10 National Night Out Activities Everyone Will Participate In

Check out these 10 activities for NNO to get more people involved and make it a great evening!

February 7, 2022

Another year for National Night Out and you're wondering how your department can spice things up?

Depending on where you are located and the resources you have available the activities will vary. But we wanted to provide a few creative ideas for inspiration to get things going in your department.

Check out these 10 activities to get more people involved and make it a great evening!

National Night Out Activities

  1. Photo Booth Contest
  2. Neighborhood Update
  3. Water Balloon Toss
  4. Face Painting
  5. Ladder Golf Tournament
  6. Chalk Gallery
  7. Scavenger Hunt
  8. Tug of war
  9. Food Bank Collection
  10. K9 Demonstration

Photo Booth Props
Source: https://www.amazon.com/Reunions-Birthdays-Photobooth-Dress-up-Accessories/dp/B00OW1P12K

1. Photo Booth Contest

Print out:

  • Local sports team mascots
  • Beard/Mustache cut outs
  • Hats
  • Glasses
  • Speech bubble with a unique hashtag or request to follow department Facebook page

Cut out and tape the things you printed onto sticks (you can purchase bamboo skewers really cheap - Walmart $2).

Sit the props in a basket/box and use a wall for a back drop.

Make it a group contest by saying that if over XX amount of people take a silly photo, the officers in the department will take a silly one and post on their website/social pages.

2. Neighborhood Update

At one point in the evening, get everyone at the event in one area.

Have one person from your department give an update of what went on over the last year; accomplishments, big events, crime statistics, etc.

Keep it light-hearted and informative. Present any goals or requests for this year.

This would also be a good time to bring up things like Dog Walker Watch or Nextdoor if you use those resources and want to spread the word.

water balloons
Source: https://www.groopdealz.com/deal/63903/magic-water-balloon-filler-best-pricing

3.Water Balloon Toss

Now they have extenders for filling up water balloons so it takes less than 60 seconds to fill 100 balloons! So why not hold a water balloon toss?

Definitely, emphasize that they're just for the balloon toss. You may have some unhappy children if water balloons are unexpectedly thrown at them.

Another way to decrease conflict - have the official rules on hand:

  1. Split players in two groups and give each pair one balloon.
  2. Line players up in 2 lines facing each other. They should be 3 feet apart to start.
  3. Each player with a balloon will toss it to their partner when directed by the organizer. If the partner catches the balloon successfully, each person will take one step backwards. The organizer will determine the amount of space so all pairs move back equal distance. If instead the balloon breaks, that pair is eliminated from the game.
  4. Continue passing the balloon and taking steps back each time it is caught until there is only one pair left. The last pair standing are the winners!


  • If the balloon falls but does not break, the pair is still qualified and may continue playing
  • Everyone must step back after each round at the same time at the distance identified by the organizer
  • It is recommended you take about 1 foot step back each round

Face Paint
Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/art-colorful-colourful-colors-19680/

4. Face Painting

You don't have to be an artist. Ask around the department and your community for volunteers.

Basic symbols and words are the key:

  • Flower
  • Smiley face
  • Heart
  • Sun
  • Star
  • Paw print
  • Basketball
  • Cat nose & whiskers
  • Butterfly

Have a board with them already painted on so those who are "less experienced" can look at a reference to copy from.

Ladder Golf
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/perspective/18609899092/

5. Ladder Golf Tournament

Ladder golf, KanJam, Washers, Cornhole, whatever your backyard neighborhood game may be; create a tournament out of it!

Print out a bracket template, such as this, and create a simple tournament to create some competition. 

6. Chalk Gallery

Have boxes of sidewalk chalk out for everyone to create their artwork.

As people walk by the next few days they will be able to enjoy it as well.

You could even start some games with chalk like tic-tac-toe, hopscotch, or 4 square(if you have a playground ball).

7. Scavenger Hunt

What is more fun than a scavenger hunt??

Get brown paper bags, make a list of items in Word and print out a few copies for the event. First person back with a completed checklist - wins!

Examples to add to your scavenger hunt may be:

  • 3 Different leaf shapes
  • 1 Pine cone
  • 1 Stick
  • 1 Acorn
  • 2 Rocks

8. Tug of War

A good old fashion game of tug of war is always a great time. One of the local schools or gyms may be able to loan one to you instead of buying one. Or if you have a summer park program in your area, you may already have one available!

Split up into age groups or even out each side and have families do it together.

Canned Food

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/krossbow/4477728568

9. Food Bank Collection

Announce on the invites and posts that you will be collecting for the food bank.

If people forget, they can always run home and grab something.

Set a goal and see how much your community can raise.

Search for your local food-bank here!


Source: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/article/420232

10. K9 Demonstration

According to Today.com, "74 percent of people like dogs."

So if you have a K9 unit willing to show off some tricks, it's sure to be a hit! Few people know what all they can do on duty. Display your officer's hard work while informing & entertaining the public!


Don't forget to provide a few small snacks and drinks and ask people to bring food as well.

Provide items such as:

  • Watermelon
  • Lemonade
  • Hot Dogs
  • Chips
  • Water

How to Get People There

Post on social media, hang door hangers or ask to mention on local news stations. Make sure to highlight the community events going on to get peoples' attention and get them involved. 

Not sure how to start planning your event?

Don't get stressed out about planning your National Night Out event. Steal some ideas from here to make it a great night!

Want to make sure everyone in the department knows when big events like this are happening? Add a special event on your work calendar in PowerTime! You can color code and label whole days to make sure everyone is on the same page. Learn more by clicking the button below!

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