Thursday, November 29, 2012

Halloween Party

It's been almost a month since Jenna's birthday party! I haven't posted on it till now for several reasons. One, the weather was of the miserable Indoor Party variety, meaning no outdoor photos and only jaundiced-looking indoor shots. Two, I was too much of a coward to sort through all those jaundiced photos to edit, crop and pick the final ones. Three, looking at the photos reminded me of how challenging it was to have thirteen children in our house, with nowhere to go. Four, I forgot. Until Jenna asked me last week if she could look at the photos of her birthday party on my blog.

Er..... what photos?

So here they are. As claustrophobic as it felt at moments, we had loads of fun and Jenna most of all, which is what really matters. Happy sixth birthday, sweet one!

Cleverly persuading her away from her original Swimming Party birthday theme, we did a Halloween party (her second choice) and everyone was invited to come in costume. Which was convenient because it was four days after trick-or-treating night and everyone still had their costumes (which their parents were only too happy to get more mileage out of). This, incidentally, was the only outdoor shot.

We followed the sequence of events that has become the standard procedure at our parties. Outdoor parties allow more room for movement and set-up so that most of the preparation could be done before the guests even arrived. With an indoor party like this, our limited space for humans and furniture meant that the same table was used for food, games and crafts, with manic clearing-away-and-setting-up between acts while some other non-table activity was simultaneously going on elsewhere.

We opened the happy event with lunch

followed by store-bought, non-Halloween-themed cake (but requested by Jenna)

and cookies.

Then everyone adjourned to the very-nearby Chair of Honor for the opening of gifts.

(The lunch table, having been temporarily moved a whopping two feet away, was being cleared and prepped for games.)

The kids were then sent down to the basement to hunt for glow bracelets

which were much more visible with the lights off. We made it really easy, since there were little kids involved.

When they came back upstairs, they were handed their candy corn backpacks (tagged with their names)

into which to deposit the first of their loot.

Then it was time for games. Recognize that orange table? It had lunch on it just minutes earlier. This first game was (store-bought) Halloween bingo 

with candy corn rice krispy treats as prizes. We wrapped ours in clingfilm so the kids could choose to take theirs home if they didn't feel like eating it just minutes after a huge lunch.

Then we got out the pumpkin pie pinata,

the one filled with fleece pumpkin goodie bags

and everyone pulled it apart.

And Kate, who didn't get the white pumpkin, cried. Poor thing. No photos of that. I think I should just do away with pinatas at our parties forever.

When everyone was calm again, we made luminous wands -

the kids picked their wand stems and a glow bracelet from their earlier hunt, and assembled their wands,

after which they decorated them. No photos, but it was on the same orange table as lunch and bingo, so it shouldn't take too much effort to imagine the scene.

Finally, we sent the kids back down to the basement to fill little takeout boxes (decorated by Jenna) at the candy bar. 

All that candy, incidentally, wasn't leftover from trick-or-treating. We actually bought different candy for the party - so insane, I know. As if there weren't already enough candy in people's homes by then.

And that was part I of Jenna's birthday festivities! 

This is Part II - the part where she celebrates with family :

Remember Jenna's first choice for a party theme? 
We found a way to let her have her cake and eat it, too :)


  1. Looks like a great party! And c'mon... those photos weren't that bad! ;)

    1. Only because Dave took them (the party ones, I mean).

      But yes, we enjoyed celebrating Jenna in that party!

  2. That last picture is classic. Who needs other photos when you end up with one that says it all? Love it.

  3. Seems like you really enjoyed that party. Our party theme was "Green Pumpkins". We Carved green peppers as jack-o-lanterns and whole row of them, There were yellow and red peppers as well. Have a whole army of scary faces to greet goblins at your door. lol
    and Guests never recover from the fright!

  4. Are the rice krispy treats incredibly sticky in your part of the world? I tried making some here but it was sooooo sticky (humidity perhaps) that it was impossible to cut. Let alone into nice shapes.

    1. They are sticky here, too, Serena! And we like them sticky, otherwise they're too dry and hard. Sometimes if we have insufficient marshmallows (e.g. using the leftovers in some bag in the pantry closet rather than going out to buy a new bag) to rice crispies ie.ratio too small, the bars turn out dry and not sticky. This is a fail, but it might end up being a success in high humidity places. Try that and see!

  5. Is it the lack of humidity that lets you cut your rice krispy treats so neatly. Here it is impossibly sticky. Great work on the party!

  6. We have two November birthdays too, so know the anguish of inside birthdays. But I think you should have gone with the swimming theme. Most pools have times when you can rent them, some even have party rooms or offer complete packages. Even some hotels do it. Last year, my kids were at a new school (their old school closed, so they knew some kids, but not many at the new school), so we rented the pool, and both girls invited their entire grades. There wasn't a party room at that location, but basically just a lobby space you can rent. We didn't, but stood there handing out watermelon and juice boxes. No cake or pizza, we said no presents but a few brought them. It was GREAT though I think the kids missed the cake :)

    1. I hear you, Tracy! But I just can't do indoor pool parties. Not after having lived almost all my life on a tropical island. The reek of trapped chlorine, for one, is a sad, sad smell. We are, however, going to honor Jenna's request for a swimming party next year by having it in July (4 months early) for her friends at our awesome nearby water park. Outdoors. Under sunshine and blue sky. And LOTS of room. And lifeguards. And I might just get a few laps in myself when no one's watching ;)

  7. Darn! I was really hoping that you would have some kind of magic solution for indoor parties. My son's birthday is on New Year's Eve, so it's cold, often wet (seldom snowy) and we have one large living room with two doors. Last time (first time!) we tried a kids party we really struggled with keeping them in. They were either racing round in circles through the two doors, or disappearing off to his tiny bedroom. I think it was fun, but mostly just frenetic - is that how it is supposed to be?
    This year, we are thinking about taking my boy, his two sisters and maybe a friend bowling for an hour then home for cake. Easy. :-)

  8. I love that she still got her pool party, too!

    This looks like loads of fun for the kids, if a bit hectic for you as mom. I know all too well how claustrophobic those indoor parties can feel. What was I thinking having winter babies???


Thank you for talking to me! If you have a question, I might reply to it here in the comments or in an email.