Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Harvest Party

Friendly backyard deer came to our first annual Family Halloween Harvest Party. However, they were here a week early and weren't actually invited. They ate everything in sight and left without their party favors. The nerve! Well, at least most of the rest of us behaved ourselves today! (I'll tell you about "Rodent" in a sec!)

Grandma's major challenge was to provide something to harvest despite the litter of crumbs left behind by the aforementioned "early birds." Fortunately, generous foliage still blankets the ground, making a fine bed for nestled pumpkins. Uncle Rick and Aunt Jackie (Karen's parents-in-law) provided those from the bounty of their multi-acre property, an Eden so plant-friendly that some pumpkin seeds even appear uninvited to grow themselves into behemoths! Wish I had that skill. But thank goodness I know how to shop! The lady guests found party favors out here too - pumpkin shaped hand soap dispensers tagged just for them. So, fruit abounded in our barren patch after all, and the kids had a delightful time choosing their favorites!

Grandma's Pumpkin Patch 2012.....a bountiful harvest of cuteness!

Sae hit it off right away with this handsome specimen!

I dunno!
Maybe I cluelessly planted onions instead of pumpkins!

But what were the kids told about the pumpkins they harvested today? As tempting as it was, I didn't tell them that what they picked was what they'd planted last spring. In the end, I told them the truth. Grandma is simply a gardening doofus who, for all she knows about the process, probably inserted the seeds upside down. I just couldn't lie to my grandkids and I promised myself that I never will. After all, it's about this time of year that I begin to remind them how Santa and his elves start to watch all of us very carefully so he can make his toy list based on what he observes us doing! :)

This is the biggest our pumpkins ever got - plump little hors d'oeuvres for the deer!

"Ahem! Excuse me! There's someone in here!"

Now, back to the party!

Once inside, I handed the kids a set of cards with pictures of eight monsters to find. They were hidden throughout the house. Most had the sense to duck behind chairs or in closets, but Rodent? Oooooh noooooo! Rodent not only hid in the bathroom but the little imp decided to TP the entire room while he waited to be found! With six arms at his disposal, the task was a cinch to complete!

Eating was casual. Grab a Maca-moldy Monster from the counter! Grandpa grilled, too, and there was an autumn beer selection for the guys. While we gathered to craft, I started on a wonderful recipe for pumpkin flavored frappe that served as both coffee and dessert. See below for more details!

One project was spooky paper wind socks as described in last week's post. Hanging samples were accompanied by an arrangement of every kind of supply needed. An adult or two teamed up with each grandkid to make a pumpkin, ghost, skeleton, or green monster.

Busy little Bree...not sure what she's doing, but she sure is busy!

Our gallery of finished windsocks is now open for your inspection!..................

This is the most "girlie" Halloween windsock I have ever seen!
 But then Christy and her daughter, Bree are the most girlie-girls I have ever seen, too!

Bree's Nana made the one on the left for her. We love the cute ears!


The twins opted for abstract designs, allowing for ample application of their favorite media: GLITTER!

Some random things, such as pumpkin seeds, were glued on, too!

The second project was a pumpkin seed packet for each family to decorate and fill with what I removed and washed from a cute little "pumpkin pie" pumpkin. Everyone took their packet home to safely store until next spring when it will be time for our first annual Family Pumpkin Race! We will all plant on the same day and communicate our growing progress through email pictures. There will be prizes for the first sprout, first fully formed bud, first open blossom, first fruit and of course, the first edible pumpkin. At next year's party we'll gather in the kitchen with the grandkids to make puree or a pie or something else really good from what we raced to grow.

The idea for a home made seed packet came from Connie at Family Home and Life. Look here for a nice, free printable. Connie's are beautifully decorated and ready to cut out and fill, but I just used her outline as a pattern so we could stamp our own. I really like the idea of demonstrating the cycle of plant life this way. I think from now on I'll use it as a project at "the kids' table" on Thanksgiving Day.

A few crazy things happened during the party! For example,  "candy-pooping" wind up monsters came unexpectedly toddling along as we worked on our crafts. The kids' reactions were priceless and well worth the embarrassment of checking out with them at, of all places, JoAnn Fabrics! The lady picked them up gingerly and said, "I'm afraid to ask!" I'm sure she was wondering why a woman of grandma age would buy three plastic pooping monsters! Well, hello! Because she is a grandma, that's why! - and if they weren't $4 each I would have bought 'em ALL! And HA! I noticed on my next visit to the store that the pooping monsters had all been sold! That lady looked "grandma-ish" too, and probably ran back to grab the rest of 'em for herself on her next break!

The thing I enjoyed most about this event was watching the kids working on their crafts alongside the adults they love best. There is so much nasty, negative influence in the world and I am an advocate of making home a safe, happy place for learning wholesome things to do. When adults participate too, credibility is lent to these activities.

My party would not have been the success it was without inspiration from blogs I follow and enjoy. "Family Home and Life" provided the "blueprint" for a harvest season family gathering that combines food, fun, and a group craft project. "I Gotta Create" is a wonderful source of craft and food ideas, and Christina, the author of that site, found the excellent pumpkin frappe recipe at "Inspirations By D" and directed her readers there. And finally, to see the entire clan of papier mache monsters that I made for my grandkids, check out this past post because it will take you to a page of instructions to make your own set of family-friendly monsters -  if you happen to be a "monster making" kind of person like I am!

Happy Harvesting, everyone!


  1. Oh Joyce that was a wonderful time! I'm so glad you were able to explain about the pumpkins and as my 2 yr old says with her eyebrows raised "that deer!!" (we all always laugh at how she says it) I'm also glad you found inspiration at my blog and I so love your idea about you using the seeds to explain to the kids about life cycles; I'm going to do that too one of these days. We didn't do a family garden this spring and I think I should bring that back along with this idea. Really great!I'm sure your family is closer and has tighter bonds than ever. Of course there were memories created that will last a life time. Good job grandma!

  2. What a wonderful party you had -- in spite of those hungry old deer! I just love what the Rodent did to the bathroom! Your creatures have such great imaginations! And if that lady at Joann's didn't understand the joy in a candy pooping monster -- well maybe she isn't a Grandma! We all understand! I think your plans for growing pumpkins together but afar next year will be wonderful for them and for all of us! So glad you share! Happy Friday! Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Especially love the windsocks. Your sense of fun is contagious.

  4. I can't even PICK a favorite as to what was the most interesting, the best pic, or what I laughed at the most! You are truly amazing at organizing and dreaming these crafts etc up. I do have to say that I started smiling at the cutest kids ever pics in the beginning and never stopped the whole way through :) :) :)

  5. And PS!!!

    ha ha ha I just saw your comment on my blog and answered this ( and it is TRUE :)

    Joyce you'd be the opposite tagline of me. YOU would be "Grandchildren's Ordinary Life Made Extraordinary by Their Grandmother!"
    The creative stuff that you do is amazing....

    1. While I agree that Joyce is an awesome Grandma -- so are you Debra! Don't sell yourself short!

  6. So much here to love! Everything from onion pumpkins and candy pooping characters. What a special time, despite your pumpkins not growing as hoped. You managed yet another memorable time for your grandkids. How in the world are their little heads and hearts big enough to hold all the special times you create? That's the magic of love, I think.

    Thank you for sharing yet another special post on the GRAND Social!

  7. You all celebrate Halloween so much more than we do in the UK. We still have a kind of parsimonious attitude to this festival, but it looks like a lot of fun and you are definitely a great grandmother

  8. You had the best pumpkin patch I've seen. Beautiful and handsome grandchildren having a great time at Grandma's house - doesn't get any better than that.

  9. Thanks so much for sharing and I just love your party idea! The windsocks are super cute, but the kids take the cake! I bet they had a great time!