Decorating for the holidays and hosting parties makes me so happy, even before I had a child. In all the MANY homes I've lived in from Detroit to Miami to LA to NYC.... I've always carried the reputation as the hostess with the most-est! Any excuse to spend endless afternoons at Home Goods I guess.
Although Jamila's first Halloween was last year, 2016, she was only 9 months old. So the big difference between this year and last year was that last year it was easier to keep her costume on when she was younger! More on that later!
I told myself I wasn't going to decorate much this Halloween because she wouldn't really understand, and I need to save some money as I'm in between jobs. Well, then I went into Michael's! All of the Halloween/Fall items were 70% off!!!! How can you beat that?! You can't! I ended up leaving with a scarecrow, barrels of hay, stickers, more stickers, felt pumpkins, wooden crafts, goodie bag stuffers and silicone baking pans! Bonus tip - when you're at Michael's - logon to their WiFi or go straight to their website and use any and all the coupons available ON TOP of the sales!
And that's how it started. Jamila wanted a scarecrow because a neighbor has one on their door. So that one scarecrow led to JAM-O-WEEN!
We already had plans to head to a pumpkin patch the following weekend, so I planned on grabbing pumpkins and extra goodies there! I managed to also squeeze in a quick trip to Party City to grab a few things like spider webs, cups, a few more goodie bag stuffers and orange string lights.
Check out our pics from Secor Farms in Mahwah, New Jersey. This place is great for younger kids! Mini and adult size corn mazes, Hay Ride and the prices for entry & pumpkins are not hiked up and super budget friendly!!! Only a 30 minute ride from NYC!
I definitely knew I had a few rules to start with - keep it under 6 kids (toddlers), no painting or glue (no thank you) and keep it short, 12-3!
I set up 2 small tables in the living room, one is her everyday Ikea table and the other was a small folding Costco table I got last year that fits right under your bed which came in handy. I bought one rectangular black table cloth from Party City that I was able to cut and use to cover both tables. Michael's had a bin of ribbons on sale as well, so I grabbed a black and white stripped one figuring I could do something with it, and I did... I cut a long piece and made it a table runner on the kids table.
For the dining table I found a felt black spider web table runner I purchased last year that was stored in my costume bin. Love when that happens! Got some sunflowers on sale at Whole Foods to add a nice touch.
At the patch the mini pumpkins were only $2 each, so I bought 6 white ones, one for each kiddie. I figured the white ones would work perfect for decorating with markers & stickers. I set these up on the kiddie tables as centerpieces on top of the striped runner. I also placed crayons and washable markers in gold and white spray painted mason jars that I saved from Jamila's NYC baby shower. I love to REUSE!
I also set up an activity stack for each kid across the tables. Each setup included stickers for the pumpkins and a wooden masks to color in. There was a variety of skeletons, draculas and frankenstiens, but I only purchased owls and cats as none of the kids were over 2 years old.
Honestly at this age the attention span for one activity is not very long. So there was a lot of running around and playing with other toys in the house which was expected and totally fine. I connected my Bose Color Sound Link Bluetooth speaker to my Apple Music and found Kids Dance Party - Halloween Jams to play. Of course no party is complete or Jamila without dancing to Watch Me Whip Watch Me Nae Nae!
First of all let's all be thankful for Pinterest! What did our parents do before Pinterest and Google? They actually had to think of all these creative ideas on their own? Ouch!
My two recreated pins were the mandarin orange pumpkins and the applesauce mummies! They ran out of white crepe paper (party streamers) at Michael's so I used toilet paper. Let me tell you, it worked just as great! I used a glue gun to secure the paper to the pouch at both ends. I bought a packet of the eye stickers for the kids to use for the pumpkins and also here. The mandarin oranges only needed a Sharpie! The trick here was to wash the oranges with water, actually rub them to get the waxy film off. If you don't do that, it's pretty tough to get the marker to stick.
Also for the kiddies I warmed up some mini cheese pizza rounds and organic chicken tenders - both were a big hit.
For the adults I kept it easy but pretty! Prosciutto, salami, cheeses, spreads, fig jam, salsa, guacamole, crackers, chips and strawberries. Sounds, looks and tastes so wonderful - but the best part is it's not a lot of work! I also had some mini cupcake bites that Jamila and I baked and decorated the night before.
I thought I had it all planned to the T. Last year I bought a flamingo costume on clearance after Halloween for Jamila in a 2T from Pottery Barn Kids. It is so fun! the headpiece reminds me of a vegas headpiece. She's been all about it all week. But of course, the day of the party, she wants nothing to do with it. I struggled all morning just to get her to wear the tutu dress with feathers. I eventually won (but did I?). Later during the party when I was not looking she removed her dress and decided she wanted to stay with no shirt and just her tights. You can't make this up! I tried to get her to wear her lamb costume from the year before (yes it fits - lucky girl) but she had a fit! So she stayed topless for a little while until I was able to get her to pick out a KISS t-shirt and unicorn pants. While all of her friends stayed in their costumes (dinosaur, bumble bee, Darth Vader, Steph Curry). I put something together quickly with what i had in my bin plus some face makeup. I was what you would get if a Lion and a leopard had a baby together! Any excuse to wear my huge blonde afro wig and gold fuzzy leg warmers!
These were a big hit! I kept them age friendly and also budget friendly! They included:
Annies Cheddar Bunnies, Welch's Fruit Snack Mini Bag, Star Sunglasses, Fake Fingers, Eyeball Ring, Bouncy Ball, Pumpkin & Spider Tattoos, Halloween Sticker Packet, Felt Spider Wooden Halloween Ornaments with Small Markers to Color In. They also took home their white pumpkins & wooden face masks they decorated, mandarin orange pumpkins and the mummy applesauce!