BY LIBBY TUCKER SEP 2011
How to Make HALLOWEEN a Fabulous Fall Festivity
IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN WHEN THE AIR BEGINS to feel crisp and candy starts to fill the shelves. The season’s change brings together homecomings and bonfires, jackets, and parties. Children everywhere look forward to the one night where all their desires of endless sugary treats will come to pass. But for the moms and dads, Halloween can be a chore. Finding the perfect costume and planning the best party in the neighborhood takes energy, but it doesn’t have to break the bank.
What you already have in your garage, attic, or front yard can be easily transformed into all you need for a spooky night for the kids. Hailing from nearby Butler, Designer Corey McCants has a plethora of ideas ranging from simple décor to the menu. His philosophy is simple: use what you already have.
Decorations – “Don’t forget what you have right outside your door.” Says McCants. “Everything from tree branches to orange colored berries can be used to make an ordinary fall gathering spectacular and budget friendly”. You can take any glass vase in your home and use it as a centerpiece. Collect broken tree branches about a foot in length. Simply use black spray paint to coat. Once dry, place a bag of candy corn and the twigs in the vase, and you’ve merely spent change. Give the centerpiece even more flair by tucking different size bat silhouettes into the branches.
Favors – You also want to create an event that the children will remember. Setting up a photo booth for the kids to get their picture taken is a simple and fun idea that the little ones will love! “You can use twine and fun colored Halloween ribbon for the background or a family quilt as a backdrop with hay bales and pumpkins. “If you have kept old Halloween costumes from the past, use them as well. “Also use a chest and fill it with old or homemade costumes and encourage the children to dress up for the picture”. Says McCants. You can either print the photos on your home printer or send them later as a thank you for coming to the party!
Food – When coming up with what snacks you are going to serve, think outside the box. “When selecting the menu for a children’s party, it is always exciting to think of hands on activities to get the children involved. By setting up interactive stations, kids have the opportunity to create their own snacks while having fun and expressing themselves in the kitchen.” Try apples, melted chocolate, and a variety of candies to give a new take on the candied apple. McCants also adds that “One of the most important things to remember when planning a children’s party is that the kids should be involved in every part of the process. This serves as a way of letting their creativity flow.” “Something as simple as your grandmother’s favorite punch can become the perfect witches’ brew. Give all the food fun and festive fall names.”
Games – Coming up with games to engage the kids can be a challenge. “Games are always a staple at any children’s party. It is fun to revamp traditional party games to give them a Halloween twist.” You can use pumpkins and gourds set up like bowling pins and knitting rings to toss. Or have two pumpkins set on a starting line and see who can reach the finish line first. Have a black cat treasure hunt by writing clues on black cats with white ink and hiding them in appropriate places, depending on the ages of players. Give an oral clue to the first hidden cat, and in turn that cat will give clues for the next, etc. Have a pot of Haloween candy at the last clue for the winners to divide and take home. The traditional Apple Bob is always a winner. Have a tub large enough for two heads. Fill with water to cover the apples. Contestants must dunk their head and come up with an apple. Ponchos, elastic bands for the hair and towels are welcome supplies.
How Many Guests? – Remember to match the number of guests to the age of your child and encourage the adults to participate. McCants is also a fan of having your event outdoors. “When planning an outdoor event, the sky is the limit . . . literally! Think big and give the party your own flair. Try hanging pumpkin-faced milk jugs with candles inside from the tree branches to give the night a warm and inviting, yet eerie, glow. Use brown paper bags with some sand and a votive to create a boundary for party area when it’s gets dark.” Children’s safety is always important.
McCants encourages parents to stick with what they love and what they do best. Don’t forget to keep it simple and enjoyable for all involved. In the end, you’ve provided a memorable, budget-friendly Halloween party that can be tailored for children of all ages. #