5 Ways To Celebrate National Night Out With Your Neighbors

National Night Out is an annual celebration designed to build neighborhood bonds and help fight crime. It is often celebrated with block parties geared to meeting your neighbors and building new friendships. If you want to plan a block party for your neighborhood, you will need a few key ingredients, including food and something for the kids to do.

1. Roll Out the Grills: For a simple, yet super fun Night Out block party, simply have all the neighbors roll their grills to the end of the driveway. Have everyone grill up their favorites and eat dinner together. You can even rent tables and make it a potluck. The goal is to slow down, bring everyone together, and build the friendships that are so hard to make in all the rushing around that people do in life. 

2. Chili Cook Off: Have a killer chili recipe? Like a challenge? Why not host a chili cook off for National Night Out? Send invites to your neighbors a few weeks ahead of time. Plan on making one or two variations of your own chili and providing just styrofoam coffee cups and spoons. It doesn't have to be fancy. If you want to kick it up a notch, you can set out all the chili fixings, like cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, and corn chips.

3. Rent a Moonwalk: If you live on a street with a lot of children, consider moonwalk rentals, bounce house, or other inflatable. Nothing will draw kids out of the house --and away from video games-- faster than the opportunity to jump in a moonwalk. Set it up in your front yard or, better yet, right in the middle of the cul-de-sac. While the kids are playing, parents can stand around, talk, and get to know each other. 

4. Plan a Scavenger Hunt: Who doesn't like a scavenger hunt? Design one for National Night Out. You can have clues that are located on your street and have it conclude at your house. Getting everyone talking and interacting is a great way to start life-long friendships. 

5. Bonfire: Nothing gets people together faster than a bonfire and a steady supply of s'mores ingredients. Grab a few bags of marshmallows, some graham crackers, and chocolate bars and invite the neighbors over. You can even step up your s'mores with extras, like sliced bananas, peanut butter, and other candy bar variations. Very few people can resist the opportunity to try a new twist on the old classic.