering a custom Cornhole board featuring any Irish design you can think of. Our designers love turning your ideas into the perfect Cornhole board for you.
Other fun activities include face painting, horseshoes, water balloon tosses, piñatas, charades, dance-offs, and arts-and-crafts. Take your pick!
Recommended Read Your Guide to Hosting the Greatest Cornhole Tournament Ever!
Try The Dubliners and Paddy Reilly for classic Irish hits along with Irish-influenced rock bands like The Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly. You can also put on some music from Irish superstars like The Cranberries and U2.
Or, if you really want to embrace the spirit of a block party, hiring entertainment (like a local band) is a great way to do so!
Shamrock Scavenger Hunt
Get the plastic Easter eggs out early, decorate them with St. Patrick’s Day stickers, and fill them with chocolate gold coins and small St. Patrick’s Day novelty party favors.
Hide them around the yard (or around many yards) and let the kids have fun trying to find everything the leprechauns hid for the party!
Planning a block party is a lot of work but hopefully, our tips will elevate you from the King of Backyard Barbeques to a block party legend. This March raise a glass to St. Patrick with all of your neighbors and celebrate the hope that exists around every corner. Slàinte!