We threw a little shindig last year for the kids (our then daycare kids) and it went over amazing. It really wasn't much. I had decided to go for it with not much time to get anything together and I was just beginning my pregnancy with Katalin. We had some food, a few snacks, music, etc.. I cleared out one of the small barns (let me tell you about shoveling a barn load of horse poo when you're pregnant...) and we filled it with hay and hay-bales, a construction sign for a dance floor, some decorations, and music. Oh, and we had a rotating light thing that my husband and his brother put together in high school which shot little spots of colour everywhere.
Luckily, I had good help shoveling out the barn.
Getting the last of the stuff out there and running an extension cord and finishing hooking everything up the day of was terrible! It was pouring rain like you would not believe, the sky filled with thunder and lightning. We'd only put beads over the doorway (there is no door,) so we had to try to hang a tarp in the middle of this torrential downpour. Everything around the barn and the path to it turned into sludgy ankle-deep mud. We were drenched, tired, and cranky when the rest of the kids finally got home from school and we took them out.
We lit the jack-o-lanterns and rotating light, we turned the music on, doled out the party bags, and the kids had an absolute blast. It got hot and humid, the thunder crackled outside, the smell of the hay was pungent, and they danced, and danced, and laughed, and we read ghost stories and we ate yummy snacks and drank hot apple cider, and we didn't get to have the hayride we'd planned, but no one cared. And they didn't stop talking about it all year. When we closed our at-home daycare this past September, they were still begging to have another barn party. Who could say no?
The flash in these pictures really ruins the entire atmosphere, I will shoot for some better ones this year!
This year I'd like to have a bit more in the activities department. We will still definitely have the barn dance, but since we will be having the party on the weekend we will also have a bit more time to work with, as it won't be after school. Last year we had PB&J pieces, carrot sticks, ants-on-a-log, some candy we put in their treat bags, and cider. These actually were great finger food, but I would like to add a little bit of theme to the snacks this year.
So far I am thinking I will add spiders crackers and some kind of decorated cupcakes or cookies. The spider crackers are cute and easy, you put peanut butter between two round cracker and stick pretzel sticks in for legs. Then peanut butter a couple chocolate chips on for eyes. Activities I have so far:
- barn dance
- hay ride - weather permitting, we have an old cart that we can pull with the gator we can borrow from my father-in-law
- "pin the tail on the black cat"
- "fence walk relay" - split into two teams and take turns going across our balance beam, which is the padded rail off an old waterbed.
- painting paper mache pumpkins which I will make ahead of time
- "eyeball obstacle relay" - I will marker a couple ping pong balls to look like eyeballs, then split them into two teams and have them balance the "eyeballs" on a spoon and run an obstacle course
- lots of stuff to decorate treat bags
I'm still trying to get it all figured out, and looking for more ideas. So if you have any, please let me know! We will have perhaps around 16 kids ranging from 2 1/2 to 13.