We are throwing a Halloween themed second birthday party for Dangermouse this weekend. So here I am, in that ‘one week to go before the party’ zone and I’m quite frankly wondering what on earth I was thinking when this seemed a good idea.
I guess thinking back it went something like this.
3 months before P-Day: “I think we should throw the mouse a big party for her second birthday. We did one for Tigs and it is Halloween after all, it’ll be so much fun!”
2 months before P-Day: “Really should find a venue and think about invites”.
1 month before P-Day: “Oh yes hi this is Mrs GXXXX. Oh I’m so sorry, paying the venue balance totally slipped my mind. I’ll be in today”.
1 week before P-Day: “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHH” WHY?
But all is not lost, I was literally punching the air when Tesco asked me if I would like a little help with organising a Halloween party this year. (I love being a blogger). Errrr? YES PLEASE! This couldn’t be a more perfectly timed collab.
So you may have already spotted the most random Tuesday ever ‘Tesco Halloween delivery’ post. If not, you can read it here. It’s the one where the kids were wholly encouraged to accept sweets from this lovely (if somewhat Green) Mr. Tescos. It’s all good, because we are on first name terms with Alex. But as you can see from some of the shots, Dangermouse met her nemesis and was literally holding on to me for dear life.
So now, with just a week to go, here’s a roundup of how to plan a pukka birthday party, Halloween stylee…
Please spare yourself a few quid and grey hairs- use a photo editing app to capture the key info and fly them to your friends by the power of t’internet; Whatsapp, e mail, carrier pigeon. Paper invites are so last year.
Now this is tough – when it comes to parties and little sibs, you’re basically looking at a total hijack situation. Either that or you can be majorly tough and just invite the littles. We like to be inclusive wherever possible and we love all our friends kids way too much to leave anyone out, so we went for it. Total 15 tots, 15 kiddies, a handful of babies, and a trio of teens. Any Mum with a baby will bite your hand off for the opportunity to dress up their sprog for their first Halloween party, so spread the love.
Clowns, you’re not invited.
I made it clear that Fancy dress was optional, not compulsory. Mainly due to a ghost of Halloween past – being on newborn baby day 5, big time baby blues kicking in, and trying to dress a three year old in an itchy new monster dress while she (and I) cried the house down. Nothing is worth that, and some kids just hate dressing up, so make it clear there’s no pressure.
Tesco made Tigs’ day with this spiderman-meets-elsa witch dress. She has already shed most of the glitter all over the house, but what’s not to love about a bit of sparkle. The mouse is still young enough to manipulate into an outfit of our choosing, so this hilarious Franken-tot outfit is going to be perfect for her big day. (We have also picked up a little halloween party dress for when she’s had enough – you know that’s going to happen after about seven minutes with a two year old).
We did think about adults dressing up too, but we would like some friends left after the party so gave that a miss. I have picked up a pretty incredible top hat with a big green spider on it, and we also picked up this spooky mask and gloves from the Tesco loot which will get us in the Halloween-Host-spirit.
Anywhere except at my house.
Hence a vast proportion of the decision to throw a proper party. 5 years into this parenting malarkey we have learnt that party or no party, on kids birthdays the party is coming to you – like it or not. We aren’t adverse to some kids partays at home by any means, but in these chillier months when the garden is off limits it can get a little cray-cray like the walls are closing in on us with each ring of the doorbell.
Look around for a venue which chucks in a bouncy castle to entertain the kids, the cleaning up, no limit on numbers (one less thing to stress over), a manned bar, and you are onto a winner.
Since having a Halloween baby, I have really begun to embrace the Halloween paraphernalia out there. And boy, can you go to town. The beauty is now, we know it all gets reused year after year, and soon enough they will be giving the christmas decorations a run for their money.
Alex a.k.a. Green Mr Tesco delivered us some brilliant bits – the spooky talking skeletons have been the stars of the show so far. We can’t wait to pop them on the food table for the kids to get spooked. We’ll no doubt pick some pumpkins over half term too, so the Pumpkin carving kit will be perfect to get creative. Since our very first ‘Its a girl’ pumpkin, we have a tradition of carving a special birthday pumpkin each year.
The venue have a party the night before so have already said they’ll leave the hall decorated (another major result), but we have some balloons, spider webs, lanterns (kid-safe) and signs to put around the place.
Tesco had a couple of different ranges of party plates, so we are mixing up the Happy Halloween range and the spider webs. You never know if you have an arachnophobe in the room, so maybe a spider free option is worth while! Napkins will be used for cake pieces so make sure you stock up. Plus the inevitable spilt drink situation (and that’s just the parents). I’m going to give the rib cage jelly mould a go too, and serve in plastic cups with spoons.
I may have mentioned before my mother in law is an amazing baker so we jumped at the chance of her making a spooky cake. It’ll be amazing, that’s for sure, and no birthday is complete without a couple of candles to blow out. Maybe next year I’ll make my own…maybe.
Food & Drink
Firstly, I’m opting out of high sugar (high cost) cup or bottle drinks. I’ll ask the venue to make up some jugs of squash and put those out alongside the Halloween cups we got from our Spooky Tesco delivery. Most Mums pack up a drink anyway, and the kids don’t need any more sugar than is necessary!
Buffet wise, I’ll be getting a Tesco grocery delivery the week before the shop. It’s half term and there is way better stuff to be doing than hitting the shops. I’m going to keep it simple, pre-prepared where possible and try not to over cater. On the day all I need to do is make up some sandwiches which I’ll cut into bone shapes using a Halloween cookie cutter. A few pizzas and sausage rolls in the oven, and chop up some fruit for at least some nutritional value. I’ve seen some simple marker drawn on satsuma-pumpkins which I can easily make up in advance with the kids too.
Although I don’t expect food for me at a kids party, this time I’m going to lay on a nibble for Mums and Dads. Living in a culturally diverse area, we are blessed with some incredible curry houses and Indian food shops. I’m going to pre-order a truck load of fresh samosas, and will get someone to collect them for me on the day. (Taking help when offered is a MUST). Plus, above all, I cannot get enough of those Samosas.
I hate party bags. Come to think of it I hate sweetie cones. So which do I hate more? There’s only one way to find out…FIGHT!
Just kidding, but in all seriousness a party favour is a must if you don’t want every child making you feel awkward as hell as they ask for one when they leave. This year I have decided to make my own sweetie cones. I’ve bought the cones from eBay and have raided the sweetie aisle (Tescos, obviously) and I had a wonderful evening
eating sweets making up cones. Sure there are healthier options – but a book or a fruity cone is going to cost a small fortune when you have 30+ kids. So you’re getting sweets, for your baby. But the good news is, you can eat them Mum.
I think (?) that’s everything covered. Please don’t point out what I have forgotten as I may just go over the edge of stress-dom. Wish me luck people, see you on the other side.
Oh, and Dangermouse…happy birthday our very own gorgeous tiny monster – you deserve every bit of this fuss and more. Love you!
Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Tesco. All opinions are my own.