Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Halloween party prep

We have been planning our annual Halloween Kids party for weeks now (okay, I have been planning).  But the kids have been helping and putting their own spin on things too.  Since Ashlynn's birthday is close to Halloween, we are combining the party this year so we can celebrate her turning one.  I imagine we'll be throwing a Halloween Birthday party for Ashlynn for many years to come.  If I'm lucky, that is.

I adore Halloween and with every passing year as the girls get older, we are having more and more fun decorating for Halloween and getting into the spooky spirit of the holiday. It's truly an American holiday and I personally think it's a kids holiday more than anything else. I really loved being a teensie bit afraid as a kid during this time of year and passing it on to my kids is fun.  Plus the candy! Adelaide and Arabella are enjoying the spiders and pumpkins.  Addie's drawing elaborate Halloween scenes complete with ghosts, witches and bats.  We're watching The Nightmare Before Christmas and listening to old Disney Halloween songs.  It's loads of fun.

This entire week is devoted to party planning.  My baking business has helped me become more organized so the party planning is going much more efficiently this time around.  I have lists of what needs to get accomplished  (cooking and decorating) every day.  So far I am on track.  I'm also choosing a menu that can be prepared partially in advance so I can make some things days before hand and only a few things the day of the party.

I know that the idea of planning and executing a big first birthday party for 40 or so people sounds like a nightmare to some people but for me, this is where I shine.  I love the planning and preparations just as much as I love the day of the party and celebrating with my family.  I love setting a menu and sorting through the desserts (clearly my favorite part).  I love being creative with decorating.  Making everything look spectacular is always a personal challenge of mine.  The week before the party is the fun part for me.  I devote myself to getting it right and I love incorporating my children in the fun.  They love to be involved and help.
Want to see how we've decorated for the party?

Cheesecloth ghosts.  Have you made these before?  The girls and I first made some the last Halloween in the Philippines.  They didn't make the cut for our HHE so we made some new ones this week.  They are so much fun and kid friendly.  All you need is balloons, tape, vases, coat hangers, Argo laundry starch (or corn starch), and cheesecloth.  Addie added the cut out spooky eyes and mouths.  The ghosts that weren't starchy enough to stand on their own, are hanging from the archway to the kitchen.  My favorite part is getting my hands all gooey with the starch.
Spooky art work.  We covered all our framed art on the walls with black construction paper and then added spooky silhouettes in white.  Addie's ghosts are my favorite.  The entire family worked on the haunted house.  Dad drew the backbones of the house and then Addie and I drew in the spooky monsters and such.
Mice.  This craft is for adults.  It takes a bit of time to trace out the mice, first onto card board and then onto the black paper.  My poor hands were arthritic after all the cutting.  The girls had fun helping me tape them all over the house as if our home was infested with creepy mice!  I added the mouse holes for fun.  Ashlynn's already picked some of the mice from the walls so that means I'll be cutting out a few replacements the night before the party!

Spooky branches.  I've been waiting to do this Halloween craft for years.  There were no sticks in the Philippines unless I wanted black palm branches in the house and that just didn't feel right.  This year I sent my gardener out in the neighborhood in search of yard debris piles we could scrounge gnarly branches from to spray paint black.  In an hour he had my thorny branches for the light fixtures and some great branches for the table arrangements.  Two cans of black spray paint cost me $15 here in Addis Ababa but I figured it was one of my only expenses when it came to decorating.  It was worth it because they look so amazing.  I arranged some in the vases (I used Ethiopian orange lentils at the bottom of my vase) on the buffet and one large branch in a floor vase.  The thorny ones were hung with floral wire from the light fixtures.  They look really spooky and awesome!
Pipe cleaner spiders.  My parents sent a great big box of Halloween supplies which included some Styrofoam pumpkins, candy, and goody bags. It was so much fun to receive!  They also sent black pipe cleaners which I sat last night and twisted into creepy crawly spiders.  It's not as hard as it looks.  I simply cut four pipe cleaners in half for the eight legs and twisted another pipe cleaner around the middle of them and then created a bulbous knot of pipe cleaner on the back end for a "realistic" looking arachnid.  I bent the legs and tied black thread around the body to hang a few from the branches.  The girls went gaga over these!
Black bats.  Template at Martha Stewart's website (same for the mice).  Another grown up task.  Just trace out the bats, cut, fold, thread and hang.  
Do you decorate for Halloween? I'm having a lot of fun with it here in Ethiopia because architecturally  our home is great for decorating! Do you have a costume?  I don't and I really wish I did this year! 


Danielle said...

the house looks amazing!! I think the branches and the orange lentils are my favorite! Such a cool elegant, Apartment Therapy-goes-to-Ethiopia touch! Halloween is my favorite too and I can't wait until Will is old enough to appreciate it. When we were growing up my parents made us a "haunted doll house" basically they took a regular doll house kit but painted it in moody blues, grays and blacks, broke the windows, bent the shutters, put in old-fashioned creepy wallpaper and glued it to a giant piece of plywood and put all sorts of spooky trees and a pumpkin patch on it. Every year they added fun little details like a mini tray of Halloween cookies or new candlesticks and that month around Halloween that we got to play with that house was the best out of the entire year! :) I hear you on the prep fo ra big party being just as much fun as the actual day. I love when I can get so much done ahead of time that, on the day of, all that's left to do is make a salad, pull a few things out of the oven, and enjoy the party. Soo much nicer than stressing in the kitchen with guests over!

Danielle said...

Just found these on How About Orange Too late for this year but maybe for next year! :)

Sara said...

A haunted doll house sounds spectacular. That must have been a lot of work to put together.

The paper dolls are adorable! Definitely next year.

Emily said...

That looks spooktacular! I absolutely love all of the Halloween decor, it looks perfect. the best part is you were able to get the kids to help, so they feel a part of it!