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Say NO to Cabin Fever – Host a Winter Block Party



This is startlingly beautiful, yet we often run from it instead of making good use of it.

When wintry weather comes, getting out is important.  If not, you may be familiar with – cabin fever.

If that term makes you cringe, you’re not alone! The thought of being cooped up indoors all winter long is a depressing one. In fact, some people experience a type of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) throughout the fall and winter due to a lack of sunshine and interaction with others. Symptoms can include:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or anxiousness
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Lack of interest in activities that are typically enjoyed

Winter Block Party to the Rescue!

People who have been diagnosed with SAD may need therapy or other medical treatment, but if you just feel down in the dumps every now and again, a Winter Block Party may be all you need. Block parties are a great way for neighbors to congregate outdoors. Unlike most block parties, which are traditionally held on summer holidays like the Fourth of July and Labor Day, Winter Block Parties can be held any day during the winter months.

Don’t let cool weather stop you from having fun! Exciting events that can make your Winter Block Party the hit of the neighborhood include:

Foods to Warm

Almost all get-togethers center around the food.  It is the stuff of celebrations.   Make your winter block party no different by choosing a theme.  There is nothing wrong with being the first to throw a winter BBQ of succulent meats and grilled veggies.  Don’t forget to keep the kids busy by providing syrups to make snowcones.

Fondue parties are perfect.  Clear the snow off the patio tables and plug in the crockpots.  Fill them with warm dips and sauces, then have platters of foods to dip.  Keep crockpots full of spiced ciders and cocoas handy for liberal filling of steamy mugs to warm the hands.

How about the aroma of chili wafting all around, combined with crunchy sourdough grilled with butter? Or have everyone bring a crockpot of their favorite soups and stews, including the recipe cards to hand out. Winter won’t stand a chance among all the laughter and delicious foods.

Plan some great activities around the foods and don’t be afraid to do them outdoors.  When everyone is moving, there is a bonfire going, and plenty of hot food to go around, being cold will rarely be an issue.

Sled Races

There’s nothing quite like swishing downhill on a cold winter day! You don’t need to visit a luxurious ski resort—just challenge your neighbors to a sled race for a little friendly competition! If your yard is on an incline, have everyone line up in a row and see who reaches the bottom of the hill first.

Don’t have real sleds? Just about anything that’s smooth on the bottom can be transformed into a sled. A few ideas:

  • Garbage can lids
  • Plastic storage bin lids
  • Pool toys or inner tubes

Whatever homemade sleds you wind up creating, always remember—safety first. Use your noggin!

Cocoa Contest

Homemade pie contests bring out the baker in every housewife at summertime block parties, but a hot cocoa contest is a better choice for your Winter Block Party! Ask each contestant to brew a batch of delicious cocoa and bring along copies of the recipe to pass out to others. Mini marshmallows are a favorite, but creative stir-ins like cinnamon, vanilla, peppermint, and coffee just might help you bring home the blue ribbon.

If hot cocoa really isn’t your thing, turn it into a winter beverage contest. Entrants can choose to bring hot apple cider, hot toddies, cappuccinos, or even chicken noodle soup—hey, some people love to drink the broth!

Snowman Competition

If there is fresh snow on the ground during your Winter Block Party, organize a snowman competition. Break out your unused shirts, boots, scarves, top hats, mittens, and carrot noses—the best-dressed snowman wins! Snowmen are fun for kids of all ages to build, and once the snow melts a bit, you can donate the contest clothes and shoes to charity.  For the guys who have more energy, the competition to see who can destroy their snowmen with the most creativity might prove to be even more interesting.  Make sure you film it all on video.

Board Game Marathon

Once your hands are frozen from sledding and building snowmen, it’s time to head indoors for a board game marathon. Small groups of kids and adults can play classics like Monopoly, Scrabble, Sorry!, Life and Candy Land. Teens may prefer a video game marathon, so be sure to encourage Wii or Kinect games, both of which are a great way to burn calories indoors.

If you’re ready to be crowned Most Popular at the next homeowner’s association meeting, start planning your Winter Block Party today. Just say no to cabin fever!