National Night OutAre you planning a National Night Out event in your neighborhood? For 2011, National Night Out is August 2. This event is a great way to get to know your neighbors and connect with those you may want to get to know a little better. Since we’re all about connecting, at Pear Tree, we love events that bring us closer to people.

It’s always a good idea to forge a connection with your neighbors, but why only once a year? There are plenty of other occasions and neighborhood party ideas to get together throughout the year. In my neighborhood, we receive party invitations to events all year round. Some we attend, some we don’t, but there is always something going on.

  • In the spring, one family always hosts an Easter egg hunt for the kids.
  •  We’ve had a “clean up the park” party to which we all bring garbage bags and gloves, and pick up litter in the local park, followed by coffee and donuts or bagels or something simple at someone’s house.
  • Enterprising neighborhood teens have taken it upon themselves to decorate the basement of the nearby church as a haunted house at Halloween and charge admission to raise money for a cause.
  • We’ve gathered in support of a neighbor with cancer, had parties where donations were collected, organized cook-a-thons where we froze dozens of meals and stored them in freezers to drop off later, or held a silent auction to raise money for a family dealing with huge medical bills.
  • We’ve gone to progressive parties (appetizers at one house, main course at another, dessert at another) sometimes to celebrate a completed remodeling project or to show off our gardens and share ideas.
  • Around the holidays, in addition to the usual parties and open houses, we put on a cookie exchange, during which we exchange recipe cards along with cookies.
  • In January or February we gather at the park for an ice skate and hot chocolate.

Getting to know your neighbors is highly rewarding. Not only does it make your neighborhood safer, but also a more enjoyable place to live. It’s as simple as sending out party invitations.