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.
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 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!