Pumpkin Carving Party

Yesterday we had our annual block Pumpkin Carving Party. This is a party that I've coordinated since we all moved here six years ago - wow, time has flown by! I tried to find photos from the first couple of years, but unfortunately that was back when I didn't take many photos. Now I'm bummed.

To view all the photos from this party click here.

Photos from the past:

2003 (pre-third child days)




This party is a highlight of my year. I guess because it kinda officially kicks off the holidays. Next thing you know it is Thanksgiving, then Christmas.

I wasn't even sure we were going to be able to go forward with the party due to the So Cal fires which made the air quality here in Orange County unbearable. Kids were home from school on Thurs. & Friday. But Saturday, thank goodness came some drizzling and a breeze which brought back our beautiful weather and were able to come outside again.

How To:

If you would like to plan a Pumpkin Carving Party here are some party tips:
  • Send out an Evite to your friends, family or neighbors letting them know the date and time. We also have a Chili Cook-Off and have a couple of pots of chili, hot dogs, pizza, salad and desserts. You can set-up in Evite which food assignments you need for your potluck. Also assign someone to bring paper goods such as napkins, bowls, plates, plasticware.
  • Everyone is BYOBeverages and a snack to share during the carving time.
  • Everyone needs to bring their table, chairs, table cover or newspapers, pumpkin carving tools, garbage bags, hand or diaper wipes, tea light candle and of course, their pumpkins. And their camera!
  • Ask everyone to wear colors such as black, orange or Halloween theme T-shirts.
  • We've done activities such as Halloween tattoos, crafts from Oriental Trading, cookie decorating, bounce the eyeball game etc. I was going to try to do face painting this year, but time got away.
  • For a yummy "Screamcicle" drink, last year I filled a large pickle jar with a quart of softened vanilla ice cream and a 2liter bottle of orange soda (or was it two bottles?). Stir until the ice cream is mixed. Yummy!
  • Gotta have music! To set the party atmosphere, play Halloween CD's. One of my favorite ones is Kid's Halloween Costume Party CD.
  • For the past two years, (this is in lieu of an apple dunking game), I've done a donut eating contest which has become a huge hit with the kids. Simply tie a small rope across two poles or trees. Cut curly ribbon to hang from the rope. Then tie on powdered "Ghostly Donuts" to the ribbon thru the hole, at different heights. The kids have to have their hands behind their backs to eat the donut. It is sooooo funny! They love it!

  • Then at the end of the party, we line up the carved pumpkins and had out small labels that I've printed on Avery 8167 size, that say Most Unique, Most Scary, Most Funny, Most Creative and everyone can put their stickers on the pumpkins as sort of a contest. Everyone wins!

It's a great party.....


Really Cute Personalized Plates

I've gotten emails requesting where you can get the personalized plate that was from Isabelle's First Birthday Party.

You can order custom plates and other really cute items at Timree's.


Isabelle's First Birthday Party

It was a lot of fun planning Isabelle's First Birthday Party. I've done First Birthday Parties before....my own kids.

The mom wanted a party that was cute and elegant. So to come up with new ideas for this party was a fun challenge. What I mean by challenge is how to make a cute, "elegant" party for wee little ones - mostly two years and under. Snacks for little hands were provided, and sippy cups were at each setting. I fluffed up the Birthday Girl's high chair with pink organza and marabou trim around the tray. Initially, I wanted to have a lady come out and do child's hand impressions in clay, but it would have gotten rather pricey. So I came up with the idea to have them have painted hand and foot on canvas boards as an activity and take home favor. It was so much fun painting their chubby little hands and feet! Then I sprayed it with a paint sealer.

The take home goodie bags consisted of a custom photo cookie that I did the photo graphic and had made by Schmerty's Gourmet Cookies. They are wonderful at this bakery and very quick with shipping! Then I made "The Best Homemade Play Dough" in pink and green colors presented in a jar with a personalized label and a copy of the play dough recipe.

I decided to use my new thrift find that I painted, add a foam ball covered in silk flowers and ribbon. I think it was either a votive holder or my friend thinks it is a wine bottle holder. Then made paper cones from 12x12" scrapbook paper.

Here is the before and after of my cone holder:

Click here to view my photos from this event. The client had their professional photographer there, as they did a family portrait before the party. It was such a pleasure to see Melinda Kim in action and I can't wait to get the images of the party that she took - they looked amazing from what I could see in her view screen! Will post the photos later when I get them.

Here is the recipe for the play dough, the cream of tartar is what makes this one the most like the real thing:

The Best (and Baby Safe) Homemade Play Dough Recipe
4 cups flour
4 cups water
1 cup salt
1/2 cup cream of tartar (approx. a 2.5 oz. size)
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Variation: Add one package of unsweetened powdered Kool-Aid while mixing. This will give it a nice smell and will add a slight color to it.

Mix all ingredients in a large sauce pan. Heat and stir over low to medium heat, use a whisk to get out flour lumps. Continue to stir – consistency will first look like cake batter, then lumpy then clumpy. Stir until it becomes dough, completely formed and no longer sticky. Allow to cool slightly, knead a little bit to form a big ball before storing in an air tight container or zippy bag.

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