When I agreed to let my daughters invite their friends over to our house, I asked them what kind of party they would like. Crafts? Cooking? Games? Free play? They both agreed that they like to do stuff. They wanted mostly to play games, with one crafty-type activity. So we put our heads together and came up with some oldies but goodies.
1. Candy Count. As everyone arrives, they'll write down their guess of how many pieces of candy fill a glass jar. At the end of the party, the person with the closest guess gets to take home the container of sweets.
2. Tote Bag Decorating. We'll set up a table with fabric markers, a Bedazzler, and various colors of tote bags to decorate. I decided against using puff/glitter/fabric paint, because it takes too long to dry. The bags will be used throughout the party to hold candy and prizes, and the girls can take them home and use them for trick-or-treating.
Crafts can be very expensive, so I try to plan ahead in order to take advantage of coupons and sales. I scored the Bedazzler for 50% off! Because we're operating this party on a shoestring budget, I started buying the tote bags several weeks ago, using my weekly coupons at the local craft store.
3. Bobbing for Apples. Two kids play at a time, kneeling on opposite sides of the apple tub with their hands behind their backs. Ready, set, go! Whoever comes up first with an apple, wins. (To make bobbing more difficult, remove the stems from the apples before placing them in the tub.) You'll need a stack of towels nearby to dry off faces. Each girl can use her victory fruit to then make a caramel apple.
4. Bean Bag Toss. My husband had an extra sheet of plywood, so he cut it in half and then cut out some circles; the girls and I decorated it with craft and poster paints that we already own. If you don't have plywood, just use cardboard boxes. My friend once set up an entire carnival in her back yard, making all the games from cardboard, and the kids had a marvelous time. We have some little bean bags already, but you can make them from all kinds of material laying around the house (baggies filled with rice, rolled up socks, etc.) or use balls instead.
5. Balloon Pop. Each girl will be allowed three tries to pop a balloon with a dart. (To make it more challenging, use small balloons.) Prizes will be doled out accordingly. This game was my husband's idea, so he has promised to supervise and make sure no one puts an eye out.
6. Pass the Pumpkin. The girls will be divided into two lines and then race to pass a mini-pumpkin without using their hands—they'll have to hold it between their chins and necks. If the pumpkin drops to the ground, they have to start over from the beginning of the line. Lots of giggles with this one.
7. Pin the Nose on the Scarecrow. I'm thinking about having them pin all the parts of the face while blindfolded, which might create some pretty funny-looking scarecrows!
If you've got any tried-and-true games for ages 9–11, please leave a comment. I can use all the help I can get!
Dinner last night: creamy chicken enchiladas, refried beans