We encourage you to have a neighborhood block party, and we will be glad to provide support and include your celebration as part of National Night Out 2024 on August 6, complete with Portsmouth Police Department outreach, giveaways & more. Here are some tips and guidelines to help you get your National Night Out party going!

Scruff McGruff and Sparky

The Purpose Behind
National Night Out

Of course, all are invited to our big, central event at Festival Park. But there’s something to be said for celebrating close to home with your friends and neighbors. Here are some tips and guidelines to help you get your National Night Out party going!

Enhance police-community partnerships
Strengthen neighborhood unity and spirit
Heighten crime, drug and violence prevention awareness
Generate support for and participation in local anti-crime efforts
Send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back

Getting Started


Gauge Interest Level

First, try gauging the level of interest in your neighborhood. You could go door to door, speak at a community meeting, post on NextDoor or a private neighborhood Facebook page, or send out an email. With some feedback, you can better decide if hosting an event is right for your neighborhood. Remember, you’re welcome to come to our main event!

Gather Your Neighbors

If you decide to go for it, gather a small group of neighbors together to start planning your event.

Register Your Event

If you want officers or McGruff to visit, register your event with the Portsmouth Police Department by submitting the vendor application form and indicating your event location, and with the National Association of Town Watch.

Spread the Word

Lastly, create flyers or invitations and send them to your neighbors or post on social media outlining the details of your event. Feel free to use these templates.

Ideas for Fun, Family Activities

Here are just a few fun activities suggestions for your event. Remember, the possibilities are endless when it comes to National Night Out fun!

  • Invite a clown, balloon artist or magician.
  • Have games using water balloons, or an ice block sitting contest. August is HOT!
  • Rent a “Bouncy House.”
  • Play hide and seek.
  • Do face painting (using non-toxic paint, of course).
  • Organize a kids’ talent show, parade, or bicycle parade – use a patriotic theme!
  • Organize a block parade!
  • Rent a popcorn, cotton candy, or sno-cone machine.
  • Have coloring or poster contests with the theme and award prizes. Display them at your event for all to enjoy!
  • Rent a photobooth.
  • Hire a DJ and have everyone join in for line dancing.

Groups You Can Invite to Your Party!

Feel free to reach out to the city entities below if you’d like to invite them to have representation at your affair:

  • Portsmouth Police Community Enhancement Division – 757.393.8092
  • Portsmouth Fire Department – 757.393.8765
  • Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office – 757.393.8210
  • Portsmouth Parks & Recreation – 757.393.8481
  • Portsmouth Marketing & Communications – 757.393.5143
  • Portsmouth Behavioral Health Services – 757.393.5357
  • Portsmouth Social Services – 757.405.1800
  • Portsmouth Health Department – 757.393.8585
  • Portsmouth General Registrar – 757.393.8644
  • Portsmouth Public Libraries – 757.393.8501
  • Children’s Museum of Virginia – 757.393.5258

Here are some additional community partners you may want to invite:

  • Portsmouth Crime Line – 888.562.5887
  • Portsmouth Humane Society – 757.397.6004
  • Salvation Army – 757.393.2519
  • Portsmouth Mercy Drops – 757.967.7599

Helpful Reminders

  • When hosting your event, always put safety and security first! For example, be sure everyone locks and secures their homes before they attend, don’t allow children near hot grills, etc.
  • Food can go bad very quickly in hot weather. Make sure perishable foods like mayonnaise, pasta salads and meats are stored at the proper temperature until they’re used.
  • Selling food and drinks without the proper licensing and permits is not allowed.
  • Excessive amplification of music is not allowed. While we’re all excited to celebrate National Night Out, please be mindful of your neighbors who may not be celebrating.
  • Alcohol is not permitted on city streets or in city parks. National Night Out is a time to have fun and be safe, so we ask that you do not consume alcohol before, during or after your event.
  • Send out reminders of your event a few weeks beforehand, and again a couple of days ahead of time. You may also want to remind everyone the night before or the morning of your event to ensure a strong turnout.
  • Don’t forget to turn on your porch lights to show everyone that you are supporting the National Night Out efforts of your city and nationwide!

Top Reasons to Have a National Night Out Party

  • To have fun! No excuse is needed to celebrate!
  • To meet your neighbors. When you know who lives in your neighborhood, you are more likely able to identify strangers or suspicious people.
  • To increase the sense of belonging in your neighborhood.
  • To share crime prevention and safety information with other members of the community.
  • To make additional connections within the community. When you know people, you can exchange skills or resources and perhaps organize a book club, recipe swap, babysitting co-op, share walking to school or to bus stop duties, or find new friends for your children – and yourself!
  • To plan a campaign to address citizen interests or neighborhood concerns
  • To meet some of the old-time residents in the neighborhood and learn the neighborhood’s history.
  • To have a neighborhood clean-up day, play some good music and grill some food once all the work is done.
  • To start a yearly neighborhood tradition of getting together at least once a year!

Neighborhood Events

August 6th | Portsmouth, VA

Check out the neighborhoods around Portsmouth hosting their own National Night Out event. We look forward to celebrating with you all!