My son has several groups of friends that he wanted to celebrate his birthday with when he turned 9. Not that they wouldn’t get a long but they were small groups and he really wanted to share his special day with them. In comes the mom who can’t say “no.” Luckily we live next door to an empty lot and one of the small groups was comprised of some very special neighbors. So, we just decided to get together, spend some time outside and have a silly string fight!
There was nothing easier! I simply went to the dollar store and purchased several cans of silly string. Now let me say…..I don’t know if there are varying qualities of silly string, but these cans don’t last long at all. And I mean a few squirts and it’s DONE! Make sure you have multiple cans for each combatant.
Preparation for the “fight” was really very easy. After procuring the silly string and several roles of duck tape from the dollar store, I went next door and purchased coordinating bandanas so that the kids would know what team they were on. Not sure that it mattered that they had teams but it fostered working together when they were constructing their armor and discussing strategies.
For almost an hour before the fight, I let them go with recycled cardboard and duck tape to construct their armor. We have so many stores close to us that receive shipments of boxes, none of them minded sharing some before it hit the recycle bin. I really didn’t want to be saving boxes for months. Getting it free from the stores was great and I could do it the week of the party no problem.
It was funny watching the kids decide on what was important to have. Some made full body armor. Others made huge shields. I really didn’t care. They were using their creativity and there is nothing that goes better together than kids and a cardboard box. We did have to help a bit with the exact knife if things needed to be cut down but that was minimal and it left a lot of time for the adults to enjoy some chat time.
After everything was constructed, it was off to the races. We provided some work glasses just as a safety precaution. One team started on one side of the yard and the other team to the opposite side. Once the fight started it was over in a jiffy. But as long as you set some ground rules like no spraying in the face, no personal contact and those basic good sportsman rules, the fight should go off without a hitch!
Halloween Trick or Treat Bag
Because I knew that we were going trick or treating during my daughter’s birthday party, I wanted to have some special treat bags for them to carry. I didn’t want just plastic or paper bags…..although now that I’m thinking about it…..it would be just as fun for the kids to decorate paper sacks to use as their treat bags. And less work for you. But who wants less work? Ha! I seem to make things more complicated that they can be…..says my husband. It’s simply that I like things to be just so.
So! We wanted treat bags for the party. After looking online, I couldn’t find at the time a plain treat bag that I liked or that was the right size. Thus, I made them. A bunch of them.
Halloween Trick or Treat Bag Supplies
Supplies you’ll need are shown here. The bag…..if you can find it, certainly purchase them. Or make them and I explain how I made mine below. Having a smattering of randomly size and shape pieces pre-cut was helpful as all the kids had to do was to apply the faces to the bags with a fabric glue that I had poured out in a plate for all to share.
I turned this into a project to give the kids something to do as all the kids were arriving. This party was in our home and our living room turned into party central. And we had a tent. First stop was the living room where the kids made their own party bags. I had 3 tables set out with chairs and disposable table cloths that could be whipped up and thrown away for phase two of the party.
Halloween Treat Bag Step 1
I’m sure there are 20 ways you could make this treat bag. This is only 1 way. I didn’t do a very good job of photographing each step. You’ll need to read the steps here and just use the images as overall reference. Felt was the easiest fabric to use as it holds it’s shape pretty well and you don’t have to sew under raw edges!!! For the handles I cut 2 strips 10″ long x 1″ wide for each bag. To give it a bit of a finished look, you can sew the two edges together longways leaving an 1″ or so on either end to connect to the bag. To me it make it look more like a “bag handle.”
Halloween Treat Bag Step 2
For the bag itself you’ll need (2) pieces of felt 10″ x 8″ wide and (2) pieces 10″ x 4″ wide. May I repeat that there are many ways of skinning this cat and this is just my own twisted way of making these. My biggest goal is that I wanted to be boxy and I wanted to top stitch the edges. OK. First step is to make a box of sorts. The two wider pieces of felt are the front and back. The two smaller pieces are the sides. Start seaming or top-stitching a front to the side and then that side to the back. Seam that back to the second side and then complete the box by seaming the other side to the front panel. Now you have made a “box that could stand up but has no bottom yet. I started using a fancy stitch but it was taking too long and ended up just doing a top stitching seam.
Making Halloween Trick or Treat Bags
Turn this “box” inside out and then fold the “box” flat matching the side seams. At this point the side panels will be folded in half and the front and back should be against each other. Seam across the bottom about 1/2″.
Now you’ll want to make your corners. With the “box” still inside out, pull the bottom corners out to seam. Look at the “step 1″ photo above to see how the corner should be pulled out and seam a triangle and cut off extra. If this is confusing to anyone, let me know and I’ll try and explain better.
Turn right side out, attach the handles either by hand or seaming on your sewing machine. And you are done! Well, until the party. At the party, let the kids use the cut black felt pieces to use their imagination in creating their own pumpkin face!
Trick or Treating at Neighbors
I don’t know about your kids but mine LOVE, LOVE to go trick or treating. They look forward to it all year long. I even think that neighbors love the evening almost as much as the kids. With all the decorations and the candy and treat bags that are prepared ahead of time, who wouldn’t get into the spirit?
Since this party was in December, I thought it would be such a fun treat to be able to go trick or treating again! I have to say that I didn’t come up with this idea on my own! A friend from church was telling me about a party that she had for her child years ago and they went trick or treating……and thought, what a fabulous idea.
Halloween Party Trick or Treat Favor Bags
Very important tip. Give your neighbors a heads up, ha! We went to two house and went all as a great….yes, about 20/30 kids at your door wanting treats all at once. This is not a job for the shy or reclusive neighbor. It’s for those kid friendly neighbors who love to party as well. Luckily, we had two right next door.
I offered to provide the treats for them to give out. One took me up on it as they had just had a baby. The other wouldn’t hear of it. She put together little bags with a treat and some pencils and goodies for the kids to have.
Halloween Trick or Treat Bags
The treat bags I provided for my new mother neighbor, were simple. So the kids wouldn’t be too sugared up for their parents, I bought a jumbo bag of yogurt covered pretzels. I found some clear cellophane bags at JoAnn’s or the like and put 5 or 6 pretzels in each. With a letter punch, I punched out words like “boo”, “ghost” and “spooky” and glued them to the bags. This was tricky to find a glue that would stick to the plastic and not allow the letters to pop off easily. Be aware of that! I think it was Michaels, but there are so many great scrap-booking stores now who have great Halloween papers, where I got this black paper that had spiderwebs all throughout. It worked perfect for the letters. If you do select a paper with a pattern, make sure that the pattern is small. Closed them off with a Halloween sticker of any kind and placed on a tray ready for them to be given away.
It really doesn’t matter what the kids get when they are like 9 and under. It’s the thrill of the hunt! It’s an activity that took up about 15/30 minutes of the party time and the kids were talking about how fun it was a year later at the next party!
Halloween Party Entertainment
Having a magician at ANY birthday party is great. They generally come to you house, set up their own equipment, take it all down and are out of there before the kids have even finished their cake! Magic right? These guys have it down.
Every town has great magicians and ones that specialize on coming to schools and performing at birthday parties. See if other friends have used one before or seen one at a party and go for it. Some are certainly better than others. And it totally depends on how they deal with cranky kids. All the kids at my daughter’s party were all in. They were all 5 and 6 years old. Didn’t question how he did the tricks……just went with it.
BUT, I went to another kids birthday party where the kids were making rude comments to the magician and saying they knew how he did certain tricks. I have to say that that guy may have been great under other circumstances, but he didn’t deal with the, I call them cranky, kids very well. But even though the parents noticed it. The kids still had a blast. There is nothing more endearing that listing to children laughing!
This guy was a good one and we were thrilled that we spent the money for him to come. He involved the birthday girl and had all the kids play a part. I thought this would be a fun thing to do for a Halloween birthday party, but I have seen magicians at Princess parties, magician parties and others. And they can easily take up 30 to 45 min of the time you need to entertain the kids. It is totally worth it. Consider a magician for your next birthday party……hey even an adult party could be spruced up by one of these guys!
Pin a Face on the Pumpkin
By cutting out various shape and size eyes, noses and mouths, kids can make their own scary pumpkin that is fun for any age since there is no cutting involved.
We played this game for a Halloween party at our home. This could easily be done during a birthday party or just a regular Halloween party. And it can be adapted for anything. You could do a ghost, scary face, pin the wart on the witch….lots of things come to mind. We liked the pumpkin as we bought small pumpkins for each of the kids to take home.
Simply have an assortment of the eyes, noses and mouths cut out and ready to go. We use small stick pins that would easily go into the pumpkin but would hurt too much if the kids got stuck elsewhere..:( With an orange blind fold and a little dizzy turn for the older kids or just walking the younger ones close to the pumpkin, they are ready to go.
It’s always amazing to me how kids love to be blindfolded to play an activity. Even if it’s not pin the face on the pumpkin finding an activity that includes a blindfold will insure the game is successful!
Pirate Scavenger Hunt Party Game
Pirate Birthday Parties lend themselves to lots of creative ideas. And it’s a theme that is liked by young and old. This Pirate party that we went to, there were several different short activities which kept the kids on their toes. Actually, it was in the back of a pirate store in Portland, OR and one of their staff ran the party. What a great marketing idea for the store.
The name of the store was Captain Henry’s Pirate Store in the Lloyd Center mall. They had a table set up in the back where you could bring in cake and snacks and totally ran the rest of the party.
These were some of the activities that the kids participated in. I’ve talked about a few others in their own posts. The top photo is a pirate scavenger hunt game. The kids had to look around for these little arm bands and when they found them, they had to run over to the sword and place them on the sword. They may have been split up into teams but that isn’t necessary.
There was a time that each kid received their own tatoo. If there is a party built for tatoos it’s a Pirate Party. Let the kids put them on each other….depending on their age.
To be a proper pirate you must learn the salute. The captain had a whistle around her neck and any time throughout the party that she blew it, the kids had to stop and issue their salute and say “Aye Aye Captain.” Love keeping those kids in line. Captain didn’t always do it to get their attention. She did it between games. You might just do it for fun to see who is really paying attention.
Pirate Walk the Plank Game
To end the party, the mates were required to walk the plank. It was meant for them to exit the party and it was time to go and not really a game. Problem was the kids had so much fun “walking the plank” that they went to the back of the line over and over again. The plank was simply a couple of 2 x 4s nailed together. I can see this as a fun way to end all pirate parties!
Honestly, there are not many people children or adults that don’t like to see someone dressed up! I often wonder what it is. Do children and adults like to have one bit of fantasy in this reality world? Do we feel like we too could be a character with them. I don’t know. But no matter if it is a cow or chicken standing on the roadside or someone like this pirate, kids especially are drawn to them.
For one of your birthday parties you should have someone show up in costume. You can either hire a guy like this pirate or talk the favorite uncle into dressing up. You can probably get a deal on the costume if it’s not around Halloween. There are tons of cool ones that go with almost every party theme at the adult costume shops.
What do they do you ask? Well, really they don’t have to do much. They could read a book like you can see in another post we have. Lead the games. Bring a pet bird or other animal that fits within your theme for the kids to pet. Or just hang out like they are attending the party as well. The more they ham it up, the more the kids will like it.
I actually can’t take credit for this one. He was wandering around the theater we had my son’s Pirate Birthday Party trying to talk up a festival. None-the-less he was a big draw to our kids and we spent a lot of time talking to him and his bird.
Every time you are planning a party, you need to have a main event. Whether that event is going to some jumpy house place or the park or to a show!!! In Portland, we have a wonderful Children’s theatre. If you are luck enough to have one in your area. Keep tabs on what they are showing as it could lend a helping hand to planning the perfect party event.
Honestly, I knew that the musical was coming to town and would be showing during my son’s birthday. So, I kind of talked him into a pirate theme thinking that it would be fun to take the kids to the musical from one of their favorite books! Not only did they LOVE the musical but it kept me from having to think of games to play and really didn’t cost more than renting out a venue.
How I became a Pirate is one of my son’s favorite books and they would read it in preschool frequently. Since we were inviting all the kids from his preschool class, we also invited the teacher. Speaking of teachers…..if you have a good relationship with your child’s teacher, inviting them to the party can be a treat for them. They don’t get invited to many and if you are planning a show stopper you should go ahead and invite them. And because they know the kids so well, they end up helping. It’s great!
Anyway, we purchased tickets for all the kids to come to the show. Had the parents drop them off at a certain door so they wouldn’t have to park and gathered all the kids in the lobby. Since we were expecting about 10 kids, we arrived at the theater early and ended up meeting some of the cast, getting a signed poster and my son was able to go “backstage” as you can see in this photo before the musical. What a treat that we did not expect. Businesses and events are generally thankful if you are bringing a group of people and will often show that in kind ways.
So, next time you are planning a party, just look around in the newspaper, on your street and at the businesses and universities close by to help those creative juices flow when planning the main event for your next birthday party.
Many birthday parties could have a scavenger or a treasure hunt. But the activity just lends it’self to pirates and looting.
At my son’s birthday party, we needed a way to get from point A to point B in downtown Portland. You could plan this activity no matter if you are in your own backyard, in the city or even on your block with a couple of houses/neighbors involved.
To prepare for the walk….aka….treasure hunt, I took my kids and we walked it together one afternoon. I plotted out where we might hide the treasure bags that you can see in a different post. I plotted out the number of blocks and how far it was. But MOST importantly for me, I wanted to make sure my kids could walk it while being safe and without getting tired.
The birthday party started at a children’s theater show and ended at a Ben & Jerry’s in downtown Portland. The hunt was a GREAT way to get the kids from one place to another. They were excited to look for treasure and they NEVER whined about it being too far to walk.
If you tried to do this in your backyard, it might be a very quick activity….unless you could actually bury buckets of loot. Which could be super fun. But I can see how a neighborhood/block one would work nicely hiding in and around houses, trash cans, work sheds or other out buildings.
I wanted the map to look more old fashioned. So, I didn’t draw it on my computer to print out. Rather I hand drew it and didn’t even use a ruler. Then I made copies on old paper for the kids to each have.
Since we were having our Pirate’s treasure hunt in a major city, we didn’t trust that folks would leave the loot bags alone. To keep everything safe, my husband went ahead of us a few blocks and would deposit the loot bags at the designated points. Because the kids were 5 it worked. If they were 9 or 10, he would have had to be more inconspicuous.
In the end it was a perfect pirate party activity and the kids loved it.
You know Pinatas are really fun for kids to have at birthday parties. And having a pirate skull head is the best!
I don’t believe the hostess made this one but there is no reason why you couldn’t. It’s been a long time since I’ve personally made a pinata but maybe I’ll endeavor one and give you a run down. But this one looks super simple. Just a balloon and some paper sticking out for the cross bones would be all you need for this pirate paper mache pinata.
Speaking of making the pinata for a pirate party….why not have your kid be involved in making their own pinata for their birthday party. My daughter is in first grade and she just did paper mache in her class and did a great job. It may not look like a professional but if your child is like mine, she love to be involved in the planning process……when I let her……I know that’s terrible.
What ever you decide, kids never tire of smacking something like a pinata with a bat. Might as well be something you don’t mind them tearing up. Fill it full and don’t forget to hold some back for the kids who aren’t as aggressive and don’t get any candy.
Reading "How I Became a Pirate"
Ar….There is nothing better for a birthday party than a little story time activity. Especially during a Pirate Birthday Party that can easily get out of control, a story being read will calm those crazy energy bugs down!
The great thing about this activity during a Pirate party is not only that this type of party can be crazy. But there are some great Pirate books out there that can be read. You can even have the kids participate by repeating the words that the crew does.
My favorites are: How I Became A Pirate and Pirates Don’t Change Diapers. I think you would be hard pressed to not find this author. And if I’m not mistaken, I think there is another coming out. These stories are very fun and a great activity for a Pirate Party!
Pirate Party Captain
Let me hear you say “Arh.” These were common words to hear coming out of this captain’s mouth. At birthday parties, moms and dads are often busying around with the party and all the details that go with it and aren’t enjoying the party itself. Whether it’s a pirate party or another theme altogether, you are going to have the same experience.
Just like you might hire a caterer or servers for a dinner party, hire a party “captain.” This gal was part of a package that the birthday boy’s mom purchased at a local store that sells pirate garb. But even if you are having your party at home, you can still do this. Now, I’m not talking about an entertainer. I’m talking about a person who takes the planning that you have set into motion and carries it out. This leaves you to pay attention to the pirates or to other moms.
A college student would be perfect but really any responsible kid could carry it all out. My daughter “big kid helps” at my son’s preschool. She is only 7 and totally guides the little ones in the activities for the day. I don’t see why she wouldn’t be able to carry out the basic functions of a birthday party if she were allowed to be in charge.
Regardless or not if you have someone else run the party for you or it’s you yourself running the party….don your favorite pirate captain’s costume and it will make the party all that much more fun for the kids. And it helps you get into character as well!
Pirate Party Balloon Maker
We recently went to a Pirate Birthday Party at one of our local malls. The store was a Pirate themed store and in the back they had an area for the kids table and room for activities. What a great idea to generate extra revenue for those guys!!!
Anyway, during party times and peak times, they have a “warm up” guy out front of the store to greet the kids. He makes all kinds of balloons into swords and hats and whatever can be dreamed up. I can see this being a fun addition to the beginning of any birthday party. Really not even just Pirate parties. There are tons of clowns and balloon guys around who could do this to warm kids up and set the tone for the party.
So for the next Pirate or other type of Birthday party, consider just having a balloon maker come to warm the kids up or to be the primary entertainment.
Magic Birthday Party
Magic Show Birthday Parties are becoming very popular. And what’s a magic themed birthday party without a real magician? For the right age kid, it can really be fun for them. This birthday boy is obviously having a great time.
I’ve been to several of these types of parties over the last year or so and really it doesn’t matter much how good your magician is. The kids seem to love all level of talented magician. There was one in particular that the adults didn’t really care for but the kids loved him. Then there have been others that both adults and kids love. The best way to find these guys is just by word of mouth referrals.
Magic Show Birthday Party
As you can tell by the faces of these kids, this magician was a bit hit. I will say that kids get to a certain age and they really try figuring out how the tricks work. You’ll have to base it on your child and their friends. But I think that the perfect age range for a magician is where the kids are from say 4 to 8…..maybe 9. At some point, they start heckling the magician and that’s not fun.
This particular magician was at a birthday party for a 5 year old and his name is Presto from Portland, OR. I’ll just say that the kids loved him.
It really doesn’t matter the age of a child…..you give them a few balls or riding toys or a net and a gym and the kids will figure out something to play! This party was in a neighborhood gym and these parties really end up being the easiest parties that still let you put your own mark on.
Many times when I’m planning a party, I think of all the cool places that are out there that we could have a party at…..you know the places. But when it comes to being able to individualize the party, it’s really tough. Now, I’m sure that’s my own hangup and not one that my children share but it really does make a difference to personalize a party.
When you want to personalize a party it doesn’t mean that you have to plan and schedule every second of the party. Have the party at a location that lends it’self to free play. You can eat up 30 min to an hour with the kids just getting their wiggles out.
Don’t be afraid of the down time and let them make their own fun with free play.
Birthday Pinatas don’t have to be traditional! It is much easier to find a pinata that matches the theme of the party you are having. But if you can find a unique decoration like this one, go for it.
The mom of the birthday girl found this decoration that a local store was about to discard. She took it, filled the center hole with candy and put some plastic in front to secure the candy. This party was for 4 year olds so she knew that her pinata wouldn’t be torn up that much. Even if it was, it didn’t really matter.
So, when thinking of having a birthday party pinata, think outside of the box and don’t feel like you can only use a pre-made pinata. Or even have your kids make one…….who knows.
Birthday Party Music
Setting the mood of your birthday party is just as important as with an evening cocktail party. Besides everyone being incredibly visual, folks are also auditory. I know that I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know! But when you are planning a birthday party, especially for kids, you get all caught up in the minutia of the party and forget about some of the other important details.
Now that Ipods are so popular, providing your own music can not be easier. Really you can’t go wrong with background music. We’ve been to parties where the music is all kids oriented and others where the music is more along what the parents like. And to my surprise, the kids love much of the adult music as well. As long as it’s up beat, the kids will love it.
If anyone is interested in play lists, let me know and I’ll get my husband on it. He’s the one in charge of music in our house! Just let me know.
Outdoor Birthday Party Games for Kids
When it comes to outdoor Birthday Party Games, the old faithful seem to win out over all others. Pretty much any game that can be played inside can be played outside. But not vise versa….. We’ve been to several birthday parties and the best games and activities are the ones I played when I was little! And I’m not even going to begin to tell you how long ago that was.
Outdoor Birthday Party Games
Having a water hose attached to pretty much anything can provide a long span of fun for almost any kid. Especially if it’s hot outside. If you plan to do this, it’s always helpful to give the parents a heads up to bring a bathing suit. But even if they forget, up to a certain age, the kids can just strip down to their skibbies. Why not?
I’ve seen all variations of pin the tail on the ??? You fill in the blank. In our outdoor bug party, they pinned the spots on the lady bug. I had at a winter party, pin the parts on a snowman. Use your imagination here but these can be fun for many ages. I will admit that kids that are about 5 or 6 and up have more fun with this game. The little ones don’t seem to get as much out of it and lose interest pretty quickly.
Outdoor Birthday Games
For older kids, sometimes all you need to do is to carry along a bag full of sports equipment. At this party, they had 3 hula hoops set out. This is a skill that ages 5 or 6 and older have got down but much younger they don’t. And throwing a ball back and forth takes too much effort on a parents part. But for older kids, it’s a great time filler. Our super hero party that we’ve highlighted, had an obstacle course outside. I’ve seen duck duck goose done effectively. Face painting. Don’t let the outdoor party part of it throw you. Let your imagination go free and enjoy being outdoor for your kids’ birthday party!
Making Pizzas at a Sleepover Party
This idea is a great way to kill two birds with one stone! At this Almost Sleepover Birthday Party, the girls got to put the toppings of their choice on their own pizza square. It was a great idea to get the girls involved in the party AND it took up some time which can be a mom’s worst nightmare…….what am I going to do with all these girls for 4 hours…..
You can buy pre-made pizza crust at many grocery stores. Roll it out yourself and place on the baking sheets. Let the kids put on the sauce or it might be easier for the mom to do it. Then have bowls of cheese, pepperoni slices, peppers, mushrooms….anything you think the kids would like. Then one at a time, let them prepare their own slice just the way they like it.
Send them to tear up your daughter’s room and a few minutes later, the pizzas are ready!
Almost Sleepover Craft Table
I don’t care the age, I don’t care the sex, I don’t care what kind of party it is or just gathering for that matter…….having an organized ice breaker at the beginning always starts the party off right. Now, I’m not talking about a silly ice breaker. I’m talking about a planned activity that is ready to go as folks walk in the door. I’ve watched adults and children hesitantly walk into a room when there is a great deal of commotion and it takes them a while to warm up. Then I’ve watched the same kids walk in and immediately sit down to a project with other kids and they are engaged right off the bat.
Almost Sleepover Party Ideas
At this almost sleepover party, the hosted had the idea to let the girls decorate their own craft supply caddy to take home. It was very timely as it had just been valentines and my daughter for one came home with a box full of craft supplies! So this was a great idea for her to keep all those supplies right where should could use them when she wanted.
I’m not sure where these boxes were purchased cut with “storage” and organizing being the thing right now, you can find a myriad of things out there at hobby shops and scrapbooking supply stores. Provide the storage box and a little permanent paint and the kids provide the creativity. Honestly this could be done for any age kindergarten and up.