Autumn Harvest Party - 4yr - Jack-o-Lanterns
Kathleen in Fredericksburg, VA USA
Pumpkin Party (4 years old)
My son's birthday falls a few days prior to Halloween. This year we threw him his very first real birthday party, a Pumpkin Party.
I made the invitations by finding a pumpkin mortise graphic that had one big pumpkin in the middle with room to write and two smaller pumpkins on each side. As a graphic designer I had a little more software than an average person to manipulate it to work but I typed the invitation inside the pumpkin and over each smaller pumpkin was the date and time and the address. The RSVP number was at the bottom of the larger pumpkin. The invitation stated "Matthew's turning four and it's a very special day. Join us as we celebrate in a pumpkin sort of way! Wear your favorite costume we'll have treats, games & fun as we say Happy Birthday We hope you can come!" It was a rhyming invite.
I cut around the pumpkins with decorative scissors. I had dark green paper cut to size to frame behind the die cut pumpkins. The paper was 1/4 of a letter size sheet. I used my paper cutter. Once the pumpkin die cut and green paper were put together I hole punched two holes through them at the top and attached with ribbon. The easiest way I learned to do this is to cut a piece of 1/2 wide ribbon (and practice with the length) and go in both holes from the front and cross over in the back up through the holes again. It works well and you don't have to tie a bow. The party was at two p.m. so I didn't need to serve a meal. I did a lot of extra touches that weren't necessary but I will include all of the elements.
The plan for the party was to begin with "Pass the Pumpkin" and each child sat in a large circle. We played music (children’s music, Old MacDonald etc.) and the children passed the pumpkin around the circle. My Dad worked the music. When the music stopped whoever was holding the pumpkin left the circle. When you left the circle you went to pick up your trick or treat bag. (These instructions were explained before the game.) The bags were hanging on hooks by the deck so that I didn't have to hand them out. Then each child could go to three different activities, their choice of order. Each activity had a bowl of goodies at which they could trick or treat with their bags which were part of their favors. The bags I found for 50 cents at a local party store. They were a good size and vinyl (lightweight).
One activity was Ring-Around-the-Pumpkin. You paint numbers on three pumpkins (10, 20, 30 etc.) and place them in a line at different distances and give the child a hula hoop to toss and catch around a pumpkin. We didn't keep score but it was fun.
Another activity took some prep work: Jack-o-lanterns. I cut out pumpkin shapes with construction paper for each child and had various eyes, noses and mouth cut out of construction paper. I had enough to make one for each child. I used poster tack to attach them to the siding of the house in the backyard which was cute. Each child came up and there were several glue sticks and a helper and they picked out face parts to decorate a jack-o-lantern which they could take home.
The third activity was pumpkin painting. I had a friend who owned a nursery so I visited him beforehand and selected pie pumpkins, enough for each child. They were about 30 to 40 cents a piece.
(I also purchased miscellaneous mums and pumpkins to decorate the front and back yard). I also arranged for him to let me borrow hay bales for decoration and seating and to help construct a table. These were all delivered the day before the party and I washed the pumpkins off that day. The straw/hay table and benches were cute. I used two bales together long ways for a table base on top of which I placed some heavy blankets to raise the height some and a long plywood or some type of board we had on hand. Then I put an orange plastic tablecloth and put paint pens in cups on top of the table (and gourds for paper weights since it was breezy). I used bales for bench seating. It worked well.
The children went to the pumpkin patch to select their pumpkin. They were told that three pumpkins had blue dots and if they found one of those they got an extra prize (coloring book.) They hunted their pumpkins and went to the table to paint. I stuffed a scarecrow with balled up newspaper and some straw at the arms and neck. I had a bale of hay to sit him on by a tree and made a little sign that said pumpkin patch for the part of the yard where the pumpkins were. The children had a great time. Most were preschoolers but even the few school-age kids enjoyed themselves. Each child ended up with a bag, a painted pumpkin, a jack-o-lantern and whatever treats they received at each activity.
After an hour, we sang happy birthday and cut the cake. I had made a pumpkin-shaped cake from two Bundt cakes end to end and a cupcake iced for the stem. I colored the icing orange and then green. I served juice boxes from a plastic blow-up pumpkin shaped cooler I found at a party store. The adults could select canned drinks or water from a cooler. I also had pumpkin spice coffee in a carafe. On the food table I served pumpkin muffins, a cheese ball shaped like a pumpkin with a broccoli stalk stem, Utz Halloween pretzels, Halloween cookies, etc.
After the presents were opened, we all headed to the street for a hayride. My friend who owned a nursery came by with a truck pulling a trailer and it held a large group for the hayride. We made two circles around the block and then everyone went home.
It was a pumpkin good time!
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