Ever since I was a little girl Halloween has been my most favorite holiday. I love it beyond Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and the fourth. Give me a jack-o-lantern over turkey, Santa, a bunny or fireworks — Halloween all the way.
To me, the holiday is so much more than candy and costumes. I love all things spooky — haunted houses, ghost stories, horror movies, any good scare. And for a girl growing up in the desert, October is the gateway month to cooler weather and more time spent outdoors. Plus, the other major holidays are just around the corner and I think Halloween ushers that festive cheer in. I definitely consider Halloween part of the holiday season. So happy holidays to you!
My husband agrees and we are gung-ho and getting this girl to love Halloween as much as we do. Finally, at three-years-old she is old enough to understand the excitement October offers. She gets all giddy at the sight of the Halloween displays at the grocery store, she loves the Halloween specials on her favorite TV shows, she’s a little too elated about eating candy – she really understands this is a special time of year.
This year I kicked Halloween up a notch by adding extra decor to our home and throwing Jax a themed pumpkin patch party for her and a few of her friends. It was worth the effort to see this group of preschoolers all dressed up in Halloween finery reveling in the joy of the season.
I used straw bales instead of chairs to give my backyard a more “pumpkin patch-y” feel. OMGoodness, those bales were a pain in the butt – heavy, messy and awkward. It was a great idea I had, then regretted as I broke my back setting up, then loved when I saw how amazing my backyard looked.
The kids enjoyed working on two age-appropriate crafts – decorating their own trick-or-treat bags and making picture frames for their Halloween costume photos.
I set up a make-shift photo booth using a tablecloth I found for under $5 at Target, a straw bale and a pumpkin. The photos looked adorable and surprisingly pretty much every kid was more than willing to sit and pose for pictures. They definitely wanted to show off their costumes.
Food was kept simple – I orders a few $5 pizzas and put out veggie and fruit platters. Easy and inexpensive. To keep with the “spooky” feel I dyed the ranch dip green and plopped some “bugs” made out of black olives on the top. I also arranged the veggies on the platter to look like a centipede and made a monster face out of fruit.
The dessert table included DELICIOUS Fairytale Brownies made to look like mini pumpkin patches and cemeteries. The monster pudding cup idea was found on Pinterest and I used white chocolate pudding instead of plain vanilla and folded in whipped cream to give the pudding a lighter texture. They were pretty yummy.
Drinks included a beverage for “Big Ghouls Only,” mummy juice boxes and a cauldron of chilled water bottles with fun poison and potion labels. The juice boxes were easy to mummify simply by winding strips of white duct tape around each box and adhering googly eyes – so simple it’s spooky.
The adult beverage was Apple Cider Sangria and it was AMAZING! Made with cinnamon whiskey soaked apples and pears, spiced apple cider, pinot grigio and sparkling water, it’s the perfect libation for fall festivities. Find the recipe here.
Tip: Get a head start on next year’s festivities this year by shopping the clearance bins after the holiday. I bought the water bottle labels last year at Michael’s for mere cents.
Happy Halloween, everyone!
At the end of the party each child got a goody box and a pumpkin of their own. It was such a pleasure to see them picking out the perfect gourd to take home.
A million thank yous to Fry’s Food Stores for providing the pumpkins for Jax’s pumpkin patch! The kids were so excited to take them home to decorate.
And to Fairytale Brownies for the brownies. You make an AMAZING product and I felt pretty smug serving guests such a delicious treat.