We did it. We threw our first official "kid party" at our home. Our twins first birthday party was at Gymboree. It was amazing. We went to the party, they entertained the kids, they kept the party flowing, they served cake and then they cleaned up. I almost felt like I was cheating, it was so easy! I figured we needed to jump in to the party scene and what better way to start than with a Toddler Halloween Party?
We had 10 little people under the age of three and 22 adults. It was wild but so much fun. The two most important lessons I learned through this party experience - 1. An hour and a half party is PLENTY long enough when dealing with toddlers. 2. Once the party gets going, messes will be made, things may not turn out exactly how you envisioned, but remember to enjoy it. Take a deep breath and sit back and enjoy the smiles on your little ones' faces. Absolutely priceless.
I enjoyed finding ideas for toddler friendly activities and I loved creating the decor to add special touches to the party. As always I found lots of ideas online and in magazines and then I tweaked them to create exactly the decor I pictured for our party. For activities we had a craft table, cookie decorating, a photo booth and Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin. Below are a few of the decor elements of the party.
1. Centerpieces - I used vases we already had and filled them with jelly beans and gum drops. Tied ribbons around the sucker stems and ta-da! Centerpiece complete. It is a perfect height for table decor.
2. Milk Carton Ghosts - Love this simple project. We saved our milk cartons for a few weeks. The twins still drink A LOT of milk! Draw faces on the clean milk cartons with black permanent marker. Spray paint the lids black. The inspiration I found showed a string of holiday lights in each milk carton to light them up. Instead I added glow sticks from the dollar store. During the day, you couldn't see much glow but at night they all lit up in different colors. It looked fabulous! BOO!
3. Party Favors - I stamped BOO on each bag and tied with a simple knot. Super easy. Favors included a small bag of goldfish, box of raisins, sheet of Halloween stickers and a container of Play Doh.
4. Photo Booth - This was SO fun. Everyone at the party went in the photo booth multiple times. We bought a bale of hay at the local feed store. I am a complete city girl and had no idea how huge a bale of hay was! It only cost $6.50. Bargain! We add a fabric backdrop, a scarecrow, cornstalks and a pumpkin to get the full harvest feel. After the party I got the pictures developed and am mailing them to the party guests with a thank you for coming note from our twins. The photo booth idea could be used at any festive event.
5. Sparkle Bottles - We had two crafts for the kids. Decorating foam pumpkins and spiders and making Halloween themed sparkle bottles. The picture is of the items for the sparkle bottles. Such an easy, fun project and my kids play with their sparkle bottles all of the time. Quick tip - the black bowls the craft supplies were in were yogurt cups. We washed and saved yogurt cups and spray painted them black to go with the orange and black theme.
6. Ghost Names - We made ghosts with each child's name who was invited to the party. It is an extra special touch and fun for the little ones who recognize their name to see it up on the wall. The little girl ghosts even had bows in their hair! You could do this for any holiday or theme party.
7. Beer Cooler - My husband carved out the pumpkin, and then put ice and beer in. High impact decor with little effort.
8. Invitations - These were simple store bought fill in the blank invites. I added a little rhyme letting them know it was a costume party and glammed it up with background paper and a puffy pumpkin sticker.
Below are some of the food elements of the party.
1. Main food table - I tried to come up with food that was easy to eat while chasing after your little ones. Plus the party was in the late afternoon so snack foods were the most practical.
3. Cheesy Pumpkins - I used a pumpkin cookie cutter to cut out cheddar cheese slices. It was so simple and everyone gobbled them up. I love when people actually eat at parties! You could do the cheese idea with any cookie cutter shape.
4. Beverage Table - Always serve a variety. We did beer, wine, soda, bottled water and milk and chocolate milk for the little ones. I had labels in front of all food and beverage items. Chocolate milk was Bat Milk. Wine was Dracula Juice, cinnamon squares were Spicy Devils. It was an easy extra touch and everyone was talking about the fun names.
5. Giant Candy Corn Cookie - Yum! We made a huge sugar cookie and frosted it with different colors to get the full candy corn effect.
6. Skeleton Fingers and Spooky Toddler Trail Mix - Orange, red and yellow bell peppers cut into sticks and put in cups with veggie dip at the bottom. One of the best ideas. No double dipping and a so easy to eat and no mess! The trail mix was just goldfish and raisins - two kid friendly foods in Halloween colors. EASY!