When Mazzy has a play date at our place, the kids pull out every available toy, craft and dress-up item and go to town. It’s not even organized chaos. It’s straight-up chaos.
My friend, Seri is a different kind of animal. She’s the kind of mom who has ten crafts and a snack already set up when you walk in the door. You could write her off as overachieving and crazy, but then you’d be discounting the solid hour of adult conversation you are able to have while the kids entertain themselves.
Seri is one half of Little Miss Party, a party planning company she runs with her friend Michelle. This makes me feel a little less insecure about my inferior play date planning. She’s a play date professional!
When Mazzy and I went over there last week, Seri had planned a Halloween-themed play date. It being the season and all. I told her she was insane, but once I saw how much fun the kids had, I asked her to write down some tips.
Here are Little Miss Party’s 10 tips for a fun-filled Halloween themed play date. Some are totally over the top and some are totally doable. Pick and choose your level of crazy!
Make it Festive
If you want to get the kids excited the second they walk in the door, you gotta make it look a little special. We have a closet full of party items we reuse over and over again. Our decor go-to?
Tissue fans. They are sold in every color you can imagine for about $3-$5. We buy them by the boat loads. Check Shop Sweet Lulu for their fabulous selection.
Spray paint: We spray paint the crap out of everything. Literally. Everything. For fall, we’ve sprayed pumpkins, Indian corn, acorns, pinecones, gourds… check your backyard or local farm stand for ideas. Not only does it look cool, it gets your kids asking questions. “What’s that, Mom?” “A squash.” “Why is it silver?” “Because your mom is CRAZY.” See? We just made this plat date educational.
Create a Halloween Craft Station
You might think one craft is enough but then you would be grossly overestimating your child’s attention span. Create a craft station with several options to keep the kids busy for as long as possible. Here are a few:
No Mess Mini Pumpkins:
If you don’t want to hand your kid a carving knife and you’re afraid paint will require too much clean-up, we’ve got a better idea. Paint the pumpkins with chalkboard paint the night before and set out colored chalk for the kids to decorate.
Make Your Own Masks
Your kids are probably saving their main costume for the big day, but creating their own mask can be fun too. Set out plain masks with whatever craft materials you have on hand— markers, pom-poms, stickers, googly eyes, feathers, glue, etc.
DIY Treat Bags
When the kids leave, they’ll want to take their art projects home. Sure, you can give them a plastic shopping bag from your pantry, but then you’d be missing a great opportunity for another kids craft. All you need are brown paper bags and all the same craft supplies you’ve already got on the table. That’s at least fifteen more minutes of busy time.
Serve Something Fun to Eat
We need to feed these kids right? Every damn day. Halloween is usually all about candy, so we didn’t leave that out, but you can incorporate a few things that don’t require a trip to the dentist. We made tomato and mozzarella skewers, cups of caramel corn and put peanut butter cups on pretzel rods. Don’t they look like broomsticks?
Warm Apple Cider
We served ours out of hollowed apples and added a shot of rum for the grown-ups. Who says play dates are just for the kids? Don’t forget the stripe-y straws. They sell them in bags of 24 for $1.99 at Party City.
Pumpkin Snack Bowls
You are hollowing out pumpkins for the holidays anyway. Using one as a snack bowl is a great option— this way you can serve whatever you want inside— pretzels, snack mix, carrots and keep it on theme.
Ghosts on a ToothPick
Putting snacks on a stick always make them more fun. Even if it’s a tomato or a piece of cheese. Or, you can throw healthy options out the window and use Marchmallow ghosts like us. Remember the pumpkins we suggested you spray gold? Stick ’em with snacks!
Donuts on a Broom Stick
Bobbing for apples is so ten years ago. Keep your kids dry with our update on the tradition. We put cider donuts on a string, tied them to a broom stick, blind folded the kids and let them “bob” for the donuts. Not sure we can express to you how much the kids loved this.
Bubbly for the Grown-Ups
The kids aren’t the only ones who want to have some fun. We always make sure the moms want a second play date too. The easiest route to an instant mom friend is a signature cocktail. We made poured Prosecco and added orange slices for a Halloween twist.
Editor’s Note: Don’t you want to hang out at Little Miss Party’s place now?
Visit Little Miss Party for more party planning tips!
Photos were taken by Karilyn Sanders and myself.