List compiled by Zirconia Alleyne
The whirlwind of fall and winter holidays is approaching bringing along with it lots of festive parties with family, friends and coworkers.
No one wants to host or attend an awkwardly boring get-together, so it’s best to plan out a few games or crafts to do before your guests arrive.
Searching the web for good ideas can take hours, so we decided to gather a few suggestions from Pinterest to get you started.
Our first craft suggestion can be used at any holiday gathering this season. Take a roll of tape and make a tic-tac-toe board on top of a table. Simple, right?
Get six mini pumpkins (that you picked at a local pumpkin patch) and spray paint three of them white. These will be used as the X’s and O’s for your game of tic-tac-toe.
As each holiday arrives, use a different item for the game pieces. For example, orange and white pumpkins for Halloween or forks and spoons for Thanksgiving. For Christmas and New Year’s, use ornaments or spray-painted pine cones and play away.
Several blogs suggested this idea, one even suggested the game as a kids-table centerpiece at a fall wedding reception. Clever, huh?
If you’re just trying to get through Halloween first, check out the list on the right. If you’d like to fast forward to Thanksgiving turn the page. Look out for our Christmas and New Year’s suggestions in the December issue.
This crafty snack requires plastic gloves, popcorn, candy corn and string.
Drop one candy corn into each finger of the glove, then fill the glove with popcorn and tie it closed with string.
Guests can take them home as a party favor at the end of the night, or if you aren’t throwing a party, make a bunch of spooky hands and give them to trick-or-treaters on Halloween.
Some children dread Halloween because of spooky ghost stories and scary costumes that cause bad dreams.
A dream catcher, which in Native American culture is supposed to protect sleepers by catching bad dreams and letting positive dreams come through, could be the perfect craft for this time of year.
Easy how-to instructions can be found on Pinterest.
Spider candy holder
For this craft you’ll need a paper plate, black paint or markers, yarn, staples and glue. Paint the plate black and let it dry. Cut four pipe cleaners in half and bend them to look like spider legs.
After the plate dries, fold it in half and cut it in half along the fold. Tuck spider legs inside the bottom of the two plate halves and glue the round edges of the plate together on the inside, leaving the fold open at the top to hold the candy.
Take three strings of yarn and tie them together at one end, braid down and tie the other end.
Glue or staple the yarn on as a handle for the candy holder. Glue googly eyes on the spider and draw a mouth if you’d like.
Pin the grin on the Jack-O-Lantern
Draw a big pumpkin on a large sheet of paper. Draw eyes and a nose for a Jack-O-Lantern, but cut out a mouth from a separate sheet of paper. Put tape on the back of the mouth, blindfold kids (or adults) and take turns “pinning” the grin on the pumpkin face.
Trick or treat?
Fill a box with candy and plastic spiders, googly eyes and rocks. Cut a slit in a piece of fabric, cover the box opening with the fabric and have guests take turns sticking their hands in the slit to fish around for a trick or treat.
Pull out some more fabric and cut some more slits or cut slits in a cardboard box. Grab several bowls and fill with gooey spaghetti noodles, pudding and peeled grapes. Cover each bowl with fabric or place inside the box.
Blind fold guests and have them guess what “body part” is in each bowl using only their hands for clues.
A few other suggestions we found on innerchildfun.com are:
- peeled grapes or olives — eyeballs
- overcooked, oiled spaghetti — slimy worms
- warm tomato sauce — zombie blood
- relish — chopped up bug guts
- olive oil — witches’ saliva
- bacon bits — fresh picked scabs
- cooked rice — maggots
- candy corn — teeth
The Thankful tree
Draw a big tree stump with branches, but don’t draw leaves. Cut out different color leaves using construction paper. Have your kids write a different thing they are thankful for on a leaf everyday until Thanksgiving. Tape leaves on the tree until it’s full and colorful.
Make a headdress
Cut a piece of construction paper in half hot-dog style and decorate it. Fit the piece of construction paper around your child’s head and tape it until it fits.
Make feathers by cutting out leaf shapes of construction paper and cutting slits down each side.
Glue or tape the feathers inside the headdress, tape it securely on your child’s head and voila!
You can never go wrong with Sharpies and $1 mugs from the Dollar General. Buy a ton and use them to tell your loved ones why you are thankful for them. Once you write your message on the mug, bake them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Leave a note inside to remind your giftees only to hand wash their mug or the message will wipe away.
What are you thankful for?
Have guests write a very specific thing they are thankful for on a sheet of paper as they walk through the door and drop them in a big bowl. Encourage guests to get a little creative with their submissions.
Before dinner, shake up the bowl and have everyone draw one piece of paper. Read them aloud and have the family guess who wrote what. The funnier (or more sentimental) they are, the better.
Get outside with some pumpkins and brooms. Using the brooms, roll (or sweep) the pumpkins down the yard, across the finish line and back. Break kids and parents up into teams and see who finishes first. Winners get first dibs on the pumpkin pie.
Bobbing for donuts
Yes, we said donuts. It’s a new-age twist on bobbing for apples — might we add that it’s a lot more sanitary than a bunch of kids
slobbering around in a big bucket of water for apples, and what child would turn down a donut for an apple? Depending on the size of your party, grab a dozen of donuts from Whistlestop or Hoptown Donuts and string each donut onto the end of kitchen twine. Hang them from a low tree branch outside or from the ceiling inside. Line up the kiddos and see who can eat their donut off the string the fastest without using their hands. Adults may enjoy this game too.