It’s funny how one minute, kids have the ability to make you feel older than you are, but can make you feel like a kid again the next.
Of course I prefer the latter, as we all do – and yesterday was one of those days. We had the best Halloween ever!
Now I know Halloween’s not an Australian tradition and some of us aren’t too keen on the event. I know it encourages exorbitant amounts of sweets to be purchased, then just tossed willy-nilly at any kid who knocks on your door. I knew Mr.4 would consume far too many lollies for his little body to cope with, that would send him soaring on the biggest sugar high of the year…with inevitable fall out.
But despite its flaws, I just love Halloween. And deciding to throw a Halloween party this year may’ve had something to do with me being in need of a party prep ‘fix’. Allow me to explain.
Mr.4’s birthday was in July and at the time, in the middle of winter and being chronically sleep-deprived, I couldn’t quite bear the thought of preparing for a party at home: deciding the cake, making the cake, the decorations, the party games, cleaning the house – to then have it trashed by 15-odd squealing four year olds and a handful of toddlers to clean up after.
So, I took the alternative route and booked a party at a local playcentre. For a couple of hundred bucks, we got a designated party leader who played games with the kids; we got party food, drinks, balloons, party bags. They handled everything. All I had to do was supply the cake. By this point, I was on such a roll with my outsourcing I decided to outsource even the cake, too. Yes, my birthday boy got a good old Peter’s icecream cake, straight out of the box.
He had a ball. He was happy. But was I?
Not really. In the end, I kind of wished I’d gone to the effort of having his party at home. Despite all the effort it entails – decorations, party food, party bags, the painstaking icing of the cake at 2am – I do enjoy the preparation that goes into kids’ parties.
And our Halloween party preparation was heaps of fun. We had black cobwebs and fake spiders in the hall, hung up pumpkin lanterns and black & orange balloons…and made a treasure chest out of an old cardboard box, for a treasure hunt for the kids.
As for the boys costumes, Mr.1 went as a butterfly, as it was probably my last chance to ever dress him up with wings and antennae without him complaining.
And also because he looked ridiculously cute.
Mr.4 was adamant for weeks he wanted to dress up as a jellyfish. He has a bit of fascination with them. Alternatives were available – Buzz Lightyear, Spiderman, Batman etc… even Captain Mack didn’t cut it. No, last month he saw a picture of a girl with a hugely disproportionate jellyfish hat on her head and decided that was it.
The kids all looked so cute in their outfits and scoffed down marshmallow eyeballs, licorice spider biscuits, monster cupcakes, bat-shaped cookies and chocolate coins out of the treasure chest. There was squealing and screaming and tears and chaos…and that was just the parents.
After the party, the Jellyfish wanted to go trick ‘o treating, so we went to some neighbours’ houses. Although it was windy – the hat blew off his head at one point – he proudly put it back on and kept on going. My little soldier, he’ll do anything for sugar.
And like any good party, it ended up with the kids in bed, exhausted, and us adults enjoying some laughs, good red wine, and takeaway pizza eaten straight from the box.
Yep, I’ve definitely learnt my lesson about parties. They’re worth every bit of effort!