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Foothills Area Command National Night Out Idea-Generating Event: YOUR Ideas!

APD Foothills: Neighborhood Watch Block Captains’ Ideas for National Night Out Gatherings in 2015

(NNO on Tuesday, August 4th this year)

Take what you like – these ideas are YOURS to encourage participation in National Night Out.


  • Invite any kids on a cheer squad to be present and do a cheer.
  • Sidewalk chalk on sidewalks, driveway to point out where the gathering will be held and gets kids and teens involved leading up to the event. Great family project and sets the tone for a fun event.
  • Utilize the talent on your block! Who plays an instrument, sings or is in a band? Tap those talents to entertain and they get a chance to perform in front of a group.
  • Fliers: email, door-to-door handing to neighbors, tape to a door knob (no mail boxes). Use teens on the block to get them involved. If your community has a club house, use the community board to notify everyone.
  • Food: Can do potluck style, ask local restaurant for donated ‘take out’ cutlery/napkins, etc or dishes or everyone chips in for pre-selected take-out meals.
  • Ice cream social, BBQ, take out, deserts only – food brings people.
  • Use your driveways/garages for the event – people on the block can walk and bring a folding chair. Everyone on the block is visible and attracts other neighbors who may ordinarily not participate.
  • Cul-de-sacs are great for potlucks/gatherings. Put your chairs on the sidewalk to keep the cul-de-sac clear.
  • Plan a parade: pets, decorated bicycles, decorated pets! Make it fun.
  • Tap into cultural diversity with dancers, music, food, etc.
  • One group is doing a mini-pow wow with Native American dancers and fry bread. This gets everyone interested and teaches about cultural traditions in our communities.
  • Scavenger hunt on the block: lots of fun, have prizes, keep it to the general block area.
  • Patio tour for town home/condo communities – fun to see what others are doing and get ideas for decorating personal space.
  • Game night: have board games, other games – engages people and families to have a fun time.
  • White elephant event: can also have fun trading event with each other.
  • Hand out vehicle stickers for your community; make small stickers or paper tags for vehicles so you get to recognize and know the vehicles that are on the block.
  • Classic car show/display: One gated community with a number of classic car buffs are having a classic car show for NNO.
  • Block parties: blocking off street; call ‘311’ for instructions on the process for permits; plan well in advance. The Foothills’ Sandler Drive N.Watch has had big success with their block parties.
  • Cake walks are fun; so are contests (vote for the best pie, etc) or eating contests.
  • Use your parks and community spaces! If a large turnout expected, call ‘311’ and ask for Parks & Rec to see if permit/permission is needed and can also ask for a pre-event ‘clean up/grass trimming’ at the park.
  • Utilize the schools: teachers are a great source of contact.
  • Utilize places of worship: they have good sound systems, ample parking and are usually on level ground or have handicap parking/ramps for those with mobility issues.
  • Do you know a clown or someone with face-painting skills? This will get the children involved and excited to be at the event. If you know a talented teen, they can do the face painting.
  • Leverage partnership opportunities within your area.
  • Invite all first responders (fire, police, etc), ask in advance if they can show the group their equipment, vehicles, etc to get people engaged.
  • Elected officials: this is a nice way for them to engage with constituents in an unofficial, relaxed setting and not have an emphasis on election time or politics – get to know them as fellow neighbors.
  • If asking a local business to donate a prize for raffle or dishes for meals, approach well in advance of the event. They will probably need a letter in advance and can tell you what that letter needs to say so they can get corporate approval. Be sure to acknowledge their donation to your event (newsletter, thank you letter, etc.)
  • Collection Box event: everyone brings a canned item or donated item for selected charity. NNO is near back-to-school time, great time to have the guests bring a school supply item, back pack, etc. It was brought up that APD has a large number of homeless school kids who could use help with supplies, etc.

 Thanks to everyone who attended – it was fun! I hope you met some new people and got a visual (with the map and name flags) of where other active Neighborhood Watches are near you.

 Don’t forget to register your event with the Citizens’ Contact Center (dial 311) when the letter from Steve Sink, APD Crime Prevention, goes to our Neighborhood Watch Block Captains.

 Again – it was great to re-connect with you and I thank you for your time and support.

 Jill Garcia, Crime Prevention Specialist / ICPS
APD, Foothills Area Command,
12800 Lomas Blvd NE, 332-5240