Saturday, September 1, 2007

My Jack-o-Lantern is better than your Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkin Carving Party

In my last entry I talked about Halloween Parties. What I haven’t talked about is Pumpkin Carving Parties.

I have a great neighborhood. Years ago, we started doing parties to make the kids holiday more fun. It has, of course, now turned into an adult competition. Since this is my blog, I’ll tell you mine is always the best. We all chose a holiday (yes, Julia you still have to do Easter, even if it means blowing out thousands of eggs) and I picked, surprise, surprise, Halloween. About a week before Halloween I have my Pumpkin Carving Party. I supply all the tools and patterns. Just an FYI, every year after Halloween, I buy all the pattern kits at 75% to 90% off. I now, after all these years, have quite a few (to say the least).

I send my invitation out a few weeks before the party.

My guests know to bring their own pumpkins to carve. I set up a large table (or two) and spread out everything they need. I’ve also learned that you need a couple of garbage can to get all the pumpkin inners. We don’t, but you could, take all the seeds and roast them. For younger children, I usually put out paint, brushes and smocks. That way they can decorate their own pumpkins.

Because this is a very casual party, I have my guest either bring appetizers or dessert. That way all I have to worry about is the entrée. I always make stew. I feel like stew symbolizes the start of Fall. Each year I search the internet for new and interesting kinds of stew. I have never served the same stew twice. I make sure I decorate the table that we eat on in a Halloween theme. Since I am a dish-aholic, I have a set just for this occasion (well two but we can discuss my dish addiction at another time).

After dinner we light the pumpkins on my porch and admire our work.

Try this party and you too will suddenly find yourself doing this fun holiday party year after year.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Screaming Good Halloween Party

Last year, for the first time, I decided that my 11 year old daughter and her friend could throw a Halloween Party. I was scared for many reason, none having to do with Halloween. She and her friend originally wanted to invite 35 of there closest friends. I vetoed that idea. I felt that 35, 6th graders, in my house, would be a disaster. So over much crying, whining and complaining (on my part), I agreed to 20 guests. In the end it turned out great, but to save you any headaches, I will share my knowledge.

As you can see I designed two different designs for Halloween Invitations (as always on my website).

The girls decided that it would be a costume party. Truly I like nothing better than to dress up for Halloween. Much to my children's chagrin. Oh well, embarrassing your children is part of a parents job.

Evidence marked Exhibit A:

The girls wanted pizza but besides the expense and trouble going and getting it, I wanted something that looked kind of gross. So I made spaghetti and put it in a big plastic cauldron. I lined the cauldron with aluminum foil just in case there was some kind of crack in it. I also made a Punch. One girls complained that it looked gross. I said "Thank you. I obviously did it correctly because it's Halloween, it's supposed to be gross". Of course that was the same girl that once she tried it, couldn't stop drinking it. Bunny, the other Mom participating in the party made fantastic gross food.

Here are just a few of her "gross" creations.

Finger Cookies

Rice Krispies Eye Ball

I had lots of fun decorations. I bought a drop down spider that was sound activated. I put it above the toilet tank. Whenever someone went to the bathroom we would all hear a scream. I don't think my 58 year old brother has gotten over it to this day. I had a motorized rat that I had run across the floor while everyone was eating dinner. I had a "Screaming Skeleton" that I put at the bottom of a flight of stairs. As soon as the kids got to the landing it light up and starting moaning. My genius moment came when I found my old fish tank. I filled it with water and some red food dye and then put in a mask (bought at the dollar store) and other body parts. It takes a minute for people to figure out what is in there but then . . .

As for party games, we had Twister and we also did a Mummy Wrap. A big hit as always.

The winner of the Mummy Wrap contest.

To end the night I let the kids roast marshmallows to make S'mores using our fireplace.

So, all in all, it was a big hit. Hope this helps you do your own Halloween party.