When our two oldest kids were two and brand new, we decided that our family was not going to celebrate Halloween. I will be writing a separate post on our reasons for this next year, but that left us with wanting to replace it with something fun for our kids. We decided we should have an annual costume party. My poor husband isn’t into big parties, but he always goes along with my craziness and I couldn’t do it without him.
We have a whole trunk full of costume stuff that the kids are forever dressing up in so it’s pretty easy to decide what to wear each year. The boys were Daniel Boone and Squanto and Sophia was Mary from Little House on the Prairie. Olivia was going to be a peacock princess but her mommy got so busy with the party, that she never got her costume on. Oh well…
This is my nephew; isn’t he yummy? He’s a character from the movie “UP”.
We invite family and friends and open it up to the kids at our church. We usually have around 100 people at the party and the people make it so much fun. Without them, there would be no party. The three older kids help each year by helping us clean the house, doing yard work outside, and setting up these tables and chairs. A few friends often come before the party to help with any last minute details; we are so thankful for their help.
To decorate the tables, I try to keep it easy and simple. I bought fabric a few years ago and made three runners. Each year after the party, I wash them and iron them and roll them up so they are ready for next year. I use pyracantha to hold down the runners and add pops of fall color. These orange berries grow really well in our area. I then add lanterns with candles, pine-cones or pumpkins and little votives.
We had some birch stumps dropped off at our house so we made birch vases and candle holders. Sophia was in charge of the flower bouquets and did a fabulous job. We used these to decorate the food and desert tables. They didn’t take up much room but added a little texture and color. It’s a potluck party and the variety of food is so yummy.
The last few years I have added a caramel apple bar. It’s messy but so yummy and fun. I found the recipe for the homemade caramel here.
I’ve learned to just throw out the burlap fabric that is covered in caramel and chocolate. It makes the clean-up much easier.
One of the events is a hayride. Before we had the tractor, my husband would hook up the trailer to the riding lawn mower. The kids love it and I think my introverted husband does as well. He gets to be alone, put his ear muffs on and drive his tractor.
Another event, is riding a horse. One of my husband’s students comes with her horse every year and walks in a circle for two hours giving ride after ride after ride; bless her heart. The horse is the hit of the party.
We usually play the donuts on the string game, but I was too tired to get it out and the kids were having so much fun playing in the treehouse and on the tire swing and slide, so I let it go this year.
Eventually when the kids get a little older, we’ll add pumpkin carving.
The weather was actually fallish and chilly; perfect for our party. We had a fire in the firepit and I made sure my wool plaid blankets were available to use if anyone was too cold.
We had such a great time. And best of all, my kids have never missed celebrating Halloween because of it.