Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Our 8th Annual Halloween Party...The one with no pictures!

I know the title for today's post is a little long, but considering I started with "Our 8th Annual Halloween Party...The one that we spent months preparing for and then forgot to take a stinking picture of so we can never prove it really took place", what I ended up with sounds pretty good.  With that out of the way, please continue reading...
Ahhh, the rush of throwing a party.  The weeks of planning and preparing, cleaning and complaining, and most of all, completing much needed tasks.  Gerald will swear that the reason I throw a lot of parties is to get him to accomplish major projects!  True, we can always use a touch-up in the yard.  You know - fresh pine straw.  Trees trimmed.  A new fire pit.  You get the idea.  Fall is a really busy time of the year for us.  We entertain a lot during this season, so there's always a lot of work to be done.  This fall is no exception!

We hosted our 8th Annual Halloween Party on Saturday, November 2nd.  What started several years ago with just a few friends has grown to over 85 in attendance this year!  Despite all the hard work, we really look forward to this event each year - almost as much as our kids do!  Since I have no pictures to show you, we'll treat this post more as a tutorial than a show-and-tell. 

The get-together has really taken shape over the years so there is less planning to do, but still lots of preparation.  I used to make the invitations by hand.  The first year or two, I just printed them on Halloween paper.  Then I began to make them using my Cuttlebug.  It would take a couple of days to assemble them, but they were always so cute! As our guest list grew, it became pretty time-consuming and expensive to both make and mail them.  Then I discovered etsy!  I can purchase and download the invitation file and have them printed at my local copy shop for a total cost of about $25.  I hand most of them out personally at church and to friends.  Others get addressed on the back just like a postcard and then dropped in the mail.  Easy, Peasy!  Our guest list consists of mostly family and church friends plus the kids' friends from soccer, dance and swimming.  Here is this year's invitation.

In the past, we would schedule the party on the Saturday before Halloween, but one year we were rained out and had to postpone it a week.  It landed on the weekend we set our clocks back, so we had an extra hour to sleep after the big cleanup! It worked so well, we have kept it that way the last couple of years. 

I try to pick up my paper goods at 50% off the day after Halloween and put them up for the next year.  It really makes a difference when you are planning for around 100 people!  I tie them up in a trash bag and place them in the attic.  Works great!

For the last few years, I have made chili to serve as the main dish and then everyone else brings snacks and drinks.  We always seemed to be heavy on sweets, (not that that's necessarily a bad thing!) so this year, I broke it up according to last name.  It worked pretty good.  I made 12 batches of chili and my sister-in-law, Clancy, made another crockpot full.  We actually had a little left over this time, so we must have hit the magic number this year.  (Gerald and I go through the line last and a couple of years have had to literally scrape the bottom of the chili pot!)  I also make a ton of lemonade and serve it in drink dispensers so the kids can fix their own.  (My SIL, Allison, found a couple of toddlers standing underneath one funneling lemonade this year.  Ooopps!)

Gerald tried for several years to make a haunted hayride, but after hours and hours of prep-work, ghosts on zip-lines that never seemed to work at the last minute, or the (big) kids spotting the leaf blower that was supposed to sound like a chainsaw, he's finally given it up.  For now, at least!  And my dad's bird dogs that howl all night long at their own shadow couldn't be paid to bark when the hayride passes the barn.  None-the-less, the hayride is always a fun time and it usually takes at least a couple of turns around the our place and then around my parent's place to get everybody a ride.

Gerald works for hours laying a bonfire.  I understand the premise behind a classic bonfire is to just pile up wood and branches that are cut down throughout the year.  We always have at least a couple of those piles on our place at any given time.  But Gerald is a perfectionist.  He spends a great deal of time laying the fire so that it not only has great impact on lighting, but it also is low and wide enough to roast marshmallows.

In the past we have put up about 40 torches around the outside of the yard "proper" so that the kids wouldn't wander too far out.  The kids are growing up and after the incident last year - Oh!  I'm getting ahead of myself...As it was getting dark last year, Gerald was lighting the torches.  He stuck his index finger in one to fish out a wick.  When it got stuck, he twisted his finger around to get it out.  I'm standing in the yard talking when Ashlynn Daly runs up and says, "Miss Missy, my mom needs to see you in the kitchen.  NOW!"  As I head up the deck stairs into the house, I see big drops of blood on the wood.  I then find my husband leaning over the kitchen sink with Nurse (Joy) Daly attending!  He needed stitches, so Clancy ended up taking him to the emergency room while I ran the party.  My brothers handled the hayrides and bonfire, and believe it or not, it was so crowded, a lot of people never knew what happened!  We decided that since the kids were getting older, the torches weren't a necessity, so we didn't put them up this year.  (We will at Thanksgiving because my daddy likes to look at them while we roast marshmallows!)

This year's party was a total success.  Except for one thing.  I forgot to make a SINGLE picture.  I know.  But don't say I didn't warn you.  (See blog post numero uno!)  Those of you who were here can just think back to what a fun evening it was.  The rest of you - just imagine the most wonderful Halloween party you've ever attended.  Yeah, that's the one.  Nice visual, huh?  Great.  Now project those pictures on my blog.  Good job!  Thanks!

We're already looking forward to next year!  Think I'll go ahead and lay out my camera...

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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I wouldn't want you to miss one crazy thing...

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