Come To My Halloween Birthday Party!

I have this extremely sweet little party planning book from the late sixties (it’s called Come To My Birthday Party), and every event in the volume has been submitted by a real mother from the era.  Now and then I like to share one with you, and no time is more perfect than now for the “Halloween Tricks and Treats Party!”

The Halloween Party Plan

The Halloween Party Plan

This little Fall fete is perfect for me and the way I do Halloween– happy pumpkins and family fun!  I’m not much of a fan of creepy things or being scared, but I have always loved the holiday because of candy and the excuse to dress up.  I mean, c’mon!  Candy!  Costumes!  How could you keep me away?!  Plus, there is a magic about Halloween– it *feels* tangibly different from the other special occasions, especially to a child.  It’s getting darker earlier, the weather is cool, the leaves are crispy and vivid….  It’s special.

(If you wish to see the text in any of these pics more clearly, clicking on the pics several times should help.)

Party By Mrs Jackie Olmstead

Party By Mrs Jackie Olmstead

This party was submitted by Mrs Jackie Olmstead, and is recommended for children 4-6 years old.  I have a six (and a half) year-old right now, so I feel like maybe I have some insight into this age group.  She says, “Some people feel sorry that a birthday comes right near Halloween.  We’ve never felt that way, because each year we have a good theme to use for the party, but we can vary it every year.”  That’s so true, you can certainly amp-up the creep factor as the kids get a little more mature, teens love an excuse to hold hands in the dark!  And as a young person, some of the best parties I ever went to were at a friend’s farm in the month of October, Virgina’s family always held the most massive hayride!  Lots of fun to be branched into for this autumn holiday.


“You can easily make your own, of course, but the stores have such a wide variety for the Halloween theme, we usually buy them with the paper tablecloth, plates, cups, and napkins.”  Hmm… here I’ve been hyping these ideas as so original and smart, and there is zilcho learned right here.  Sorry.


Miss Jackie again pawns some of the decor off on store bought gew-gaws (imagine what this woman would do with a dollar store!), but after that she *does* come up with some sweet options.  Like these ideas:  “For a centerpiece on the table, I hollowed out a fresh pumpkin and put a bowl of chrysanthemums inside.  If you want something good and scarey (sic), try painting an old bowl black.  Then get dry ice and put chunks of it in water.  You’ll have a billowy witches’ brew for the table that should bring squeals of delight from the youngsters.”

She also mentions wrapping cupcake liners with orange construction paper that’s been decorated to look like a jack-o-lanterns, in order to make nut cups.  Does anybody still do nut cups anymore?  They *are* classic.  And that image in the book!  Again with the kids named “Bob.”  So sixties.  (Fifty years from now they will be look at the party planning ideas from our time, saying, “Jaden is such an old-fashioned name!”)

Decor Tippies

Decor Tippies– Why Does “Corn Candy” Make It Sound So Funny?


Why Is She Giving Them Easter Puzzles?

Why Is She Giving Them Easter Puzzles?

Miss Jackie’s activities ideas are sort of ‘Meh.’  They aren’t really Halloweenish at all, and “Drop the Handkerchief” is a little over my head, so I would imagine that the average kindergartener would be lost.  The first thing she recommends is making a paper hat from the Sunday comics page.  I would have gone with something more along the lines of having the kids come in costume, and then having them color a mask, or maybe make trick-or-treat bag at a big activity table.  You could follow with a sort of runway show where you hand the kid an echo mic and one-by-one, the kids tell about their costumes.  If I remember my kiddo the last few Autumns, all he wants to *do* is tell you about the Halloween costume he’s chosen.

She then details a couple of games, the aforementioned hankie game, and an additional one that is sort of interesting– although I’d be tempted to use an orange ball and call it “Punkin Chunkin” rather than “Chipped, Cracked, and Broken.”  She says, “The children stand in a circle with one in the center.  (I would go with a teenaged sibling or a parent, really.)  The center one throws a ball to the children in turn.  The first time they drop it they are chipped.  The second time, they are cracked.  The third time they are broken and (I would go with “chunked”) out of the game.   The last one left gets a prize.”

For the last game, she says to give each kid an envelope with a puzzle in it when they all come inside from their activities.  She has them put together the puzzle right then, and it becomes a favor for them to take home.  First kid to get finished gets to pick a trick– kidding, a goodie from the plastic pumpkin of inexpensive prizes.


Ohmigod, ya’ll, it’s nuggets like these upcoming tidbits that are why I do segments from this book!  I always pre-read through these, and these last two paragraphs had me giggling so hard!  Also– I always feed the kids something more substantial before sweets, and this seems to be mostly true for Fox’s peers, surely this is not a recent thing?

For the refreshments, Mrs. Olmstead crams ’em full of “ice cream, cake and punch… particularly if they’re on the fancy side.”  No indication of what counts as fancy version of punch, although I would guess you should go with something orange.  Does coca-cola count as black?  Too bad the carbonation makes it so hard to pousse-cafe, a layered black and orange drink would be sooo fancy!

As for cake, “A round, two layer cake with orange frosting looks exactly like a jack-o-lantern when you add pieces of black gumdrops for a face.”  Ooh, this reminds me– I’ve seen on pinterest the idea of doing two bundts stacked with their bottoms together, frosted in orange, with a green cake cone  inserted in the center as a stem.  SO.  CUTE. (Does anyone think of the mom in My Big Fat Greek Wedding  with the bundts?  I can’t help but say it like it’s a word I’ve never heard before.)


Okay, so this next part is the bit I loved the most.  Talk about weird!  “I still like to bake nickels, dimes, and pennies into the cake so each child gets a special surprise.  (Wrap them first in wax paper and be careful to distribute them evenly.)  Have some extras on hand in case one child doesn’t get one.”  STILL?!  It’s sounds as if someone has advised her against it.  That’s her note in the parentheses this time, not mine.  How exciting?!  I can just see it now, “Hey!  My cake has a lump of wax paper in it!  And five cents!  Ew, Mom, I want another piece of cake, please.”  Money is so… dirty.  Yark.  This tip, wow.

Fun For The Foodies

Fun For The Foodies

She also says, “If you have a freezer, try round scoops of vanilla ice cream in a dish (or cone) with bits of chocolate to make a face and a green gumdrop for a hat.  These are very colorful and a delight to the children.  Or you could use orange sherbet and a black gumdrop if you’re not sick of orange and black by this time.  They do take a little time though, and take a fair amount of space in the freezer.”  *IF* you have a freezer?  Lordy.  If you don’t have a freezer– call Chuck E. Cheese or something, I can’t imagine you pulling of a party for a mob of  sugar-surly five year-olds, you have greater problems.  And I can hardly see vanilla with a chocolate face and solitary gumdrop as being ‘colorful,’ (or fancy!) so I’m glad she follows with the tip about the sherbet.  I’d likely go with the pumpkin theme one last time and do little orange sherbet scoops ahead of time in (Halloween-themed) paper cupcake liners, with chocolate chip faces and a green gumdrop ‘stem.’  Although I worry that gumdrops that have been frozen may be impossibly hard on the teeth.  Not as hard as nickels!

Ah, Mrs Olmstead, you’ve been a real hoot…  It’s any wonder any of our parents made it to procreate, what with mom’s baking wads of waxed paper and coin money into the sweets.  Ugh, little Billy’s birthday could have gotten really ugly!  Anyway, I hope that there is one or two useable ideas here for you, I think I like the overall theme a little more than her specific ideas about it, but they all can’t be winners!  Tune in next month, when I choose *another* swell event from this adorable book, and hopefully we get some better ideas on partying!


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