Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Very Kid Friendly But Still Kind of Scary Halloween Party

I hate Halloween.  The one day out of the year when it is okay to see blood squirting out of someone's head because they have an ax stuck in it.  The one day out of the year when the devil and witches are glorified.  If we would see this stuff on any given Tuesday, it wouldn't be okay.  But on Halloween....  It honestly makes me cringe.

So when Luke asked if he could have a Halloween party, I didn't say yes, no, or maybe so.  I ignored him completely. 

Then I thought about it for a day.  Or two.  Or maybe three.  I thought maybe it wouldn't be so bad.  We could have pumpkins and bobbing for apples and eat cupcakes.  I announced my decision:  "Luke, do you still want to have that Halloween party?"

"Yes, mom!  YES!  We can have it dark and scary and I want tombstones that say rip."  Not R.I.P., mind you.  Rip.  Like you do with a paper.  "Luke, do you even know what rip means?"  "Yes, I know, it's rest in peace, but rip sounds so much better.  Rip."  as he slides his arm to the side like some kind of new dance move.

So.  How to make a scary - yet appropriate - Halloween party for a 9 year old boy that won't glorify this stuff I hate but will still be fun for a 9 year old boy?  While keeping it tame enough for the 6 year old sister and her friends. 

My brain went to work.

I am okay with skeletons, after all they are just the bones in our body.  Bats and spiders and rats: all okay.  Even monsters are okay, since they are just made up.  As long as they aren't bloody.  I can even consider a tombstone with rip.  As long as there isn't something bloody coming out of it.  I could do this.  After all, I love a good kid party :)

I have very few Halloween decorations, since, well....  since I hate Halloween.  I had less than 2 weeks to plan. Luckily Halloween things were already 50%-70% off. Skeletons, bats, rats, and spiders were suddenly in my home.  So was a rip stone.  I mean a tombstone with R.I.P.   Strobe lights, black lights.  Don't tell anyone....   I was starting to have fun with all this.  GASP!

I think I pulled it off!  It was after Trick or Treat so it was dark.  A few games on the driveway like monster bowling, (which used 2 liter pop bottles filled with rice that had pictures on them and a pumpkin for a bowling ball.)  A bean bag pumpkin toss.  Throwing things = pure enjoyment for 9 year old boys.  A costume contest.  Food.  Running around the yard (which was like a bathtub after raining all week) in the dark = unplanned but priceless fun for 9 year old boys.  Sorry, moms, for the dirty shoes and mud up their backs!

The little ones stayed warm in the house, no running through the yard for them! 

Bobbing for apples was such a hit, most of the kids had never done this before.  Once they got past the "Ew, gross, we are all sticking our head in the same water?  What about germs?!?" panic, they bobbed and giggled and bobbed some more.

The cherry on top: we turned the garage into a maze!  I bought black plastic sheeting from Lowe's and with the help of my dad, a staple gun, tons of duct tape, strobe lights and black lights, we totally transformed the garage.  The kids LOVED it!  There was only one dead end, but it was dark and the paths wound around the garage and some of the strobe lights made scary noises.  The kids were scared to go in at first, but once one brave kid did it, they went through it over and over and over.  And over again.  And again.

Luke and Emma named the entrance and exit.  Perfect!

Around the first turn.  The entrance was a long hallway that got darker and darker... 

At the second turn.  Looked a lot better without the flash of the camera.  It really was pretty dark in there!  These skulls have built-in strobe lights and there was a black light above them.

More strobe lights and a black light down this hallway.  The arrow led to this:
The only dead end, with another strobe light and scary music.

Getting close to the exit, I tried to trick them :)
Black plastic and bats hanging from the ceiling. With another strobe light.  Right before the exit, there were several twists and turns.  Nothing too dramatic or scary, but it was a hit!

I had Maze Rules posted outside the maze.  #1 Rule: No Running.  They didn't listen.  One dad was quite happy to hide in the maze and scare the begeebers out of the kids, so they'd all come running out screaming.  The maze got knocked down eventually, but just on the one side.  Emma's friends were excited once that happened because the maze wasn't as dark then.  Way to make lemonade out of lemons, girls!

I made up a story about a mad scientist who was trying to make a Halloween monster but something went terribly wrong and all he had were monster body parts.  The kids felt the body parts in a bag but had no idea what they were.  Heart = water balloon.  Brain = spaghetti.  Finger = hot dog.  Eyeballs = grapes.  Tongue = banana peel.  I heard, "Oh disgusting, gross!" every time.  Shrieks of disgust or enjoyment, not sure which.  And I couldn't believe I had 19 pairs of eyes on me.  The. Entire. Time.  I didn't know if I could keep the focus of 9 year old boys and 6 year old girls, but I did it.  Score one for me!   To end the story, I shook a bag and made a big deal about how difficult this little bugger was being but I thought I finally had the moster back together and I pulled out - Elmo.  The kids were hysterical!  Perfect. 

Didn't get many pictures of the food, people were coming while I was still setting stuff out.  We had moster much (popcorn), cupcakes with candy corn on top (too cute), black bean dip that looked like a spider web with sour cream piped on top (and a black plastic spider in the middle), monster bites (mini cheese balls rolled in shredded cheddar with candy eyes stuck to them), chocolate covered pretzel rods, hot dogs, apples & caramel dip, hot apple cider and hot chocolate.  (Both drinks were a bigger hit than I imagined they'd be.) 

 I also had a Trick-or-Treat Candy Bar.  (You can see it in the buffet in the background.)  It was NOT a hit.  I guess they got enough from Trick-or-Treating, I can not believe how much I have left.  Ugh. 

My little Trick-or-Treaters, before the party started. 

All in all, not a bad party.  In fact, it was kind of fun.  Maybe, just maybe, I'm looking forward to next Halloween for the first time in a long time. :) 

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