Halloween Hi-Jinks

The annual frolic of witches and goblins is fast approaching, and here’s just the party to celebrate it.

ATTENTION! All ghosts, goblins, Witches and black cats, take warning! It isn’t too early to start planning your Halloween activities, especially if you want to have a real old-fashioned party. The first thing you have to do is find a large tub; a wooden one would be perfect, but a plastic laundry tub would serve just as well. You’ll need reams of black and orange crepe paper for decorations, plus some real pumpkins, about one for each two guests. Give your friends at least two weeks to get ready for your party because you’ll want them to come in costume. Make each invitation from a rectangle of black construction paper, about eight and a half inches by five and a half inches and some orange construction paper, about eight by five. Fold the paper in half so that you have a four-page booklet with a black cover and orange pages. With an orange crayon, write “Halloween Party” on the cover of your invitation. With black crayon, write on the orange pages the time, date and place of the party plus the important information that guests are to come in costume. Don’t forget to include your name, so that everyone will know who their Halloween hostess will be on the festive occasion.

If you don’t want everyone dressed as a ghost or a witch, you might indicate what costumes you’d like your guests to wear. This may not be convenient for everybody, so it would be more tactful to let everyone choose his own costume. But be sure that you let your friends know that they must wear masks!

If at all possible, have your party in a room that can take a lot of damage. If your family has a playroom, that’s fine. If not, ask Mom if you can use the garage or a neighbor’s garage. Even if it means giving up a Saturday to clean it, it’s well worth the trouble!

For decorations, use black and orange crepe paper streamers draped from wall to wall. Black and orange balloons will add to the decor, and have some extra ones to use in the games. If you want to, and if your budget will allow it, you can also have one or two large black paper cats or witches tacked up on the wall.

Now the room is ready and your guests are arriving. They’ll want a few minutes to admire each other’s costumes, and, since they’re all masked, to figure out who’s who. You might have a prize for the best costume a mirror. The fairest way to judge the winner of this contest is to let all the guests vote. You might even have a prize for the first person who can identify all the other guests, despite their masks. Since the winner of this contest has to be a good detective, award her with a small magnifying glass.

To get your party off with a real bang, get out that large tub and fill it with water. (Only half full, please; we don’t want any floods!) Float about four or six inflated balloons in the tub and invite your guests, two or three at a time, to fish for them. Sounds easy? Not really, because they won’t be able to use their hands. They have to fish the balloons out with their teeth, and if any burst (the balloons, not the guests), it counts as minus ten points. Score five points for each balloon a guest can fish out of the tub in five minutes. The highest score wins, of course. And what would be a better prize than a bag of balloons of assorted colors and sizes! Be sure to have plenty of towels on hand for the losers. And you also have to have enough balloons to replace those that burst.

If you’re having ten or more guests, you can use two tubs. But those waiting their turn will have as much fun as the fishermen, so don’t worry about it. You might shorten the time limit to three minutes just about the length of a 78 rpm record or one song on an LP. Mom can be the time-keeper. Since this is an old-fashioned party, you must have a game of pin the tail on the cat. To liven the game up a bit, you might have a few balloons hung near the cat. Then when some one misses the mark, BANG!

For a quiet game, and one that will perk up your guests’ appetites, give everyone an apple. Each has to carve a face on it, but she can only use her teeth! Everyone is a winner in this game because everyone gets to eat her creation, but the one who has done the best job, in the opinion of all the guests, should get something extra a can of applesauce!

By this time everyone is really ready to eat; so bring on the refreshments. Apple cider and doughnuts are the traditional Halloween foods, but you may want to serve something more substantial. Witches’ sandwiches, made from cream cheese and jelly on brown bread, and devil’s delight, devilled ham on rye, will certainly be a hit with your guests. Top off the meal with the cider and doughnuts.

After the food has been cleared away, you’re ready for more entertainment. But this should be a relatively quiet time. Why not have Mom or Dad read one or two ghost stories? If you can arrange it, have only enough light in the room for €œthe reader to see imaginations always seem to work better in the dark.

If that doesn’t appeal to you, now is the time to make use of those pumpkins. To save time and mess, you might have them ready beforehand. Just slice off the top and scoop out the seeds and pulp inside. Provide each guest with a knife, but have them work in pairs two guests for every pumpkin. See who can make the funniest jack-o’lantern, the scariest, the one with the nicest smile, and so on. Let the guests judge the finished masterpieces, and award the winners with some modeling clay.

By now everyone is ready for an active game to bring the party to a rollicking close. What could be better, then, than a stroll along the witches’ walk? Send the guests through a darkened hallway, two by two. There they will encounter such things as clammy hands (rubber gloves half full of water), spider webs (string dangling in their faces), cold winds (a fan blowing over a bowl of ice cubes) and any other frightening tricks you can think up. A small blue electric bulb will give an eerie light that will be even more scary than utter darkness, and you might add to the fun by putting a large mirror at the opposite end of the hall. The guests, in costume, will think that some pretty weird creatures are coming toward them!

To make this fun for you, as well as for your guests, perhaps your father could set up the witches’ walk for you. Then even you wouldn’t know what to expect when you start down the hall!

By now your guests are willing to admit that yours was a great party, and you’ve had fun, too. What more can a hostess ask!