Throw a bank holiday street party

Why not toast the summer with a fun day with your neighbours? Here’s how to keep a local gathering fun without too much hard work

Getting started

1. Keep your party plans as simple as possible so the whole event doesn’t become an organisational nightmare – after all, you’re meant to be having fun!
2. Check your local council’s website for information about street parties, or give them a call. You might need to get permission to close your road, and you’ll find useful advice on how to keep your event safe.
3. Once you know a party could be possible (but before you’ve started spending any money) ask your neighbours if they think it’s a good idea. Depending on where you live you could do this by knocking on doors, but bear in mind not everyone likes to answer the door or they might work late. A friendly leaflet might be an easier way to share your idea.

Being organised

1. Ask everyone who’s interested to let you know (it’s easiest if they drop a note through your door but you could share an email address if you feel comfortable doing this).
2. Arrange a time to meet up to discuss ideas like a theme for your street party and to share out tasks like co-ordinating food, organising games, getting tables etc.
3. Keep everyone informed and be clear about the plans, then stick to them! But make sure the party doesn’t go on too long – there could be all kinds of understandable reasons why some of your neighbours don’t feel in the mood to party.

Keeping it casual

1. While you do need to make sure you have permission to hold events in public places and you need to plan how to keep everyone safe, you don’t have to turn the event into a major festival project!
2. It really won’t matter if half the street brings cakes and no-one makes ham sandwiches – invite everyone to just provide a dish or two that they would like to share. But do stress to parents of children with allergies that they need to be responsible for their own family during the event.
3. Don’t feel you have to hire trestle tables and a sound system – if a neighbour already has these, fantastic, but otherwise just create a higgledy-piggledy row of tables from whatever people can bring out of their homes.

Fun and games

1. Create a large marked off area for little ones to ride around then ask everyone to bring out tricycles etc (remind them to tie a label or a ribbon to their own bikes so they return to the right homes afterwards). Bring out a paddling pool and fill it with sand or water or coloured balls.
2. If you want to play some organised games, get a few dads to put together a silly sports day style list of races!
3. Go for a party theme that can be easily achieved – a ‘carnival’ vibe perhaps, with lots of colour and dressing up, or ‘heroes’. Or why not hand out chalks and let everyone decorate the pavement outside their home, or find a wall and use the chalks to draw one big mural together under the theme of ‘welcome to our home’.

Bunting and entertainment

1. Get the kids involved creating colourful decorations to hang from garden bushes – make origami stars or strings of triangular bunting from old pieces of used wrapping paper, or you could even dig out the shiniest Christmas baubles and hang those up!
2. Music is always great fun, even if it’s just a bunch of teenagers with guitars or mums having a go at Take That karaoke. Apart from impromptu performances, you could organize an ‘Our street’s got talent’ show.
3. Unless your street is in the middle of nowhere, avoid speakers – you want the party to bring neighbours together, not cause an argument!

We’re here to help

Here are some useful articles for finding inspiration for your big day.
Five fun park games – easy to organise and adapt for your street party.
Mediterranean party food recipes – get ideas for what to cook and share.
Summer party themes – fab ideas to give your party oomph.