Carla Like It Is

Head Over Heels Friday: 2011 National Night Out Party Ideas!

Kayd Roy1 Comment
The 28th annual National Night Out is coming up on Tuesday, August 2nd, are you and your neighbors ready?!?!
I'm not going to lie, I really had no idea what National Night Out (NNO) was until I moved to Minneapolis. It wasn't something we ever did back in Michigan, but it is HUGE here! Just in case you don't know what National Night Out is, here is some background information...

National Night Out, 'America's Night Out Against Crime,' was introduced by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) in 1984.  In an effort to heighten awareness and strengthen participation in local anticrime efforts, NATW felt that a high-profile, high-impact type of crime prevention event was needed nationally and the idea for National Night Out was born.   (You can read more info here on the offical NNO website).

The main focus for NNO is definitely crime prevention and awareness, but also, I see NNO as a chance to get to know neighbors, strengthen our community, and have some fun!  So I am Head Over Heels for NNO!  How awesome is it to have a scheduled event every year to strengthen your community?!?!

Last year, Minneapolis was ranked #2 in the nation for NNO events, with 968 confirmed events and 54,715 participants.  That is one HUGE event right?!?!  In most cases, you can register your event through the city's website in order to obtain a block permit.  Our block and the few around us have been doing NNO for years now, so it usually turns into a large, nicely organized event.  If you are in Minneapolis check this link to see if your block/ neighborhood has a NNO event planned.

Phew!  Okay, now let's get to the fun part- the NNO Party Ideas that I am Head Over Heels for! 
Food and Refreshments
(with vintage-inspired visual of course)
For any NNO gathering, I think it is best to keep the food summery and simple.  You will be sharing with lots different people so the usual picnic or backyard BBQ items are always winners with a crowd.  This year,  I'm loving the root beer float idea, I'm thinking that is what we will bring!  I am also hoping to get some fun cups/ mugs and straws for them!
Games and Activities
To keep things stay fun and interesting at your NNO event, here are a few of my favorite game and activity ideas...
Have a jump rope or hula hoop contest; organize a couple teams and play a game of volleyball or kick ball; bring along lawn games like horseshoes, bag toss, bocce ball or ladders (I get really competitive and loud about bag toss!);
Have a relay or sack race; make a neighborhood mural or banner; or even hold a neighborhood talent show!  For kids you can have a coloring contest, sidewalk chalk decorating, or have a artistic neighbor do some face painting. 
I really think this year's NNO event in our neighborhood is going to be very special.  Our community went through a lot after the tornado and it really brought us all together.  I can't wait for a night of fun with all of our awesome neighbors and I hope to meet more!

What ideas were you Head Over Heels for?
Is National Night Out big in your town/ city like it is here in Minneapolis?  What are you favorite activities or memories from previous NNO events?

If you don't have an event organized this year, make sure to join the fun and start the tradition in your neighborhood in 2012! (All the info is right here).