First of all, please do not be alarmed. I’m hardly a Pinterest Mom. I’m really not, I promise. In my head, I want to do all that over-the-top cool stuff. But, the reality of it is that I shortcut my way through every party and hope for the best. If it makes you feel better, I remembered I had promised my six year old he could have this party exactly 48 hours before it happened. So, yeah, there’s that. He happens to be the most festive kid on the planet, so there was no way I was letting him down.
Before you say it, I do know that it’s ok just to have a party and let kids run around outside and do absolutely none of what I describe below. Gather kids together and they will figure out how to have fun. However, the fore-mentioned six year old LOVES parties – every single aspect from creating the invitation to stuffing the gift bag to planning the craft. I was not getting away with having them just run around outside. Plus, I do get enjoyment out of being creative. If all this stuff stresses you out, give yourself a pass. It’s ok, really! If your party comes from a place of love, that’s what matters most.
I’m putting this post together so that if you are like me and are scrambling to put together a party at the last minute, you can see that it CAN be done. And… it doesn’t have to involve you carving jack-o-lanterns out of apples and hand-painting Day of the Dead ceramic plates for all your four year old guests to take home and never look at again.
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I spent maybe $40 on this party and about 2 hours of prep time.
So, here we go:
Always start with the food. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and everyone likes to eat. Feed your guests. They will leave happy.
Pigs in a blanket are my go-to party food. Kids love them at parties, grown men chow down on them during football gatherings. They cost about $4 to make. For Halloween, you can call them “Mummy Dogs.” My kids helped me assemble them.
Now, look in your cabinet. Do you have popcorn? Good. Pop it. Buy a bag of $2 candy corns from Dollar General. Create trail mix, put them in clear cocktail glasses (also from DG) and call them “Creepy Cups.”
Buy a bag of green grapes for $4. Put them in a bowl, preferably something Halloween-y like this skull I got at Walgreen’s the day after Halloween last year for 99 cents. Call the grapes “Spider Eggs.” (Yep, borrowed that one from Pinterest. That one is at my ability level.)
Get your talented neighbor to make chocolate Rice Krispy treats and call them “Tombstones.”
Buy some little waters and Capri Suns and call them “Witches Brew.”
Bam. Food is done.
Next, come up with two crafts. This is not my strong suite. I usually pick something way too complicated and the kids get confused and bored, and then I get irritated. Not this time, sister. I got some orange paper plates, stickers, popsicle sticks, and glue sticks. I cut out a bunch of shapes and put them in bowls. The kids were invited to “Create Your Own Pumpkin.”
The other craft was another beginner-level Pinterest idea I found via Google search. Buy a pack of pencils (Dollar General again.) Cut out the shape of a smile for each kid. Cut out white triangles. The kids glue the triangles onto the smile and then tape the pencil to the pack. They have just made their “Jack-o-lantern” mouths.
Note: I have learned a lot from my other uber-crafty neighbor who also teaches my three-year old at school. She always has everything cut out ahead of time so all they have to do is choose and glue. This makes everything go WAY faster and the kids don’t lose interest. I took a cue from her and had everything ready to go. It paid off in the end. There were way too many kids to have them cutting AND pasting.
Whoo-hoo, look at me. Aren’t I crafty mom!?
Next, it’s not a party without a game. I got two 4-packs of toilet paper from Wal-mart for a whopping 68 cents each. I told the kids to pick a partner. One kid was the wrapper and the other was the mummy. They had five minutes to see who made the best mummy.
Ok, with this next idea, I admittedly have an unfair advantage. We do have professional photo equipment so we set up a photo shoot for the kids in the garage. BUT, don’t sweat it if you’re not a pro photographer. The kids DO NOT CARE if you are using a strobe and a DSLR, or you are using your old iPhone 5. Take a big white sheet and hang it on the wall for a backdrop. Let them go crazy posing while you snap away on your iPhone. It’s fun either way. Email out the photos to the guests later as a thank-you.
The last activity was cookie decorating. It’s potentially the messiest activity so I put it at the end. I bought two containers of sugar cookies off the Kroger day-old bakery rack for 1.99 each. I took some food coloring and a container of white icing and mixed in different food coloring. I recommend using a popsicle stick to stir in the color and then letting then slap it on their cookie with the stick. I also had some sprinkles for them to add. They had a ball loading up their cookies and making them look festive.
Don’t forget the group shot at the end! It is hard to get them to pose all at the same time, so have them do a silly face and you will be guaranteed to have a fun photograph.
And, finally, the most important thing… dress like Slash so that you totally freak out your six year old!
How do you feel? Overwhelmed? Don’t be! Let’s recap:
Get some cheap food. Hot dogs and crescent rolls, grapes, popcorn, candy corn, water and capri suns. Ask the neighbor to bring something. Be really impressive and make name tags for the food. For some reason, people are always impressed with that.
Find two easy crafts and do the cutting out ahead of time. Let the kids glue stuff on other stuff and they will have fun.
Come up with one easy game. Buy some cheap toilet paper and let them wrap each other up.
Do a photo booth and snap lots of pics or let them do selfies.
Get some inexpensive cookies, white icing, food coloring, and sprinkles. Let them go to town decorating cookies.
Do all of this on a big plastic table cloth. Roll up said table cloth at the end of the party, and throw all the mess in the trash.
Send the kids outside or upstairs, or home with their parents.
Pour yourself a glass of wine and call yourself a “Pinterest Mom.”