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A Halloween Party That Teaches Life Skills? I Would Not Have Seen That Coming….

……but I am glad it did!

Like most moms, I love halloween parties or any kind of occasions that I get to dress my boys up……and I did that as soon as I could……

And eventually, halloween parties became a part of our home when my boys started becoming more sociable and realized that they needed friends over at our place to have some real fun.

So 4 years ago, we started throwing halloween parties plus our monthly pizza and movie get-together (thats another story for a different blog) and it wasn’t long before I started cringing at the idea of halloween parties simply because of the sheer work that is involved in the prep and planning of these events.

Last year, we decided to take a break (mummy was burnt out) and this year, when my boys requested that we do a halloween party, I was desperately looking for a good excuse to postpone it……..and that’s when it dawned on me that if my boys really wanted a party, that I really should find a way to turn that into a teachable moment……

……and as it turns out, it became multiple teachable moments and countless learning opportunities for life skills. Here’s what I did…….I told my boys that they could throw any party they wanted if they organized it themselves and kept to a budget……they were stumped……I sat them down and walked them through the process of how to plan and organize a party and got them to make a to-do list.

After brainstorming some options, my boys decided that they wanted a dress up halloween party with halloween decor and they will also incorporate a (make your own) pizza and movie night so that they could dress up, make their own pizza and have it while watching a movie.

Now, as my boys had school, homework, a small budget to work with and only one week to pull this off, they had a fair share of challenges already waiting for them to tackle……but after making some preliminary plans, both of them decided that they will do it anyways and even though it will likely not be perfect, they were determined to make it work, make the best of it and have loads of fun with their friends ……and I’m glad they did because all their hard work and gamble paid off!

Here’s their planning process which took a week long to put together……

Monday: Did research (consisted of looking up ideas on Pinterest for door decor and invites), deciding on which movie to watch and make an invitee list.
Tuesday: Made a list of items and got stuff they needed from the stationery store and made invites,
Wednesday: Handed out invites, decorated front door and made a shopping list for foods and refreshments,
Thursday: Put up more decor in the house and shopped for ingredients and refreshments,
Friday: Clean up hall, prep food before halloween party.
Saturday: Clean up.

Here are some pictures of what they came up with……

 

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As soon as the details were finalised, they got straight to choosing an invite design on my Pinterest board.

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Then they looked went back to Pinterest for some ideas on ‘Halloween Door Decoration’ and was inspired to make a Picasso inspired Harry Potter door decor.

 

 

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Due to our small budget, the boys decided to use some decor from previous parties including a few new ones that their aunt had gifted to them.

 

 

 

 

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We made a list of refreshments that we would be serving and went shopping the day before the party and decided to serve up gluten-free muffins for the guests to decorate, ingredients for making pizza and lots of fruits. We also wanted to cut back on using disposable cups so we found different ones that the children can recognise and use repeatedly.

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These muffin cups were left overs from last year’s party. We kept them in zip lock bags till we needed them again and these were perfect for this occasion!

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The children had so much fun making their own pizza…..and this allowed them to customise their own pizza based on which ingredient they liked most. My younger son spent about 1.5 hours cutting and prepping the ingredients prior to the party so that everything would be ready on time. There was so much interaction during this time as they were chatting and joking around and exchanging stories about their past halloween parties.

 

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It was so nice to see them all digging into their pizza’s and having a good laugh while watching a movie which they all loved.

 

I know that this might (or might not) sound like a huge feat for two elementary school children but the truth is that this whole event was a combination of a few smaller projects which can be broken down, addressed and ticked off the list one item at a time. for instance, front door decor is a small project on it’s own (involving choosing one design they both liked, planning for it, making a list of things they needed from the stationery store, delegating) ……..

………..and so is prepping for refreshments (deciding on menu, making a list of items to buy, going shopping, prepping food, serving it) ………

……..or something seemingly simple like making invites (looking up ideas on pinterest, choosing an appropriate design, making a list of items that they needed from the store, deciding what into needs to go into the invite).

Also, this is not the first time they are organizing an event. I have always found different ways to get them involved in past events by delegating smaller projects for each of them to do while slowly progressing to assigning small projects to both of them to do together so that they could practice using skills that they will need to work together.

My boys handled this whole event mostly on their own but I did have a hand in a couple of things just to increase the success rate of this event…..

– I gave them some things to consider during their brainstorming session so that they can finalize details about the party (such as time, date, movie that they would like to watch, theme of the party and refreshments that would be made available).
– I gave them a really small budget to work with so that they don’t have to do that much decorating and would be happy using many of the old decor that we have kept away from the past few halloween parties. They also used the same costumes that they had from two years ago.
– I capped the number of children to a small group so that that will significantly minimize the amount of food they had to buy and the amount of time they had to spend on food prep.
– I did supervise food prep in the kitchen as they used knifes and can openers.

Aside from these things, my boys pretty much took care of everything else.

Two hours after the event ended, they thanked me for letting them host the party and suggested that they would like to organize another one for Christmas and though we didn’t get into a formal brainstorming session, several ideas involving Nerf guns and presents exchange were being tossed around.

On the whole, this was a great opportunity for them to practise their planning, delegation, negotiation, organization, risk taking, problem solving and time management skills……….life skills that they will need to get really good at as they grow older……… and though this may seem like a huge feat, remember, my boys didn’t learn to do this overnight……they started really early on by getting involved in smaller projects and tasks so it’s NEVER TOO EARLY to start them on learning skills that will serve them well in just about every context.

If you have any comments or question for my boys about how they pulled this off, please list them in the comments section below and I will be happy to pass them on to my boys to answer 🙂

 

 

 

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