Who doesn’t love Charlie Brown’s Halloween Party? When I think of little children and Halloween that’s the image I see! In 2003, I decided to have a party for my two young grandchildren (2 & 3) and their friends. Taking my inspiration from Charlie Brown, I planned our first Halloween party. So began our annual Pumpkin Patch Party.
Ten years later we still are hosting our party. The first year, we had around 40 people. Last year we had close to 100. We include children and their parents. We invited parents with their children for a couple of reason. Mainly, they were so young they needed help with the games and secondly, it just was so much fun to have something the whole family would enjoy.
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting details of our Pumpkin Patch Party, giving you plenty of time to plan and host your own party this year.
First: Go ahead and make out your guest list. Mine came from their pre-school and Sunday school classmates, along with neighbors. It’s good to put an age limit on the party. Mine was for little children. 0-4 but older siblings were included up to age 6-7. Each year the age limit changed to accommodate my growing children’s ages. And that worked fine until the children reached 10, then, the boys in particular, got too rough to play with toddlers. So a couple of years ago, the older children and several of their best friends were put in charge of running the games for the little ones. They still are a big part of the party and that suits them just fine.
Each year I write a poem for the invitation and print it out on Halloween stationery. I’ve found them at Office Max and card shops. I have even made my own using clip art. Since my party is called the Pumpkin Patch Party, my invitations almost always have pumpkins on them. One year I found paper with the cutest little Halloween parade with little children in the costumes along the bottom. It was adorable. Some years the best I can do is paper with a Fall leaf border. You might do a search online to find some ideas for invitation wording. Orange envelopes are a must!!!
1. Have your invitations ready to be mailed by the first week in October. Check important football games…the Georgia/Florida game is always the last Saturday in October…so to remedy that I set up a big TV outside for the dads…Some years I have had the party a different weekend and that works fine, too…invitations should be sent 2-3 weeks in advance.
2. Decide if you are going to cook it all yourself…or ask each family to contribute with a Halloween Treat and/or covered dish for the adults. The first few years, I did it all myself. I baked and froze all month long. I suggest you let people help. They want to help, so let them! I usually provide hot dogs for the children with chips and drinks. Include on your invitation what you need each family to bring. I always ask for a bag of candy so I’ll have plenty for all the games stations and … Either a treat or covered dish for supper. And tell the children to wear their costumes, (nothing scary).
Over the next few weeks I will share the pumpkin recipes I make for my party. Most of them, I make ahead and freeze.
3. Decide on the games to be played. Suggestions: Pumpkin Patch Party Games:
a) Go Fishin in the Pumpkin Patch ~I painted a large piece of plywood with Pumpkins and vines all over it and propped it up to use for Go-Fishing in the Pumpkin Patch! I cut cane poles and tied yarn and clothespins on the end for the candy to be attached to.
b) Bean Bag Toss ~ I cut out the shape of a large pumpkin with mouth cut out, on a half sheet plywood and painted it orange for a beanbag throw I put about 1/2 cup of rice inside a pair of halloween socks and tied it off for the bags the throw.
c) Bowling ~Spray paint 2 liter coke bottles bright orange, fill with a cup of sand each and get a small ball for bowling.
d) Ring Toss ~Get smaller coke bottles fill with some sand and get ring tops off canning jars for a ring toss game.
e) Face Painting ~ recruit a teenager
f) Photo Booth ~ plan a photo shoot with pumpkins and marigolds and print out to give to each child after party is over
g) Pumpkin Painting ~Have a pumpkin painting booth with tiny pumpkins to paint and take home
h) Story Telling Booth ~Have a story telling booth with (NOT scary) stories about pumpkins, etc… I used a pop up tent and put curtains around sides with orange lights inside for dramatic look. I had my husband read to them.
i) Big Slides ~I have rented slides as the children got older, but last year didn’t and they all had just as good a time. I think this is where the older kids got too rough…
j. Fingernail painting booth
k) Plan a parade with the children in costume and be sure you come up with a winning category for each child there…THEY ALL WIN SOMETHING!
l) We always end the party with a showing of Charlie Brown’s “The Great Pumpkin” The party begins at 6 and ends at 8. Show time begins at 7:30. Popcorn and drinks are passed out by moms. The kids LOVE it!
I have children and parents come up to me all year saying how much they loved the party and hope we’re having it again this year….I think that’s the best indication of success…And they love that it’s something the whole family can enjoy together!
So are you planning a Pumpkin Patch Party this year? Stay tuned for more details.