Friday, September 8, 2017

How to Organize a National Night Out for your Neighborhood

I know I have posted this info a couple of years ago, but thought I would post again. For the past 2 years I have organized National Night Out for our neighborhood and I wanted to share with you some things that I have found helpful when planning a National Night Out event. Most states celebrate National Night Out in August, but in Texas and some other states it takes place in October when the weather is cooler. This year it is on October 3rd. I organized it for the neighborhood I grew up in over a decade ago and when we moved into our new house I decided to take this on since many of the neighbors rarely get out and go to neighborhood events. 
  • Get the word out. I first get the word out about the date it will be by writing a blurb about it in our neighborhood newsletter, word of mouth, etc. I also send out an Evite to get an idea of how many people will be there. 
  • Post to social media. Then I post on our Facebook site and NextDoor site (like Facebook for neighborhoods).
  • Donations. Ask for donations and get neighbors to bring a side dish. We have had generous neighbors donate all the hot dogs. We also have had several local businesses donate items. 
  • Ask for help. Then I start rallying the troops (other neighbors) to help with the event. This includes set up, cooking the food, etc. Unfortunately, in the past I was not able to make our neighborhood night out and have relied on others more than I normally would. Don't hesitate to ask for help from others are usually willing to help if they can.
  • Call local officials. We start calling local officials to see if they will come out and greet neighbors. Call your local police department, fire station and city hall members. Usually there are requests that you can fill out online. Neighbors really like it when they can talk to someone from the city and express their concerns or express their gratitude. 
  • Set up early. There will always be those people who show up early, so prepare everything about 30 minutes early. For us there isn't a lot going on and it is pretty simple, so it won't take long to set up.
  • Enjoy. Mix and mingle with neighbors and enjoy hanging out with them.
  • Clean up. Bring 2 bags one for trash and one for recycle. This makes clean up easy. 
Things we have prepared for the evening: 
  • Local officials to stop by.
  • Crafts for kids. We will have card making with the Halloween / Fall foam cutouts (picture below and I got them in the $1 bin at Target) and DIY pinecone bird feeders. 
  • Our neighborhood Certified Emergency Response Team (CERT) team members to talk about emergency preparedness.
  • Give away raffle items that local businesses donated. 

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