Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Party

One thing I really get into is entertaining.  I love to have people at my house and I love to think (hope) that they like to come to my house.   Birthday parties are a big deal at our house.  Here is one of my favorites!

Summer birthdays are easy and fun, but what to do when you have a birthday that falls in the colder months?  My oldest daughter's birthday is November 1 and I just happen to love autumn!  I love to see the leaves change their color.  I love the warm days and the cool, nippy wind.  I like it that it's not quite cold enough to wear a winter coat, but you do need a sweater or a hoodie to keep warm.  There's nothing like it.  And don't forget some hot chocolate or some hot tea to keep you warm!!  I love autumn, so this is definitely one of my favorite parties I ever gave my kids!

photo credit

The Preparation:
Tell every one to dress warm and bring $3.  Then load everyone up in a big van (or a bus depending on how many kids you have at the party) and take them to the pumpkin patch.  You can usually get a good size pumpkin for around $3 and if they want a bigger one that between them and their parents.  ~(Or you can buy all the pumpkins and send them home as your party favors.)  OR you could have everyone meet at the pumpkin patch and have the whole party there.  That would save you from needing to provide transportation and it would save a mess at your house.~  I chose to do some of it at my house so I could have more food and a fire in the fire place!  Did I mention I love fall?

Call or visit the pumpkin patch ahead of time and be sure it's the right place for you.  You will need to be sure they don't mind you bringing a group of kids out especially if you are doing the whole party there at the pumpkin patch.  Check available dates and times when they are available.  There are plenty of things to do at most pumpkin patches.  If you have older kids you can do a corn maze at night.  Corn mazes are way more fun in the dark.  For younger kids you can do a hay maze.  Day time is fine for that...and warmer too.  Compare all of the pumpkin patches in your area and see what deals they can offer you and what different things they have to offer as well.  Hay rides, corn maze. and nature hikes are a few of the things that our local farmer has to offer.  Be sure to get the group rate too!

The Party:
  • Have fun at the pumpkin patch and then go home to eat. 
  •  Have kids paint their pumpkins while someone is preparing food and drinks.  Use an old shower curtain liner or drop cloth to paint the pumpkins on. 
  •  Label all pumpkins and let them dry while everyone is eating.  If possible and if the weather permits you can let the kids eat outside to save a mess.  If not, do what we did and eat inside beside the fire place. 
  • When the meal is over let the kids jump in the leaves, drink hot chocolate or eat caramel apples until it's time to go home.  

The Decorations:
  • Blue plastic table cover
  • Orange and brown plates, bowls, cups, napkins and cutlery
  • Fall leaves can be sprinkled down the center of the table.  Silk..not real..we don't want bugs and dirt at our party.  :)
  • Acorns, pine cones and a caramel apple wrapped in plastic and tied with pretty ribbon would look nice on the table too.  (I made a caramel apple for each guest and put it on their plate.  That was their party favor to take home with them.)
  • If you have a fire place a fire would be an excellent way to add to the decor.
  • photo credit
  • A scare crow on the front porch holding some balloons and cake with candy corn pumpkins on top finished up my decorations.  Plain and simple!
The Menu:
  • Chili in a crock pot
  • Hot dogs in another crock pot
  • Carrot Cake with candy corn pumpkins on it
  • Chips and dip
  • Hot chocolate or hot apple cider to drink
  • For an added bonus you could make smores in the fire place
  • Caramel apples or popcorn balls on a stick

The Invitations:

You are invited to our Pumpkin Patch Party!   We will all meet at (child's name)'s house and from there we will be heading out to the Pumpkin Patch! 
Phone Number: 111-111-1111  Please feel free to call with any questions.
Instructions:  Be sure to dress in warm clothes.  We will be painting pumpkins, so please bring a shirt or an apron or wear clothes that you can paint in. 

(I always include a copy of the menu in case there are allergy issues I need to be aware of.  In such a case, I let the parents know that they are more than welcome to send substitutions for their child.)

  • Be ready before the party begins.  Have the house cleaned and the table decorated.  The crock pots loaded and getting ready. 
  • Ask for help if you need it to get children to the pumpkin patch. 
  • Be sure you tell everyone to dress warm if it's cold out!
  • Make sure none of your party-goers are allergic to hay since there will more than likely be hay around.  And be sure there are no food allergies while you're at it!  I always include a menu with the invitation so that parents are aware of what their children will be eating.  They can send something else if the child is allergic to something I'm serving. 
  • I always make my own invitations on the computer.  It's more personal.  They look the way I want them to.  (My husband just happens to be excellent at that type of thing!)  It saves the time writing all the information over and over and it saves money too.  Just be simple and creative.  You can hand out half sheets of paper and be simple or you can put them all on construction paper and add raffia bows and little sunflowers to add dimension.
  • Most pumpkin patches close after Halloween.  Be sure you get your party in before October is finished even if you have a November birthday.  It's well worth it!
  • Don't stress out!  Make it fun for everyone.  Be simple.  Remember the real fun of this party is not the decorations.  It's the out-doors and the fun of the season! 
  • Be creative and do your own thing.  Make it unique.  Make it yours!
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