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Go Back Forums > Holidays & Occasions > Holidays > Halloween > Alternative Party Ideas

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Old 09-20-2005, 08:17 PM
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Lightbulb "Harvest" Party

The last 2 years we have held a "harvest party" at halloween time. We invite a few of our kids best friends'families- and the whole famiy is expected to show up in the spirit! It has been so much fun! There are kids and adults of nearly every age. We have only a couple rules: every family brings 2 bags of candy (or 1 bag and a refreshment), no scary costumes at all since there are many little ones that would not understand, and everyone plays at least one game... the kids have to play them all.
I'll tell you below how we've done it in the past, but first: here is my question: What other themes would be good for a party like this? ...themes so the costumes and decorations have a connection. OR~~~Do you think that a party like this is best not to have a theme at all?? What theme parties have you gone to that you loved...or hated?? Please share why you felt that way! We have been debating the pros & cons of doing a theme this year, and we'd love to have your opinions and ideas!! Do you have game ideas to share?? We could use them too!

The first year we had the children come dressed as whatever they wanted with the exception of scary costumes. Last year we tried a harvest theme- all garden related costumes. It turned out great! We had farmers, all kinds of veggies and animals. Even though some people dressed as the "same thing" the kids loved it because no 2 costumes were alike. There were all kinds of dress up: store bought, home-made, kid-made. We even had a dress up box by the door for the few kids and adults that didn't come with something, or wanted to look for accessories. The dress up box has been there every year with rave reviews.
Decorating was a snap with a theme, too. I took some time to look up little known facts about the origins of halloween, harvest time, and facts about the treats we usually give out. I put the things I found on decorations the item...for example: on the tag of a giant (foil-covered cardboard) hershey kiss was written how many hershey kiss bags are sold in October. Pumpkin cut-outs were hung from the celing with a face on one side, and the other side told when the tradition began. Other things like this were all over the house. It looked cute and the adults who detest active games still were amused by each decoration they came across. Plus the kids thought it was really cool to know how many pounds of tootsie rolls were consumed on Halloween night in the US!
We play lots of games. Generally I do a search online every year to come up with new games that are in-door/out-door friendly. (We live in Northern NY and you never know how the weather will be on Halloween.) While we do have some favorites that we love to re-use, it would be boring if all games were the same year to year. For our afternoon of fun active group games are key! Even grown ups can get into a game when food is involved- LOL We try to stear away from tons of games that are "one player" but we always work in the old favorite of bobbing for apples. We time the kids, and the lowest time wins a giant tootsie roll or something like that.
For the candy extravaganza~~~~All the candy that is brought in is put into grab-bags equally, and leftovers are put in dishes to munch on through the night. If any dish is not empty when it's time to go home then its goodies get added to the kids stash for home. Also, I get extra treats to give as prizes for the games so the kids feel like there's a reward for friendly competition. Using these guides, everyone usually goes home with at least as much candy as their family brought and all kids get about the same amount of treats.
I thought I'd share what worked for us in the past, and see if you'd share what worked for you. What parties have you liked the best? What are your thoughts on trick-or-treating these days? Should parties be at night as an alternative to trick-or-treating, or during the day in addition to trick-or-treating? Also, if you want game ideas email me! I've got lots that we've tried before- just always looking for new ones to mix it up.
"In my distress I cried to the Lord, and He heard me" Psalm 120:1 ...He will always hear you
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Old 09-25-2005, 05:22 PM
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One church that we used to go to did easy carnival-type games but they only involved one person to play at a time. They did a "fishing for candy" game, ball and ring tosses. I can't remember any others except that they also had a booth where they could decorate a cookie with different colors of frosting, sprinkles, etc. Oh, they also had several families donate cakes and did a cake walk. Since it was a church they tried to get the kids to dress up as Bible characters but that didn't go over so after that they would just say no scary costumes. A fall theme is great and I don't know what other theme would be fitting that would not be too difficult to find or make costumes for. This was not at a Halloween party but one place I worked they had a "Funny Hat Day" and a "Slipper" day. Now I'm picturing a pumpkin wearing fuzzy slippers, lol!

I think that group parties are better and safer than trick-or-treating these days and both a party and trick-or-treating seems like a lot since the kids would end up getting too much candy.
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Old 10-13-2005, 12:19 PM
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I think thats a GREAT Idea and I wish someone we knew did this every yr. How fun!! I am going to think about doing this every yr. its just costly for us and right now!

I welcome any ideas too anyone has to help me [email protected]@ THANKS
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Old 10-13-2005, 07:16 PM
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Pinkie Winky Shouldn't cost much...

I just thought I'd let you know that this really didn't cost me too much. I always bought a bag or 2 of candy each week from the end of September- so I wouldn't feel the "punch" all at once. Then like I said, every family brings some to mix in. My kids and I made the snacks (cookies, etc) and if any friends have a finger food that is their specialty, I ask them to bring enough to share. Others who are non-cooks bring juice, cider or chips.

Decorations are always home-grown, too. I have the bonus of living in the country, so we just use corn stalks & pumpkins (and whatever else I can find that works) from the garden. Stuff on the walls is just decorated posterboard or cardboard, scraps of fabric and other do-dads that we throw together over the week before the "big day". The first year was the most hectic because I tried to get the whole thing ready the morning of the party instead of pacing myself.

I keep my eyes open for games all year- birthday party games, shower games, reunion games- can all be altered a little to fit a dress-up party! I NEVER spend money on games- I mean, I guess I bought 2 dozen doughnuts and some crepe paper, apples to bob for- but other than that I can't think of anything I had to buy for games.

All in all, its about how much fun you and the kids have. It isn't about making a good impression or becoming the next budding Martha Stewart. All you need is imagination, odds & ends (plus elbow grease to put them together), and friends... well, candy doesn't hurt either! LOL
"In my distress I cried to the Lord, and He heard me" Psalm 120:1 ...He will always hear you
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Old 10-21-2005, 05:11 PM
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Yeah thats true! Would be nice to live by you..we could do it together!
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Old 09-20-2009, 10:37 AM
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I think that it would be fun to have an all-pumpkin themed party.

If you want to play games, you could set up a bowling game using small pumpkins, throw bean bags through a big jack o lantern and have a pumpkin decorating contest.

You could serve all sorts of pumpkin foods. Decorating would be easy with pumpkins, fall colored leaves and bails of straw. Maybe even add a few scarecrows.

Little ones could take part in a coloring contest. I would be easy to print out pumpkin faces.


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Old 09-20-2009, 01:59 PM
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I am so ready 2 attend all of them from the looks of the posts below......NOW, who was it that invited me???? LOL
In order to find his equal, an Irishman is forced to talk to God... Stephen Braveheart
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