Idea No.


Cemetery Slumber - Monster Face Pizza



August 2005


Laura in Burlington, Ontario, Canada


Halloween Party

Halloween "Cemetery" Slumber Party  For our annual party, we decided to throw a slumber party for our sons and a few of their friends. 

Invitations: The invitations are written in lemon juice then sprinkled with salt and let dry. The excess salt is dusted off. At the bottom are instructions to lightly colour with a pencil to see the ghostly image appear, and our phone number to call should they have difficulty with the process. (The pencil will appear darker on the parts with the lemon juice and salt). The wording is pretty standard: The ghosts of (address) invite you to join them in their haunted house for an overnight party. Come if you dare! Wear your costume and bring your sleeping bag and as much courage as you can muster. (and details regarding time etc.)  The parents also received a copy of our entire agenda (via personal email) so they will know what we're up to. 

D├ęcor Outside the house there are paper bag lanterns lining the drive (fill paper bag 1/3 with sand, set tealight inside and light if time permits, pumpkin faces will be cut from these). The trees have some subtle decorations (bats, an owl, etc.). The place is slightly overgrown and webby, and a few spiders can be seen here and there. A few tombstones and wooden cross grave markers can be seen on one side of the lawn. Over the back fence a huge vine has taken over the gate and reaches menacingly toward the unwary. (The huge pumpkin vines that have taken over the garden will be cut that day and moved to the gate for this effect).  In the living room aka "the cemetery" sleep area several large inflatable mattresses will take up most of the floor space. They will be stacked until we return from the walk, as this is also the eating area (the kids will eat their buffet meal sitting on a blanket picnic-style as our house is quite small; it also makes for quick and easy cleanup).

The kids will set up their coffins (sleeping bags) on the mattresses once the blanket is cleared. Using fish line criss-crossed along the ceiling, several cheesecloth ghosts will float in the air. These are made from white balloons covered in cheesecloth washed with bluing so that it reacts with black light, and tied off at the neck. The furniture will be draped in cheap black fabric and there will be black paper on the wall ready to become a mural. The regular light bulbs have been replaced with black lights here and in the adjoining hallway. Plastic fish swim in tonic water in a goldfish bowl (tonic water shines bluish white under black light), and various other glow in the dark decorations (skeletons, stars planets and moon, bats, etc.) add to the effect.   As the guests enter, the one regular light (dim) is on and no black lights yet (until the mural is done). Spooky music plays as the guests enter and throughout the evening. (some of the selections include Scooby Doo music, Ghostbusters, The Adamms Family, Twilight Zone theme, Thriller, Phantom of the Opera, The Man With the Weird Beard, The Monster Mash, Purple People Eater, and The Skeleton Rattled His Bones, among others).   The kitchen is decorated mainly with the food selections and cards announcing each dish. The punch sits in the centre with its dry-ice mist slightly disguising the ghoulish feast. On the walls I've hung food-related Halloween jokes printed card style (question on the outside, punchline in the middle) such as: What do sea monsters eat for lunch? Fish and ships. These are easily found online.  Candles (on the shelf and out of reach) illuminate the room. The bathroom is left normal (aside from window writer spider webs drawn on the mirror). 

Activities:   Blacklight: sleeping room will have blacklight bulbs in lamps. A "regular" lamp is available for craft work. Roll paper spray painted black is taped to wall and kids are given neon paint to create a mural that will glow under black light. Liquid bluing (or tide-free) painted paper arrows point the way to the bathroom as well "just in case". One black light will be left on in the hallway all night to help navigation and serve as a nightlight without being "uncool". The kids will work on the mural until everyone has arrived.  At this point they will all receive their survival kits. Survival kit: - a clove of garlic (in case vampires come by) - a mini led flashlight ($ store) - reflective arm bands (free from Tim Horton's) - a mini teddy bear - Glowing hair gel - A mirror (not to be used in "What am I" game) - A white pillowcase, ready for decorating ($ store)  The pillowcases are white and have been washed with bluing so they will react under the lights. They will decorate them with neon fabric paints. The result will be a personalized pillowcase that can double as a nifty over-sized trick-or-treat bag.  What am I? Once everyone has arrived, they are given secret identities that are pinned to their backs and visible to the other players (use pictures if you have non-readers). They may ask each person a single yes/no question to try and determine their identity then move to the next person. The names are based on theme related characters--Frankenstein's monster, Dracula, Scooby-Doo, Werewolf, the Great Pumpkin, Shrek, the Grinch, Loch Ness monster, dragon, Purple People Eater, etc.   Then it's food time.

Food: Make your own monster face pizzas: use a pita as the crusts and supply sauce, grated cheeses, and assorted toppings--we like to add interest with raw hulled pumpkin seeds (make great warts and/or boogers), pine nuts (teeth), raisins (warts, spots, flies etc.), sundried tomatoes (make great monster lips), sprouts or shredded sweet peppers make great hair, broccoli (hair or noses), stuffed green olives (eyes), plus all the regular stuff. Spider web dip: layer bean dip, salsa and guacamole on a large shallow pan so that each layer shows. Use sour cream or thick yogurt to create a spider web on top (beneath the web is what we call "monster mush"). Supply red or blue corn chips. Rotten apples: core an apple for each person leaving 1/2" intact at the base. Fill with boysenberry or other dark jam and 1 tsp. butter. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until soft but not yet mushy. Serve with a gummy worm or two coming out the top. Witch's fingers--half-hot dogs with a spider ring and a red pepper nail (held on w/cream cheese (for monster fingers, use a sliced almond for the nail instead). Booger sticks-pretzels with cheese whiz/cream cheese mixture dyed green Exploding frogs: melt chocolate (real chocolate, not cheaper melting wafers) add any flavour pop rocks candy and pour into frog mold (or other shape you desire) Witch's Hats: on a Belgian chocolate wafer (round one) place a large dot of orange icing, top with a Hershey's kiss (works with small chocolate covered cookies as well). 

Punch: use two bowls; in the bottom one fill with dry ice and water, the one on top holds the punch. Witches brew punch: use a regular punch recipe (I like to keep it simple--cranberry juice or cranberry grape juice and gingerale mixture. Add fly infested ice cubes (use raisins or plastic flies).   Donning a witch's hat, black shawl and makeup or mask, I will do the Macbeth witch thing and get them to help me finish off the potion. The kids take turns adding potion stuff: peeled grape eyeballs, pureed kiwi (Monster brains, ectoplasm or swamp slime), blueberries (poison berries or fairy eggs), pureed strawberries (guts), dead flies (raisins), and 4 drops of radioactive toxic waste (tonic water, which reacts to black light). At the end, I will pour in my last ingredient (water, which will go into the bottom bowl where the dry ice is).  If we add gummy worms, we've learned from experience not to leave them in for long as they dissolve and make the punch nasty in a different sort of way.  

More activities:  Tombstones:  The materials for this activity are hidden in a large trunk. On the top of the materials inside the trunk will be 3-4 ghhosts (made as above, but with helium-filled balloons). As the kids open the trunk, the ghosts will float out.  The kids will decorate their own tombstone headboards for their sleeping bags. These are cereal boxes covered in grey construction paper that they can decorate with funfoam, construction paper, sponge painting and markers. They will be given liquid tide to paint on the edges to help them glow in the dark. They will also be given some goofy epitaph examples (found on the web) to help inspire them.  Spooky walk (where our "ghosts" haunt the forest): If they sleep in the cemetery, they will need to practice their haunting skills! We'll go through the woods across the street after dark armed with flashlights one of the adults also armed with a cassette player of spooky sounds they let play randomly. If the kids seem game for it, we will have a spooky story/legend about the forest ready to tell them as we walk.   When we are back from the walk, the following will round out the evening (in no special order):  Scary movie: let the kids choose from several; including: It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, the SpongeBob Halloween video, various Scooby-Doo cartoons / SD2, Goonies, Blackbeard's Ghost, etc. (still looking for ideas--at 6&7 they aren't always as brave as they expect to be and we want to keep it fun).  Ghost story: Adult begins a story with a few sentences, then each kid adds a bit to it but they must incorporate a prop they pull out of a prop bag as they go. This will be videotaped and played back to the kids.  Haunted House Madlib: I created my own madlib based on the theme, and we'll fill it in together (give them a list of words that can fill the blanks in various places--an action, a number, a sound, a flavour, an animal etc.) then read it back in the context of the story.  

The next morning:  Breakfast: Waffle bar Purple monster waffles (add frozen blueberries to batter, make batter ahead and refrigerate, whip and add egg whites that morning) Toppings: whipped ghosts (whipped cream), blood and guts (pureed strawberries), sliced giant fingers (bananas), chocolate chips (use your own imagination for this one!), swamp ooze (maple syrup). Juice, Milk and water (could be dyed, but probably have ingested enough artificial colour by now!).  While one adult cooks the waffles, the other will lead the kids in activities:  Stuff your own mini scarecrow: Using thrift-store specials on baby clothes and doll clothes, kids will be provided with outfits and straw (and string) to put together their own mini-scarecrows. One adult will do this with the kids while the other is on waffle duty. Sleepers and one-piece outfits work well for this. They'll be given burlap for the head if they need it. 

Games: (after waffles, or it time permits, the evening before) Monster in the maze: create a maze in back yard using tape, sidewalk chalk or rope as the outline. All dead ends must have a u-turn so no one is trapped. Throughout the maze drop coins and wrapped candy. One person is the monster and one is the treasure seeker. The treasure seeker gets a 5-second head start and may grab as much loot as possible and exit the maze before the monster catches them. Monster may not reach across lines. If the seeker makes it out before the monster tags them they get to keep the loot they collected.  Replenish loot as needed.  Put a face on the pumpkin relay: cut out two sets of pumpkin face pieces and two large orange pumpkin faces from construction paper or poster board. Hang pumpkins on the wall and put double-sided tape on the pumpkin where the face parts will go. Each child gets a half-straw and must use suction to carry their piece to the pumpkin and affix (no hand allowed) first team done wins.  Ghost in the Graveyard: Ghost looks away while standing at "home" counts out hours (1 o'clock, so forth) until midnight while others hide. Ghost must try and find them before they reach "home". Last one found becomes the ghost.  Since this party will happen two days before Halloween, all of the decorations will play double-duty for neighbourhood kids trick or treating.

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