The red, white and blue buckets I found at Target's $ spot and when the kids arrived I gave them one along with an animal shaped sippy cup (found at Walmart on clearance for 18 cents a piece) full of slushy lemonade and we'd send them to go play. We would then direct the parents to the refreshment table and offer them a margarita flavored snow cone.Everyone loved the snow cones. We rented the machine and used it from Friday to Sunday. I want to own one. For the Margarita Snow Cones we bought the liquid mix in strawberry and original and poured a little out and poured a little tequila and triple sec in. It was more like a punch, you couldn't taste alcohol at all. We didn't want people getting trashed, it was just for the novelty of it. Besides, the park specifically said "No alcoholic beverages" but neglected to mention snow cones...so we were walking a fine line as it was.
Mr. Ashley's uncle is very dramatic and heavily involved in theater, so when he offered to help we recruited him to be a clown. He joked and played with the kids and acted as a sort of Master of Ceremonies. He did a great job. When everyone had arrived and settled in a little, we had him direct the kids to the games.
We had the Lollipop Tree. I bought mini tootsie pops (from Oriental Trading Company) and colored the bottoms blue or orange and I had two red ones. Then I painstakingly jammed each one into a topiary form I bought from a craft store. I put it in a pot that I wrapped with a popcorn bag and white and yellow ribbons and filled the pot with glass stones to weight it down.
I made the sign by printing the letters out really big, only 3 fit per legal sized page, and cutting them out to put on poster board. Use a glue stick so the paper doesn't wrinkle. I used double sided tape to stick the giant lollipop (that I got at Walgreens 3 for $1) to foam core board.
The kids chose a lollipop and then got to choose two prizes from the bag that corresponded with the dot on their stick. There were only two items in each bag and each bag had the same two items, so no matter what everyone got the same prizes. The kids who got the red dots got a gigantic lollipop. Everyone else got a big lollipop (Oriental Trading Company) and silly putty (2 for .88 at Walmart).
The Lucky Duck game. I got weighted ducks at OTC and once again drew colored dots on them. Pretty much the same concept as the lollipop tree. I was going to use a baby pool, but already had the tub and decided to use it in an attempt to be budget conscious. They won a monkey whistle and a monkey finger puppet from OTC.
The Tattoo Lady. This station was a big hit. The kids loved the temporary tattoos. They also got a slap bracelet for their prize bucket.
Twister Toss. I bought bean bags from OTC and thought I'd make Mr. Ashley paint some sort of thing with a hole in it to throw them threw. I sort of ran out of steam towards the end and remembered my trusty Twister board (Twister Queen of Key Largo 1997, thankyouverymuch) and made do with that. The kids threw the bean bags unti they got one on one of the dots and then they got crayons (bought from a back to school sale for 12 cents) and a kaleidoscope.
I got that display board for $1 from the dollar store, by the way. The dollar store should be your first stop. I got tablecloths, the take out boxes and prizes for the older kids' goodie boxes, display boards, candy, and cutlery there.
Go Fish. This board had fish glued all over it but the little bastards fell off. For this I just took clear cocktail cups and filled them with water and a fish and had the kids throw ping pong balls into them. They won an animal eraser (3 for $1 at Joanns) and Fish in a Bag soap, made by me.
These were a pain in the ass and once again, not budget friendly. If you decide to ever do this project, you'll need more soap than you think. I probably went through almost 8 lbs to make 20 soaps. They were really cute though and the kids were excited about them, so obsessing over each and every one of them and having my kitchen covered with soap for a week was worth it.
The Freak Show. This was definitely one of the highlights of the party. Mr. Ashley made the sign for me because I was sick of cutting things out. I don't have a good photo of it, but he did a great job. He used graffiti style lettering and wrote "World's Strongest Man" and "See the Bearded Lady" underneath. I had clown wigs, hats, dress up clothes, disguise glasses, sunglasses and the strong man bar and a mirror.
The strong man bar was the papier mache craft that traumatized the Big Kid. Honestly, it was more work than it needed to be and about halfway through I realized I should've tied two black balloons to a stick and called it a day. Originally I was going to buy those styrofoam balls but turns out they were like $9 a piece and that was just ridiculous. So I blew up balloons, tore newspaper into strips, dipped them into a flour/water paste and slapped them on there. Each layer had to completely dry before you could apply the next and it needed 3 layers. Then we popped the balloons and stuck the cardboard tube from wrapping paper in the holes, taped them up and papier mached that. PAIN IN THE ASS. Then Mr. Ashley and Mr. LK took it outside to paint it and were out there fucking around until I stomped out there and yelled at them. I do apologize to Mr. LK because he ended up being a great popcorn bag stuffer, but there is no denying the fact that there was screwing around going on and there was no time for screwing around. (They did indeed try to deny screwing around).
For food we had hotdogs, popcorn, peanuts, snow cones, and a veggie tray. Instead of a cake we had popcorn cupcakes:
I had to edit our last name out of the photo. I made the wrapper in photoshop. They will not stick to the cupcake wrappers, you have to glue them into rings and drop the cupcakes into the ring. The topping is miniature marshmallows cut in half and squeezed back together. I suggest that you recruit a very good friend for this project, just don't tell them how much it's going to suck beforehand.
I bought the cupcakes unfrosted and then added the frosting and marshmallows. I lured LK over and gave her some scissors and the opportunity to become a marshmallow cutting master. Cut them lengthwise, squeeze back together and put on top of cupcake. It takes FOREVER and the marshmallows get sticky and gross. Stick the marshmallows in the freezer and go test out the margarita snow cones and take a break when this happens. LK has definitely earned her place in BF heaven by helping with this monotonous task.
I rented a circus calliope CD from the library and had that on in the background, that was a super cute touch and it was FREE!
The goodie bags for the older kids were takeout boxes with a whoopee cushion, Nerds, a string of gumballs, wax bottles with liquid candy inside, a gummy hotdog and a ring pop.
The babies got buckets, alphabet tiles, a biter biscuit, a bath toy and a board book. The preschoolers got the prizes in their buckets.
The boys wore shirts I found from a seller on Etsy
I also did a time capsule for each boy. I found scrapbook paper that looked like popcorn and had guests write messages on that and put them in a popcorn box for each boy. I used popcorn boxes for centerpieces as well. I put floral foam in them and covered it with yellow tissue paper and then used floral picks to secure curled yellow and white ribbon to the foam so it spilled over the sides and top of the box. It looked really cute and luckily I had brought balloon weights for the bottom so they didn't blow away.
We played pin the nose on the clown and everyone got punchballs (those little bastards are CHEATERS) and then everyone just hung out and played.
I'm not sure of the etiquette on publishing photos of your guests online, so I've tried to limit myself to mostly pictures of guests in disguise. Damn the psychos that ruin it for us all!
I'm STILL tired from doing all of this shit. When I asked the Big Kid what his favorite part was...he said the monkey bars. Why, oh why, do I bother?