Did you create your Nextdoor.com account yesterday? I hope it went well and that you’re excited about this tool for expanding connections with your neighbors.
If you aren’t already engaged in your neighborhood you might think I’m crazy but I want you to plan a neighborhood event. For this month. Yes, that’s right, October 2012. I know you can do it.
Don’t worry; you’re not alone in this. I’ve only lived in my current neighborhood since the end of May so I’m still getting to know many of my neighbors too. We’re in this together and I know it might seem daunting but I’m here to help. Today I want you to do the following: pick a date and decide on the type of event you want to host.
When it comes to the date might I suggest Halloween? Halloween is one of the only nights of the year that people come out of their house and interact with their neighbors willingly. It’s an open door and an opportunity we often miss when getting to know our neighbors. If Halloween doesn’t work for you for some reason that’s ok but go ahead and choose another date for this month.
Next consider some event ideas. You can something really simple or more complex. Here are a few of my ideas:
- Have two drink dispensers on a table outside. Label one “For the Kids” and one “For the Adults.” Fill each container accordingly and add the contents to the label as well, (ie. lemonade or apple cider for the kids and cocktails or mocktails for the adults). Stay outside to hand out your Halloween candy and offer drinks to each family that comes by. You’ll get an opportunity to have conversations and the parents will love you for giving them a treat on what can be a long night.
- Have a cookout or potluck. Have everyone bring something (we’ll talk about this more tomorrow when we discuss best practices for inviting your neighbors) while you provide an affordable entrée like hotdogs or chili. Setup in your front yard (this is critical if you really hope to engage the whole neighborhood) and enjoy a relaxing night of making new friends.
- I know of some churches that host “Light Up the Night” events in various neighborhoods. Think of your front yard as a mini fall festival. Have bales of hay for seating and perhaps a fire pit for lingering. Setup some simple games for kids (ie. bobbing for apples in a kiddie pool). Provide a hot drink bar and of course candy. (This clearly requires the most work and investment, but will pay off exponentially if it’s right for you and your neighborhood).
So remember you’re assignments for today are to pick a date and the type of event you’ll be hosting. Let me know what you decide and be sure to come back tomorrow when we discuss the best methods for inviting your neighbors, as well as free, that’s right FREE, options for sending invitations in the mail.