How to throw a really good Halloween party!

My original title for the post was How to Throw the Perfect Halloween Party! And then I thought, "Too magazine-y. Why don't I just include How to Lose 10 lbs. Eating Halloween Candy Sprinkled with Stevia while I'm at it?" And while I'm a competant, fairly confident Halloween hostess, perfect may be stretching my party cred too thin. Hey - Can I lost weight if I stretch my cred?

Ok, back to my point: I have now hosted 7 of these shindigs, and I have some ideas for a really pretty good Halloween party for kids. How's that?

We started hosting Halloween parties when Older Son entered Kindergarten. Suddenly he was making friends with kids I didn't know. "Who are these people? We know nothing about them." I fretted to my husband. And so it was decided that a party was the perfect vetting/I mean, Getting-To-Know these families opportunity. Do you know what makes for an awesome pretty good party??? I'm going to tell you:

Rule #1 for a Really Good Party

A margarita machine and a bouncy house. Anything after that is just bonus.

My husband grilled a huge slab of meat. The invitation asked all the little boys and ghouls to bring a side dish or a dessert, so BOOm, food done. Don't worry about asking people to bring food to a party or a dinner. I used to try to do it all myself, but that is the Way of Stress and Tears, and most people, decent God-fearing folk, like to help.

In addition to the bouncy house, we had some games for the kids to play. One of them was Pumpkin Bowling, but, honestly, that sounds cuter than it was, because someone has to keep setting up those soda bottles. And we played Hot Pumpkin (like Hot Potato), but kids got whiny when they were out. But the big hit was Bobbing for Apples! The children adored it - they had never done it before, and they got wet, so we play that game every year.

We hosted the party this way for 5 years, and it became this wonderful tradition. But when Younger Son started school, I started thinking about how to do this a little differently. For one thing, we always hosted at night, so the dark was kind of a problem - we just couldn't get enough light to shine on our yard. And while margaritas certainly free up people's personalities, they also make people stay at your home really late.

So, here's how I'm throwing the Halloween party now:

Rule #2 for a Really Good party

A Breakfast Party! My friend, Melissa, came up with this idea because she is just so smart and uber-efficient. We call it a Boo Breakfast. See, guests come over around 10:00 in the morning. You've gotten up at a fairly civilized hour and purchased bagels, donut holes and a coffee suitcase. While you were out running these errands, your husband and children were setting up folding tables in the front yard. Add the tablecloths from the Dollar Store, bring out the milk and OJ and Champagne (I swear, we don't drink all the time, but grownup guests really enjoy that Champagne touch), and voila! Party! Plus, it's over by noon. Clean up takes 30 minutes, and now you have the whole rest of your Saturday to enjoy.

The Breakfast party is now my party hosting jam. A month ago, I hosted a party for Noonday Collection, and I followed this same format (except for playing games; the game was shopping for Fair Trade jewelry), and it was breezy delightful.

For this year's Halloween Breakfast Extravaganza, we played Wrap the Mummy with toilet paper, which seemed to go over well. We played a British game called Pass the Parcel, which is kind of like a Positive Hot Potato because when the music stops, the child gets to unwrap a layer of the parcel and get a prize. And of course, Apple Bobbing.

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