If you measure how well a party went by the state of your house once everyone has left, I can safely say that Jumpy’s second birthday party was a roaring success! This is entirely based on the cupcake my friend Loraine peeled off Beanie’s duvet, the crisps I have been finding in the toy kitchen and the sticky floor, well… everywhere!
On a more serious note, we all had a great time and I left Hubby in charge of ‘Operation Rescue our Home’ as I took Wriggly for her injections after the party. I got the better deal and he did a pretty good job.
Whenever I plan a party for the children, I get them involved. It means the preparation itself becomes a series of creative activities. It also forces me to stop what I would otherwise be doing and focus on my children.
When I started designing the invitations, Crevette suggested using pumpkins. We kept it simple with a pumpkin silhouette over an orange background.
In terms of decoration, we did not go over the top and only focused our efforts on the middle room. We started by displaying Halloween images in all our frames. I printed them a couple of years ago and I now keep them inside the frames (behind our photos) for the following year. All other decorations were from the pound shop and included lanterns, cobwebs, spiders, rats and bats.
We also made lanterns, carved pumpkins and used food as decoration, with our spooky fruit basket, pumpkin jelly as well as labelled bottles and jars.
Tissue Paper Lanterns
Last year, we made tissue paper lanterns and they were brilliant! I thought I had kept them but I could not put my hands on them so we made new ones. It is pretty straightforward and does not take long.
All you have to do is cut strips of orange tissue paper and stick it to jars using PVA glue mixed with water. You just have to make sure you cover the jars with a couple of layers of tissue paper and add glue on top for a nice finish. It does not require precision and looks better if it is done in a messy way. The children did a fantastic job.
The next day, the glue was dry and we used Pinterest as an inspiration for the Jack O’Lantern faces we drew on the jars.
In the past, I have carved our pumpkins ‘freestyle’. By that, I mean I had no plan, no idea what I was carving or how I was supposed to do it. Year after year, our pumpkin ended up with three triangles and some sort of a mouth.
This year, we worked on our technique and we achieved our best results yet.
I started by cutting off the lids. The children scraped the seeds off using ice cream scoops and large spoons.
They lost interest really quickly so my mum and I finished emptying the pumpkins. We saved as much of the flesh as we could to make pumpkin soup.
I then printed the designs the little ones had chosen for our pumpkins. I stuck them on the pumpkins with tape and used a paper piercing tool to make holes every few millimetres. My little man was really keen to get involved and he took charge of the outline for one of the pumpkins.
My mum used the dots as a guide to carve the pumpkins.
Best carved pumpkins ever!
To be completely honest, the little ones did not need any entertainment other than each other’s company. I had left the dressing-up basket out in the children’s bedroom. Some accessorised their costumes, others got changed.
‘Pass the parcel’ with Halloween sounds is the only structured activity we did. Most of the children had a jelly monster when it was their turn to tear the layer of wrapping paper. We also included four fun books I bought from Allergy Adventures. There were also Moo Free chocolate bars for our little guests who do not eat gelatine.
I thought about making a papier mâché piñata but ended up filling a paper lantern with sweets. It was torn quickly and served its purpose.
It is not something we do in France and I love putting together the little bags our guests take home. I never put birthday cake in the bags as we always eat it all together at the party. Our party bags contained a small bar of dairy-free chocolate, Goody Good Stuff sweets, bubbles, a pumpkin straw, a balloon, a small toy and a loom band bracelet made by my mum.