You may remember how I complained awhile back about the extravagance and expense of kids’ birthday parties nowadays. With young kids especially, you’re hosting parents as well and space can be a premium. We are fortunate enough to have a home that is conducive to entertaining. With a large kitchen and even larger living room, we can host big groups of people without feeling too cramped. This year, we decided to host Bug’s fourth birthday party at home. We decided on a Halloween birthday, since his special day is so close to the end of October.
We made graham-cracker gingerbread houses and had each parent-child pair decorate their house with frosting and a variety of candies. I warned parents in advance, in part so they could make arrangements for younger siblings (either by bringing another parent or by finding someone to watch them).
It was fun channeling my inner Martha Stewart by making some Hallowen birthday themed snacks and cute goodie bag gift tags. I rarely have time to work on my crafts any more, so this was a nice treat for me as well. Here are some of my favorite aspects of the party:
Halloween Birthday Goodie Bags
Since we weren’t paying an arm and a leg to rent a location, I was able to spend a bit more on the goodie bags and was happy with the final result. I picked up reusable trick-or-treat bags for a dollar each from the supermarket and filled them with coloring books, color-your-own puzzles, a few pieces of candy, temporary tattoos and a matchbox car. I was happy with the mix and the lack of “junk.” Also, I used my Cricut Expressions with the Paper Dolls Dress Up Cartridge to make the adorable tags for each bag. They look like I slaved over them, but they couldn’t have been easier.
I made chocolate cupcake with “ghostly marshmallows,” veggies that included ants on a log (cream cheese instead of peanut butter), little witches hats (chocolate cookies w/a Hershey Kiss on top) and a pumpkin spice cake in the shape of a pumpkin a la Martha Stewart and my pumpkin cake mold. The food looked adorable and the pumpkin cake was fantastic. Mmm.
Graham Cracker Halloween Gingerbread Houses
We bought orange juice in cartons, poured the juice into a pitcher and washed the cartons thoroughly. I covered heavy paper plates with foil and we hot-glue-gunned the cartons onto the plates. A friend of mind kindly covered the cartons with the graham crackers using more hot glue. We then took store-bought vanilla frosting and put it in large zip lock bags. We snipped the corner off each bag and used them to ice the houses. As a tip, if you’re going to use the frosting to adhere the graham crackers to the cartons, you’ll want to use royal icing or at least add some cream of tartar to the frosting to make it stiffer. Also, for fine detailed icing, cut off as little as possible from the bag. With little kids, it doesn’t matter so much, since the parents really just slathered the houses with icing! Each parent-child team had a bowl to fill with candy for decorating. The kids ended up eating more than they put on the houses, but I think we all had fun!