Oct 9, 2009

Jack o lantern pinata

We just had a party for my oldest daughter, who turned five at the start of this month. Last year she wanted a "pirate-superhero-mermaid" party. There are some posts in the archives about things we did for that party, like the mermaid tails and jello pirate boats.

This year she was a little less, um, "alternative" in her requests, which made my life a whole lot easier. She told me a few weeks before her birthday that she wanted "a spooky halloween party with a superhero cake". Actually it started out as a "batman cake" but then she decided she wanted spiderman and superman too (that's for a later post though)

She's never been too interested in the getting presents aspect of birthdays, which to tell you the truth surprises me, and with each year that passes I always expect that the next one will be the year that she has her heart set on some inanimate object that she wants. So far though when people ask her what she wants for her birthday, the usual response is "a (insert weird idea here)party with all my friends", so that's why we make the effort with the parties.

Last year we made a non violent pinata, because the kids were all around three and four years old and weren't too hot with the whole batting thing. This year though I thought it would be ok to try a traditional beat the living hell out of it pinata.
Inspired by LiEr's hello kitty pinata over at Ikatbag, I decided the covered balloon would be the best way to go if I wanted the kids involved in making it.

We blew up one of the giant punchball balloons and covered it with about three layers of newspaper strips and watered down white glue. We did this on a really sunny day outside though and evidently the many years of physics education went out the window when I totally didn't figure that the balloon would expand in the heat and rip the layers of paper we were putting on. Bah! or rather BANG!

It wasn't too bad though. We patched it up and although the top looked a little gnarly, you couldn't tell by the time we had put a layer of butcher block paper on top and painted it orange. When we put the layer of butcher block paper on I used a flour and water mixture rather than the glue and water and honestly, that seemed to work just as well (and was obviously cheaper). Yes LiEr, that is an empty Nutella jar that the paint is in ;)

I drew a wee jack o lantern face on to go with the spooky halloween theme and then cut a couple of holes to thread a hanging rope through. I made the holes a little more sturdy by hot gluing a disposable ketchup cup in them (yes, I swipe ketchup cups from fast food places, sometimes even when people are looking)

After I'd sorted the rope to hang it, I covered the holes with some fake autumn leaves we had around (that little packet of leaves has been used in a lot of crafts over the year. Here, here and here, but now alas they are all gone)

The kids helped me to stuff the pinata with candy and shredded newspaper (the stuff out of the freaky scarecrow actually).

The verdict was that with three layers of newspaper and one of butcher's block paper, it stood up to about 20 minutes of pounding by 20 kids between the ages of 2 and 7, which was just right.

It was definately worth making a pinata, because the kids felt a whole lot of ownership over the project and got more and more excited in the build up to the party over making it. Far better than buying one from the store. Thank you LiEr for the hints and tips on making a pinata with just the right smashability rating.

My best mate back home wants one of Frank Sidebottom's head for her birthday. I think we may be up to the challenge.


Heather - Dollarstorecrafts.com said...

Have you heard of the five love languages? A theory that each person has a method of giving-receiving love that they most appreciate. (Physical touch, quality time, gifts, acts of service, words of affirmation)... sounds like your girl likes quality time!

LiEr said...

That is an awesome pinata! Way rounder than mine ever was, and smoooooother. You should've seen the bumps on mine from plastering that burst balloon. Your party guests look a fair bit older than ours so I'm betting you got a lot of good bludgeoning on the pumpkin. Hurrah! Thanks for the nutella jar photo --- oooo. (Although nutella jars without nutella in them make me a bit sad - sniff). I am glad your kids got to do this with you and thanks for sharing how well the flour-and-water method worked! I was paranoid about bugs and rats eating ours out in the garage as it dried. On hindsight I think I was just silly. Next time I'm using flour and water. Easier to clean up, too, I bet. What a fun post to read! Thank you!

LAURA said...

I love it, I'll have to try that for my sons birthday in a couple weeks!

Lindsey said...

Don't be sad about the Nutella LiEr. It was safe and sound IN MAH BELLEH!

I'd never heard of the five love languages Heather. I am very relieved that the kiddos want experiences rather than objects though. I just hope it lasts.

Karin said...

And I'd never heard of Frank Sidebottom (but did recognize the face when I googled him). I have no doubts you can do it!

The jack-o-lantern looked huge!!! How fun for hte kids.

(Also, loved the non-violent pinata. Hadn't heard of those either -- did you think it up? The slide release addition made it even better - wow.)

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

That is SO COOL! This would be so much fun at Halloween parties. I'll be linking.

Native American Momma said...

I never even thought of making my own pinata that is a great idea and so easy!

Miss Mossley said...

A loooooong time ago, someone made me a Frank Sidebottom head. I'll have to find you a picture...

Lindsey said...

Karin, yeah, I thought up the non violent pinata solution with the plate and coffe cup lid very late the night before the party. I was very surprised that it worked as well as it did. I was expecting it to either come apart with any string pulled, or the coffee cup come out without pulling the plate through, but it worked perfectly, so clearly I need to invent weird stuff at 2am more frequently.

Miss Mossley, I'd love to see a photo of your version of Frank Sidebottom's head! I have to make mine in the next few weeks!