October 11, 2013

Dear Frannie Friday--How to Prep for a Kids Halloween Party

 In addition to what seems like ten thousand projects going on, there is the much anticipated annual Kids Halloween Party to get ready for.  We've done this every year for about four years now and it is the kids' favorite time of the year.  But it doesn't go without some trial and error.  Here are some of my tips to follow if you find yourself wanted to make this a tradition:

1.  Keep it Simple

Three, maybe four games tops.  Try not to overwhelm the kids.  Trust me.  They are happy just to be there, in costumes, with their friends for the most part.  No need to overdo it with every Halloween craft, game and activity known to man.

 2.  Make sure you have plenty of adults to help 

Not just set up, but also chaperon.  We let our three kids invite 8-10 kids each (usually about 1/3 of them actually show up and about 1% actually RSVP).  And we have our nieces, nephews and friends' kids.  That's a lot of damn kids.  You will need this help, trust me, when it comes to organizing games, helping with crafts, and just keeping the general chaos to a minimum.  I think that for every 6-7 kids, plan to have an adult.  Because even if they aren't helping with areas you think they would, someone's gonna need a drink, someone's gonna need help with the bathroom and someone's gonna need a bandaid at some point.  And usually that point will be while you're trying to explain how to play a game, make a craft or supervise the other kids.

 3.  Have alternatives

Since our kids range from ages 6-12, there are some things that not everyone will be interested in doing.  We have it down pretty well (we've found nearly all ages like bobbing for apples, scavenger hunts around the neighborhood--supervised, of course and the toilet paper mummy game), but there's always some kids that just aren't into it.  For example, a lot of my daughter's friends are not interested in bobbing for apples because they come in full make-up for their costume or they don't want to get their hair wet.  So we always have a random table of general crafts for the kids that want to sit a game or activity out.

 4.  Make it short

Sure, you are going to have a lot going on and a lot of kids to do it, but consider this: most kids get bored of even the funnest activity very quickly.  And most of the games are timed events.  The first year I did this, I had the party last 5 hours.  That was waaaaaaay too long.  We got done with everything in about three hours and were left with a house of screaming, sugar hyped children.  Realistically, you want to allow about 20 minutes for most games--even if you have a lot of kids.  And of course, about 20 minutes at the start and end of the party for kids who come late or get picked up early.  I've found 3 hours is always plenty.

 5.  Timing and treats

I like to have our parties after lunch and well before dinner.  This means that the kids are fed, napped and generally in good moods when they arrive.  It also makes snacks a lot less of a priority and way lower maintenance.  Sure, set out some fruit or popcorn, but generally you won't need much more than that.  Don't go crazy with it.  And, take it from me, if you're going to hand out candy or anything high in sugar, do so with a goody bag at the end of the party.  That way it is at their parent's discretion to give it to them and you don't have to deal with a million tiny wrappers and dozens of kids bouncing off the wall.

Pink Sequined Tank-thrifted c/o Goodwill Swap; Skinny Dusty Rose Cords-J. Crew, thrifted; White Blazer-Ann Taylor, thrifted; Tennies-Keds, thrifted; Earrings-gifted; Sunnies-Target

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