Oct 31, 2008

Milk Jug trick or treat pumpkin pots

We did a craft a little while ago using plastic gallon milk jugs that I haven't blogged about yet (it's on it's way though), and we found ourselves with several left over jugs that friends had rescued from thier recycling for us. These, I thought, might make freaky looking Jack O lanterns.

We painted up four of them because I had two of my little girl's friends over at the time. The kids used orange acrylic paint, which I was worried might be a bit harder than the usual kiddy paint to clean up, but it was ok and in the end it was lucky that we did because it looks like trick or treating is going to be a bit rainy tonight.

Once the milk jugs were dry I cut a hole in the back by the handle for the treats to go in and gave the kids some white glue and a load of random bits of stuff we had around to turn thm into jack o lanterns. We had some green pipecleaners, some leaf shapes, I cut out from black eyes and mouths and some green tissue paper wrapped over the lids.

They look kind of cool with torches in them too.

My girls used them this morning at thier preschool halloween parade and they are going to use them again tonight.

Oct 28, 2008

Jello Boats

I wanted to Say Jelly Boats, but well, when in Rome and all that.
This one is in honour (with a u because she's British) of my mate Alice. She made this totally fab dessert for my 30th birthday party. I gave it a whirl for our local community halloween potluck party.


1) Cut oranges in half and scoop out the guts. Fill the orange halves with jello and pop in the fridge to set.

2) Alice used wooden coctail sticks for the masts on her boats, but I didn't have any, so I cut some weeny little red drinking straws in half.

3) I printed out a page of mini jolly roger flags to glue on top and then just skewered a triange of white paper for the sails.

4) When the jello has totally set, cut each orange half in half again and pop a mast and flag in each.
Yay! Beware of the aftermath though. You may need several wet wipes, or a cage and a hose.

...and now make your family drink nothing but fresh orange juice until it starts coming out of thier ears.

Oct 19, 2008

Paper Pirate Swords

A while ago I figured out how to make cute little rapier type swords from rolled up tubes of newspaper. I added the revelation to the bottom of another blog post here. Well, we whipped up a few of them for the pirate-superhero-mermaid party.
Each sword is two sheets of newspaper rolled up on the diagonal and folded over and taped to make the handle, then an oval of cardboard for the hilt and a couple of strips of cardboard wrapped around the bottom of the blade and taped to keep the hilt on. I had about half a can of white spray paint and a tiny amount of silver spray paint left over from another project, so I sprayed the swords with what was left to cover up the newsprint a bit. They weren't exactly silver, but none of the kids seemed to care. I decorated each of the hilts a little differently with a silver marker pen.
The kids had a whale of a time with the swords and no one was hurt at all at the party. Paul was somewhat picked on, but he's a big boy and at 32 I think he could handle it. I love the picture of him on the phone trying to give one of our mates directions to the park we were at, whilst fending off a hoard of pirate mermaid superheros!

Oct 17, 2008

Homemade non violent piniata

Piniatas are very popular at birthday parties around here and my oldest daughter was keen to have one at her party, but based on past experience, when you have multiple kids and only one wiffle bat and piniata it's hard to keep everyone unmaimed.

I had a look for a pirate/mermaid/superhero themed pull string piniata at our local store, but all the ones with the right theme were the beat the living hell out of it variety, so I made one the night before the party instead.

There was no time for papier mache nonsense, so the body of the treasure chest was made from turning a big big multibag cereal box inside out. Then I attached another bit of cardboard to form the curved lid. The pull string mechanism was cobbled together from a polystyrene plate and the plastic lid of a coffee cup. You can kind of see from the pictures how it's put together.

I cut a hole in the plate, big enough that the cup lid would sit in it snugly, then tied the "winning string" onto the spoon hole of the lid, then threaded it around the plate and back through the spoon hole. All the other strings were taped loosly to the outside of the plate and fed through the spoon hole too, so that only the winning string would pull the plate out and leave a big hole in the bottom of the piniata for the presents to fall out of.

Paul and Jessen had the lovely idea on the day of tying the piniata to the top of the slide, so each kid could choose a string, hold onto it and slide down the slide to pull it, then the winning string made all the sweets and toys cascade down the slide too. Lots of fun!

Milk jug bat masks

My blog posts have been a bit higgldy piggldy this month. You see, we made a family trip back to the homeland (UK), but now we're back in the US and have come to terms with the jetlag, so I have gradually been getting my act together to post about some of the things we did for my now four year old's birthday party that we had a couple of days before we left for the UK.

You might remember from a previous post that the chosen theme was "pirate-mermaid-superhero", or as was pointed out by a mate of mine "PMS". Nice.

So, as part of the superhero bit we made a few batman type masks for the kids to wear. I've seen lots of masks made from plastic gallon milk containers about on the web, but it crossed my mind that if I incorporated the sides of the container and folded them up on themselves then they would make nifty bat ears, so after pestering freinds to save thier milk containers for me, I cut out a load with an exacto knife and then sprayed them black with some plastic spray paint. A bit of elastic to hold them on and Voila!