I remember how it felt to be so excited as a child, and I was SO happy that I could give her an experience she won't forget.
Not wanting to trap our friends into being invited to every birthday party, every year....the perfect solution was a Halloween party, no gifts, no pressure, fun for everyone and I am telling you, I've never had more fun!
Buffet and Drink Stations
-Decor elements: Orange string lights woven around the serving plates; Acorns make a wonderful filler in containers of various heights. I also accented with brass bells
-I had a separate Pirate themed bar outdoors for the adults. I found fabulous, containers at Michaels that held three dozen bottles/cans apiece. I used a witches cauldron to keep wine chilled, old bottles that I found after flood on a river bank, black crows and skulls, perched on the wood slices I mentioned earlier. I tethered a pirate flag along the front of the bar to set the tone.
-For a festive tone, I chose to spoil them with brightly colored Kool-Aid, which I served in two gallon drink servers. I used wood slices as drink stands and to add dimension for each of the serving plates.
-Toddler cups with lids and a sharpie so parents could label them (which I got great feedback on and will do from now on! )
-Halloween themed mini-bottles of water
-5 boxes of mac and cheese which exactly fit in a standard slow cooker which I kept on warm. I added extra water to the bottom (1/4 cup) to help avoid dehydration as I made the food around noon for a 4pm party.
-I ordered clear plastic bags which I first drew jack-o-lantern faces on with a thick Sharpie, allowed to dry, filled with small portions of popcorn, cheese snacks, etc. and tied with bright ribbon.
-I took a shortcut and purchased ready made mini pies (they look so cute, I've done it once before) and used the ready bake Halloween cookies.
-Indivual apple sauce packets flew off the plate!
-Jack-o-lantern faces on clementine oranges, Ghost faces on string cheese.
We wanted to keep it simple and fun, so here are some ideas if you too are planning a party with many smaller children/toddlers:
-Monster Bowling: Get instructions here!
-Ring Toss: Candy Corn themed, click for a tutorial-
-Spider Race: Creepy Crawly fun, click here for more!
-Sensory Bags: For the babies! Here's how-
-Bobbing for Apples: Classic, charming, the epitome of Halloween! Click for more~
-Photo Frames: Click here for Glow in the Dark fun!
-Pumpkin Patch: We have a large organic garden so I thought it would be adorable to convert it into a 'Pumpkin Patch' and have the children find a pumpkin! I purchased foam pumpkins from Michaels so that the children could decorate them and they would last. I also thought parents would get a kick out of them each year as they decorated their house. Also a huge hit, I had a painting station set up with our babysitter who helped clean hands and direct the flow of traffic. We had stickers, sequins, glitter, paint and markers.
-Bounce House: we own a normal bounce house so we just relied on parents to watch their own children and ensure it was not too crowded
-Bracelet Station: I purchased a large bag of pony beads, and used pipe cleaners for the children to string the beads on and make a 'bracelet.' Great for sharpening dexterity!
-Mask Station: I purchased thin wooden masks with outlined characters on them (pirate, squid, princess etc.) and magic markers, so they could color in and pretend with them.