Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ben's 5th Birthday Halloween Party

As a child I became sick to my stomach at every single birthday party I had, perhaps the first sign of anxiety. The thought of all those people coming over, and having to be in the spotlight, and be a courteous host, and a gracious gift recipient just freaked me out. I would vomit. Or spend the entire day feeling like I might. End of good times for the birthday girl.
As an adult, the same anxiety exists. Having people over always sounds like a great idea to me. I love to decorate, plan, make kitschy little favors, bake, share my food and home, but something about having to be a good host freaks my shit out. Will my home present itself as clean enough? Will I keep all my hairs, the dog's hair, and all five cats out of the food long enough to serve it to people? Will my kids behave, and say the right thing when they get gifts? Just writing it about makes my stomach turn.
It doesn't help that my mother was an party host overachiever. A triple layer clown cake when I was 9, a full on 50's style poodle skirt party and sleepover when I was 10, a 100+ person surprise pool party with a luau theme when I was 11... need I say more? Funny thing was, she had the help of lots of local family, and I'm here in Wisconsin, far from my super mom, or anyone else for that matter. I'm not good at asking for help, but I did utilize my few friends here as best I could... still not the same as having my mom do it all for me, right?
So there I was. Pressure on from my mom, to throw my kids a birthday party. We usually just have cake with the 4 of us, open a few presents, call it a day. Ben was going to turn 5, and even I though he might like a party.
I decided Halloween theme would be fun for me, and also a blast for the kids, something I could handle, because I have such a deep love for all things Halloweeny. I made sure to do things my way, incuding my strengths-baking, and crafting. I had a very limited budget, and some high expectations. As hard as it was I kept the party to 8 kids, chosing to not invite the whole preschool class. Not only was money tight, but I kept thinking unpredictable October weather could have 2 dozen kids in our small home = no bueno. In the end, with the help of craft magazines and dollar store, I think I accomplished my goal, and Ben had a great day.

Here are all the kiddies just after they arrived:

Pumpkin-shaped cheeseball.
Halloween cookies made w/ some vintage cookie cutters.
Party favors in my handmade cones.
I love cupcakes!!

Hunter was thrilled to be Buzz!
McKenzie made an adorable witch in her mom's vintage costume.

Ben loved hitting the pinata. I picked it up at Target. The darn thing fell without breaking 5-6 times, having been poorly attached to it's hanger. The temperature was only about 43 outside, so my stomach turned as we had to reattach the pinata over and over again and the cold wind howled.

Time for presents.

My fears were confronted when Ben threw a book aside and dashed for the next present. I had to call him out in the middle of the room and remind him to be thankful, and take a good look at the cool book. So embarassed.

I pre-made all the eyes, noses and mouths for these pumpkins with my girlfriend Casey. The kids picked their own pieces and peeled the homemade stickers off the back and attached them to the funkins. No mess! They turned out so cute! My favorite part: the kids can keep them forever.

Thanks for all the goodies and help, ladies!

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