Nightmare Before Christmas -5yr- Halloween Town
Connie in Dana Point, CA, USA
Nightmare Before Christmas/Halloween Birthday Party (5-year old): My son is addicted to the Nightmare Before Christmas movie. So, when I asked him what theme he wanted for his 5th bday there was no hesitation! Now comes the hard part - no one on the planet has ever had a Nightmare Before Christmas/Halloween birthday before, so I had a lot of research to do (on this website, of course). We centered on the halloween theme for the party, with a Nightmare Before Christmas (NBC) cast of characters.
INVITATIONS: These were made on white cardstock with a black tissue paper front. I downloaded images of Jack Skellington, cut them out and glued them to the black tissue paper. Inside the invitation read, on the left side: It's Riley's 5th Birthday! Then on the right side: The Spirits are Restless, Awaiting their Fate, for a Nightmare Before Christmas/Halloween Party at the (last name) Estate. Join Us for Food, Fun & Eerie Delight at 3-6 pm on July 1st (Saturday Night). (Address), RSVP: (Phone number), All Ghouls to Responde with Yeahs or Boo Hoos. I created personalized return address label with Jack Skellington's face and our address, along with a spider stamp (Halloween stuff is cheap in July) on each envelope. You can also create a personalized email address for RSVPs like ScaryParty@yahoo.com. It's free and cute for the kids to check their own email account.
DECORATIONS: I put up posters throughout the house and backyard that said things like: Halloween Town, Dinner Prepared by Igor, Mutilated Main Corpse Menu, You'll Lose Your Head Over These Snacks, Finger Foods, Haunted House - No Turning Back Now, etc. I also created a Guest Book out of cut up (make it look messy) brown paper bags from the grocery store, along with a red pen (so people could sign in "blood"). The cover read: Please Sign In, So We Know You Were Here (in case you don't return). Leave Riley your birthday wishes, Evil Spells, Gory Recipes, etc. I used a lot of our own Halloween decorations (stored in the garage) and bought CAUTION tape for the windows, doors, and trees outside. (You had to see people's reactions as they walked/biked passed the house). I ordered a grey creepy castle bounce house for the front yard ($80). And ordered the following from Oriental Trading: black, torn creepy cloth for the backyard fence, a graveyard backdrop (also for the fence), ghost garland for the front/back of the house, glow-in-the dark skeletons to hang from the trees, black balloons, etc. I ordered black plates, napkins, cutlery and cups from PartySecret.com (I love them, they are so reasonable), and picked up a helium tank from Target and black table cloths from Party City. We had the NBC DVD playing non-stop in the living room, the NBC music CD playing in the backyard, and had all of our Halloween books out on the coffee table, too.
FOOD/CAKE: We stuffed a pair of my husband's jeans with newspaper and put a huge can of tomato sauce in the seat of the pants (so it wouldn't move), tied the ends with red bandanas and placed our body-less corpse on the appetizer table (with the sign that said, You'll Lose You Head . . .). We made: Witch's Brew (apple cider), Spider Web Dip (7-layer dip with spider web in sour cream on top) served with blue corn tortilla chips (closest to black), Popcorn on the tables, Lock, Shock and Barrel Trick or Treat Chicken legs (named after characters from the movie), Mayor's Macaroni and Cheese (also a character), Sandy Claws' Sausage/Peppers with Italian rolls, Rotten Teeth (roasted corn on the BBQ with that tinge of brown on some of the kernels), Oogie Boogie's Corn Bread, Rotten Apples (apples cored and filled with butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup, then baked in the oven, cooled and served with a gummy worm out of the hole), Dr. Finkelstein's Brain Experiment (monkey bread - see AllRecipes.com - this was great because the kids/adults had to pick the brains to eat them - it was such a big hit that I included the easy recipe in the Thank You cards), Ghost Cookies (Nutter Butter cookies with marshmallow Fluff on top and two chocolate chips for eyes), and the main event was a Jack Skellington cake (WOW, did Riley love this - I made an 8" round cake for the head, frosted white, then used black decorator gel for the eyes, nose and mouth, then made a rectangular cake for the body. I used black sugar for the shirt (use thin strips of aluminum foil to make the stripes, sprinkle the black sugar, then removed the foil), I made his creepy bow tied and long, slender arms out of paper.
GAMES: We only played three games, since I knew the kids would be busy with the creepy castle bounce house. The first was Mummy Your Mommy - All the moms lined up and I passed out toilet paper to the kids. They had to wrap their moms up until their TP roll was finished. This was so much fun, especially if a Mom had more than one child and, hence, a lot of toilet paper (PS: I have three kids). We took a group photo at the end, which I included in the Thank You's. Each child received a prize for Mummy Making (a Ghost Tootsie Roll pop - covered in a tissue, tied with a black ribbon with a black marker spooky face). Then, we had a Slime Relay Race. I was going to make real slime out of food coloring, water and cornstarch, but decided against it since there were real little ones in attendance. This was the easier/cleaner method . . . I had 6 buckets: three had green food-colored water at the start and three were empty at the finish line. The kids stood in three teams, scooped up a cup of the green slime water and ran to the empty bucket, dumped it out, then ran back to the line and gave the cup to the next person. They did this until their starting bucket was empty. Of course, everyone won a prize (items I picked up from the $1 store - love that place).
The final game was really a Fear Factor-type game. I asked five of the Moms to stand in a line. They each held a brown shopping bag filled with scary stuff that the kids had to put their hands into (their was a large label on each bag so the kids knew they were about to touch eyes, hair, etc. They stood in line and one by one walked down a felt around each bag - no peeking, so staple the bag closed except for a spot to reach in. We had: Bones (carrots), Eyeballs (grapes or olives), Hair (corn silk saved from the Rotten Teeth above - this was the creepiest in my opinion), Ears (dried apricots), and Teeth (unpopped popcorn kernels). Then, when all the kids had reached into each bag, we sat them down and asked them what they thought was really inside. When they guessed, the Mom pulled out what they thought was inside. We handed out glow sticks to all the brave kids! We also had a game for the adults: Guess the number of pumpkin seeds in the jar. The winner took home a Halloween Recipe book.
GOODIE BAGS/FAVORS: These were regular brown lunch bags with a Jack Skellington label that read: Riley's 5th Birthday - July 1, 2006. Thank you for coming! I hope you had some eerie fun and enjoyed lots of ghoulishly-yummy goodies! They were filled with: stretchy skeletons, Halloween candy necklaces, skeletons in a coffin with goop, bat rings, (all from Oriental Trading) and pumpkin seeds. Of course, they also took home the three prizes they all won.
THANK YOU NOTES: This was a large downloaded picture of Oogie Boogie, cut out (fold his arms to see Thank You, then open them to reveal the Thank You note on his stomach). This was a great party! Most of the items we had from our own Halloween decorating, Oriental Trading, the Dollar Store, etc. Riley had a great time and all of his friends thought Halloween in July was a blast. I know there are a lot of kids asking for "brains" for breakfast now!