Fall party fun

in Essential Ramblings

I have to pat myself on the back today, and thank the weather gods for a nice Saturday — without them looking out for me, this weekend could have been a total disaster.  I hosted a party for all of the boys in my son’s 4th grade class on Saturday (read that as 11 boys and 2 very special girls who made the list) and planned the whole thing for being outside.  And when I say planned, I mean on Friday I thought, hmmm….maybe I better make a plan so they don’t rip the house apart.  So, I quickly came up with some very easy and very cheap activities for the kids and they totally worked, so I am feeling in sharing mood as I crow my success and wish you the very best as you plan your fall parties as the cold and dark begin to envelope us.

1.  Pumpkin toss — I carved 3 pumpkins out with number 1, 2, & 3 on the sides.  We then took smaller gourd pumpkins and they tossed them into the larger pumpkins for points — we used the points as a way to give the winner an advantage on the next game or you could do it for prizes. Similar rules and concept to a bean bag toss, but makes more of a satisfying mess when the pumpkins splat juice, so super fun for the boys.

2.  Bobbing for apples.  An age-old favorite that I always think will get old, but never seems to — as there is always that one kid who is crazy enough to stick their whole head in.  I thought ahead this time though and cut holes in the bottom of a trash bag and had them wear that over their clothes so they weren’t soaked through.  Shockingly they all asked if they could eat the apples that they got, score one for a fruit delivery to balance the sugar intake.

3.  Leaf pile.  Never underestimate the power of a huge leaf pile.  Kids of all ages love to bury themselves in the leaves, jump in them, and generally get themselves so dirty I can’t even imagine what kind of goodies went home down their shirts and shoes.

4.  The coup de the party?  A string hunt for their goody bags.  I tied one end of a string to the goody bag, and kept one end in a ball.  You then take the ball and weave in and out of trees, or if you’re desperate, around furniture in your house.  The kids have to take what is left of the ball or the untied end of the string and weave their way back around to find the bags.  So fun to watch them, which is an added bonus.  I think this should also maybe be a psychological test to see how much frustration a child can take, but I don’t want it to sound like I was analyzing anyone’s kids…of course.

5.  And in those goody bags?  Yes, good old-fashioned cheap flashlights (party city. solar panel. right at the check out area) — which then brought on an hour-long game of flashlight freeze tag.  Boom.  Instant fun, no effort.  Except maybe a little refereeing.

6.  After they are fully exhausted, if you have perhaps made the party way too long (4 hours…what was I thinking?) — snuggle them down in blankets and sleeping bags with popcorn for a funny movie.  Our choice?  Furry Vengeance — sounds terrifying, but it’s a really cute movie about forest animals taking vengeance on a developer who is trying to ruin their habitat.  What, a lesson delivered too?  Yup.  Another pat on the back…this time for my kids who picked it.

Have fun — any or all of these activities would work alone — just depends how much time you’ve got to kill.

Our String Maze