Rock Your Block!

Your Guide to Hosting a Block Party in Issaquah Highlands

Block parties can be simple potlucks in a pocket park or large productions with food trucks and entertainment. In either case, advanced planning and organization will help your block party be a success. Review these FAQs to get started and consider reserving the community Party Wagon (“a party in a box”) to jumpstart your party needs.

When should we have a block party?

Be creative! While summer seems like the most appropriate season, you can also get to know your neighbors by:

  • Hosting a neighborhood egg hunt or trick-or-treat Halloween party.
  • Try a progressive dinner for adults, moving from neighbor to neighbor’s house, while teen babysitters watch little kids at one or two other homes.
  • Be impromptu; bring out hot cocoa and cookies on a snow day.
  • Go caroling around the neighborhood. Gather in a garage for cider and gingerbread, pass out holiday song sheets, and head down the sidewalk with joy-filled voices.
  • Use social media, an email list, or go door-to-door to poll your neighbors on their preferred date and time of day.
  • Be mindful of religious observances. Be inclusive.
  • Rain is a part of life in the Pacific Northwest; consider a plan B or an alternative date should the forecast change.

How do we fund a block party?

The Party Wagon is free to use and full of resources when everyone in your neighborhood is invited to the party. (Must be reserved in advance.)

Some neighborhoods ask for a per-person contribution to cover the cost of certain supplies, collected in advance or on the day of the party.

Involve your neighbors in the planning and save money. Who will donate the use of their grill, extra coolers, tables, and chairs? Who has a volleyball net or other outdoor group games?

Can we close our street?

Not without a special event permit from the City of Issaquah.

There is a special event permit fee, plus the cost of required barricades to close the street if the permit is approved.

The city and the Issaquah Highlands Community Association (IHCA) must be named as additional insured on a certificate of insurance by the host. The conditions of the permit also require you take out a public notice in the local newspaper regarding the street closure.

It is best to host your block party in the safety of your local park. Note most parks cannot be reserved.

Can we reserve a park?

Most parks in Issaquah Highlands are available on a first-come, first-served basis as the IHCA does not have staff to manage park use on weekends. Neighbors are encouraged to share space in the spirit of community.

You can reserve the picnic shelters at Central Park through Issaquah Parks and Community Services.

How can I prepare for a safe event?

  • Select an area that does not have heavy automobile traffic adjacent to where guests will gather. Kids get so excited they forget to stop and look both ways before crossing streets. Drivers won’t necessarily know you are hosting a party, and a darting child could cause a dangerous situation.
  • Make sure to properly supervise children if a pond or water feature is nearby to avoid accidental drowning.
  • Arrange games and activities away from grills, generators, and extension cords.
  • Secure pop-up tents with weights or stakes to avoid damage to property or injury to guests from wind gusts.
  • Be cautious when using stakes to secure tents or volleyball nets to not damage irrigation or power lines.
  • Bring a first aid kit to the party for scraped knees and bruises.
  • Remember fireworks (including sparklers) are prohibited in the city of Issaquah.

How do I get the word out?

  • The more advanced notice, the better.
  • Does your neighborhood use social media, such as Facebook or Nextdoor? Create an online event with all the details.
  • If you have neighbor email addresses, use a free online invitation service to create a fun invitation.
  • Make a flyer and go door-to-door.
  • Plan to follow up regularly with guests. Track your RSVPs per household (adults and kids) so you can best plan for those in attendance.

How do I get organized?

Hosting a block party can feel overwhelming if one person takes on the entire event. Involve teens and older kids, too!

To ensure everyone has a great time, think about all the details.

Make a map

  • Where will food and beverages go?
  • What direction should the food line flow?Where will games and activities be played?If public restrooms are not nearby, which homes are opening their bathrooms for guest use?

Recruit set-up help

  • Setting up rolling out grills, setting up garbage cans, popping up tents, tables, and chairs goes much faster with lots of help.
  • Pro Tip: Have someone walk the party area in advance and pick up dog waste to avoid a mess during the event.

Create a welcoming atmosphere

  • Set up a table with name tags for everyone.
  • Ask guests where they are from originally or how long they have lived in your neighborhood as a way to spark conversation.

Invite special guests

  • Eastside Fire & Rescue and the Issaquah Police Department will make an appearance upon request (depending on availability).
  • City Council and other governing officials might appreciate meeting with constituents.
  • Issaquah Highlands community leadership could be available to answer neighborhood or community-related questions.

Create energy with music

  • Ask a volunteer to create a block party playlist.
  • Consider live music. Is there a garage band in your neighborhood or musicians next door who might play a set or two?
  • Consider a neighborhood jam-session, sing-along, or karaoke contest.
  • Keep kids engaged
  • Bubbles, sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, hula hoops, and a craft table are all simple ways to entertain children.
  • Teens can host a face painting activity.
  • Ask everyone to bring a white t-shirt and tie-dye together.
  • Kids love to be involved in the planning. Allow kids to create a talent show, puppet show, magic show, pet parade, or bike decorating contest to add fun to the afternoon.
  • Everyone loves old-fashioned games too! Three-legged races, sack races, limbo contests, and piñatas are easy to organize.

What about food?

  • Potlucks are fun ways to involve everyone. Depending on the time of year, have a few grills going and ask everyone to bring their own meat and side to share. Casseroles are also fun ways to feed a lot of people. 
  • Consider dividing the neighborhood into sections and designating who brings serving supplies, salads, sides, and desserts (by street, by odd/even house number, or by alphabetized last name). 
  • Keep it simple by hosting an ice cream social or dessert-only party. 
  • Food trucks could be a fun option. Most food trucks will want a guaranteed minimum purchase amount to show up, or a contracted catering menu that is paid in advance. SeattleFoodTruck.com is a great resource for locating a fun truck for your party.

How late can the party go?

Parks in Issaquah Highlands close at dusk.

How loud can we be?

Issaquah Highlands follows the city of Issaquah Municipal Code that states quiet hours are 11 p.m.-7 a.m.

The IHCA Use Rules and Restrictions state activities that disturb the peace are prohibited. If the police are called to your event, they can shut your party down.

Invite all your neighbors and be considerate of those impacted by noise from your party.

Should we have a bounce house or other inflatable?

  • Who will be responsible for the inflatable and supervising to ensure safe play?
  • Do you have enough liability insurance to cover a guest injured in the bounce house? Check with your insurance agent.
  • Is there power available? Where will the inflatable be placed?
  • Can you safely secure it to the ground to avoid it blowing away or tipping over?

Who is responsible for cleaning up?

  • Leave the party area in better condition than you found it. This includes picking up broken water balloon pieces, confetti, and streamers from the grass. Recruit cleanup help in advance.
  • Do not leave trash bags or overflowing garbage in or around public park trash cans. Carry home your waste and dispose of it in your home cans. This is a sanitary and safety issue. Leaving leftover garbage is not only inconsiderate of other park users, but encourages rodents, bears, and other wildlife to tear through the bags and make a horrible mess.

Parks are not staffed on weekends. Staff cannot address a Saturday party mess until the following week. Be a good neighbor and ensure all party guests help with waste management after the party.

Have questions about hosting a neighborhood block party?

Contact Lindsey Pinkston, Highlands Council community program manager, for additional guidance and tips for planning your block party.

Email Lindsey