April Fools Party 5yr - Sweepstakes Invite
Paige in Tucker, GA, USA
April 2006 Winner
My budding comedic genius of a daughter asked for an April Fools Party for her 5th birthday.
The hilarity started with the invitation that we mailed so it would arrive on April Fools Day, two weeks prior to her party. The invitation was mailed in a windowed business envelope, addressed to Joey Smith or CURRENT RESIDENT. I photoshopped a picture of Ed McMahon wearing a jester's hat on the front of the envelope with a caption that said, You're a MILLION DOLLAR WINNER in the Prankster's Jeeringhouse Sweepstakes! The invitation looked like a junk mail prize notification letter. I'd photoshopped a picture of my daughter in a jester's hat holding money bags and made that into the letterhead, and then in the body of the letter I told the prize winners they had to come to Prankster's Jeeringhouse Prize Redemption Center (our home address) to claim their prize. The letter said there would be a celebration to congratulate them on their win, as well as to celebrate the 5th birthday of Prankster's Jeeringhouse President Krazy Kate. The letter went on to say there would be a special performance by the Black Eyed Peas, and that they could win more prizes by sharing their favorite joke, silly song, or magic trick in the April Fools Open Mic competition. The invitation also invited them to dress in something appropriate for April Fools. (A disclaimer in small print at the bottom said that one million people would win $1 in the million dollar prize giveaway.)
On party day, the guests arrived to find a For Sale sign in our front yard. The driveway was roped off with caution tape, traffic cones, and a wet cement sign, and there were Keep Off the Grass signs. As they approached the gate to our backyard, there was an official looking sign posted that said the party had been cancelled by county officials for failure to file a party permit, and that gifts were being confiscated as evidence so guests should leave them in the backyard. The backyard gate had wet paint signs on it, and was flanked by motion-activated Christmas and Halloween toys that started singing and dancing every time anyone entered. In the backyard, we had hung buckets from tree limbs with signs hanging from them saying, Pull for Candy. One bucket had candy in it. The others had packing popcorn, confetti, instant mashed potato flakes, etc. Balloons were hung upside down from trees. I took an old bride and groom tabletop decoration, superimposed Sponge Bob's face over the groom's, and put a sign beside it that said Best Wishes, Kate & Sponge Bob. There wereNo Parking and No Trespassing signs over the toilets, and signs I downloaded from Family Fun magazine that said the children's rooms had been condemned for rodent infestation.
There was fake dog poop made from homemade clay in the sand box, whoopee cushions galore, strategically placed plastic snakes, bugs, and rats in the trash can, chairs, and ice chest, and a fake spilled coffee cup made from a craft suggestion at Family Fun. Fake birds from the floral section of a craft shop were placed in a tree with a leaking bag of a brown water/cornstarch mixture that periodically dripped on passing heads. Coins were superglued to sidewalks. Fake parking tickets, downloaded from Family Fun, were placed on cars. A life size grim reaper we put out at Halloween was wearing a grass skirt and lei and carrying a boogie board. As children arrived, they received a jester hat (ordered from Oriental Trading, along with many of the favors) and a sign on their back that was a variation of the old Kick Me prank. Each sign had a different instruction for others to do to the wearer: Call Me Bob,Flap your arms when I talk,Pat my head. The children could then choose from several stations for free play and activities while waiting for all the guests to arrive. At one station, they could play with snot, made from cornstarch, water, and green food coloring. At another, they could do April Fools word puzzles and mazes downloaded from Family Fun (the joke: the puzzles have no solution.)
There were two craft stations. At one, children made an arrow-through-the-head headpiece using pipecleaners for the headband. After twisting together pipecleaners and shaping them into an omega shape, they ran each end of the pipe cleaner (the end running perpendicular to their heads) through half of a colorful drinking straw, and then glued feathers and craft foam arrows onto the ends. The other craft was a squirt ring, made by running a piece of pipe cleaner through a decorative button. After forming the ring around the finger, the ends of the pipe cleaner were wrapped around a small piece of sponge on the palm side of the finger. Wet the sponge, and you can give an unsuspecting friend a very damp handshake. (The crafts were adapted from crafts at Crayola.com and Family Fun.) I also had a table with books like Walter the Farting Dog, and children were free to play on the swingsets, sandbox, etc.
Inside our basement, I had set up Krazy Kate's Fun House. Children entered through a large furniture box tunnel. The entrance to the tunnel was a large open mouth, with red posterboard lips and a pink pillow tongue. I lined the inside of the tunnel with aluminum foil and bubble wrap, and placed a small police light from Oriental Trading inside. Over the exit, I had taped some feather boas from a dollar store. The children then entered a maze made of black tarp, with fluorescent polka dots, arrows, and swirls painted on it. The first leg of the maze involved stepping through crepe paper streamers hung from the ceiling and packing pillows taped to the floor. They then entered a hall of mirrors. Most of the mirrors were made from metallic tissue paper bought at a dollar store. One mirror was a broken mirror retrieved from a neighbor's trash, with a fake nose, wig, etc. glued onto it so that the children appeared in disguise when they looked inside. Christmas lights hung from the ceiling. The children finally entered a room with disco and black lights, a bubble machine, silly music playing, balloons on the floor, and photoshopped Fun House portraits of the children on the walls (e.g., one child had donkey ears in the portrait, one had a Don King hairdo, others were stretched thin like a fun house mirror.) Also in the funhouse were dress up clothes, a recycled furniture box space shuttle from a previous party, CDs hanging from the ceiling, and glow-in-the-dark stars on the walls.
After about 45 minutes of free play in these areas, I blew a whizzer whistle and told the kids it was time for games. As they started to gather, my sister, who is a professional baker, brought the cake she'd baked from the house to the backyard. I made a big deal about the arrival of the birthday cake so that all the children would be paying attention when my sister tripped and fell face first into the cake. As we had planned earlier, I began laughing at her, she got mad, and a cake food fight followed. After much laughing and tossing of frosting, she brought down the real cake, a whimsical leaning cake reminiscent of something from Dr. Seuss, with a magic compartment hidden inside that held a strand of streamers that Kate pulled out before blowing out the candles later. Now that I had everyone's attention, I gave each child a piece of green bubble gum to chew for our first game. One at a time, I put the blindfold on them (the blindfold was a pair of old sunglasses with eyes cut from a magazine and taped in crazy angles over the lenses). I then turned them around three times, instructed them to put their bubble gum booger on their nose, and then had them Pin the Booger on the Nose, using their nose to place the booger on a poster board nose. The winner who got closest (as well as winners of other games) got to go to the Fear Factor box a black box with a small opening in the top, filled with cold spaghetti and prizes in Ziploc baggies.
The next game was the traditional egg toss game, but instead of tossing real eggs, the partners tossed Jello jiggler eggs lathered in cooking oil. After the egg toss, we did group juggling with a sock monkey, a plush hamburger, and a plush Wanda from Fairly Odd Parents. Beginning with one item, and adding others as your skills improve, the leader begins by tossing the ball to someone. Everyone tosses the ball once and receives the ball once, until everyone in the circle has had a turn. You then repeat the pattern always throwing to the same person, and always receiving from the same person. After juggling, we played Take a Dare or Pie in Your Hair. Playing hot potato with a rubber chicken and to the music of Hen House Five's In the Mood, when the music stopped the person holding the chicken had a choice to make. They could get a pie in the face (whipped cream in a pie plate) or they could take a dare silly stunts like doing the twist while singing the ABCs. When the game was over I announced it was time for the pinata but where did I put it?
The children were looking all over for a pinata, when I finally let them in on the joke that the pinata looked just like one of the gifts and had been sitting on the gift table all along. However, that wasn't the only surprise. When the pinata opened, the children were showered with confetti, plastic balls from our ball pit, and fake million dollar bills with Kate's picture on them but no candy, no prizes. To find those, they had to find fake rocks that had been placed all over the yard. The rocks, made of coffee grounds, sand, salt, flour, and water, had candy hidden at the center when you broke them open. Finally, it was time for that cake. Kate blew out the candles (the trick kind, of course) and then we had the children sit at tables around our playhouse porch, which had been fitted with a curtain, drama and comedy masks, and a karaoke machine to be made into the stage for our April Fools Open Mic. It was dinner theatre, as the adults served the children during their performances. In addition to cake and ice cream, they feasted on Sponge Bob cheese crackers, and three dishes that looked like something other than what they were (all three from recipes on Family Fun.) Sham hamburgers were made out of Peppermint Patties and sugar cookie buns, mini-meatloafs were served in cupcake tins and topped with pink mashed potato frosting, and a stir fry of dried pineapple chunks, cashews, dried apples (looks like chicken), and fruit rollups cut to look like snow peas and red peppers was served from Chinese takeout boxes with chopsticks.
The children loved the Open Mic, and each performer got to go to the Fear Factor box for a prize. My husband was the emcee. I gave him a toy drum machine to do cymbal crashes after jokes, a fake hand from Halloween as a prop to get kids to give performers a big hand, and an applause sign. The final act was The Black Eyed Peas, as promised in the invitation. (Coincidentally, and totally unplanned, the real Black Eyed Peas were actually performing in our town that night.) My brother, sister, sister-in-law, and I dressed in t-shirts with a P on the front, used make-up to give ourselves black eyes, and sang a parody of the group's hit Let's Get it Started. Our version was Somebody Farted, with lyrics downloaded (and cleaned up a bit) from the internet. Before we sang, I did a PSA announcement, and told the kids comedy is all about timing. Church, school, and meals are the wrong times to say the word fart, but this party was the right time for it to be funny. I also said our back up musicians were setting up for the concert that night, so we needed the children to help accompany us. I then gave them all flexible drinking straws and showed them how to make a farting noise by blowing on one end and sandwiching the other in the crook of your arm.
At the end of our performance, we brought Kate on stage to open presents. Her friends had made a lot of cool April Fools cards with jokes inside. One gift was full of rocks, and when she opened it the giver brought out her real gift. Another gift was nested inside three wrapped gift boxes. The final box contained a roll of toilet paper, with a gift certificate tucked in the center. For the goody bags, I scanned in the joker card from a deck of cards, and then photoshopped each child's face onto the joker's body. Instead of names I put the child's joker card photo on the front of the bag. The goody bags contained bubble gum crayons, red liquid candy in a miniature IV bag, candy goofy teeth, a fake pack of chewing gum with a cockroach that snapped out when you pulled on the stick of gum, a whoopee cushion, a candy mouse, a Wacky Pack, and their crafts, jester hats, trick stone candies, and items from the Fear Factor box (e.g., trick nut can, Groucho glasses and nose, chattering teeth, a compilation CD I'd done of silly novelty songs, etc.) As my daughter said, It was the silliest party ever!
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