Thursday, April 12, 2012

How to throw an awesome Easter party

I really love throwing parties, especially when I have a theme to work with. The Easter party I threw last Saturday for Madelyn and her friends was a huge success, so I've just got to share our fun ideas!

I do want to mention that this party involved a lot of advance preparation, and I "accidentally" stayed at work until 9:30pm the night before the event.  Because of this, I stayed up until 2:30am making food and preparing the house, then got up at 6:30am to make more food and complete the final touches. Thanks to my mom, dad, and brother arriving 45 minutes early to help, everything was ready to go at party time with very little stress.  That is usually my major downfall as a hostess--I want everything fresh at showtime but that leaves too many things to do at the last minute so I'm frazzled as guests arrive. It's frustrating, so I made a concerted effort to avoid that scenario this time.  It worked, and those first 20 minutes of this party were so much more pleasant than in the past!  And I didn't even feel very sleepy until the next day.

Two days in advance, Madelyn helped me make these adorable bird's nest treats. I found the recipe with Oriental Trading Co's free & fun Easter ideas right here. They are actually supposed to be Easter baskets, but the licorice rope handle proved difficult and took away from their finished look, in my opinion.  
See how cute?!

We also had Easter Bunny carrot cupcakes (sans ears--I never came up with a good idea for the ears) which look okay but the secret is that I have the best carrot cake recipe in the entire world so they are scrumptious! 

And I am SO pleased with the way these rainbow Jell-o cubes turned out. I modified a red-white-and-pink Valentine's recipe to create the rainbow layers. A little plain yogurt makes the Jell-o opaque so it looks super-awesome. And they're tasty too!

We served a full brunch spread too: fresh fruit tray including my favorite: fresh pineapple, a Dijon pasta salad, mini ham & cheese fritattas (made in mini muffin tin), and turkey & spinach pinwheels (I'm a sucker for anything made with refrigerated crescent dough).  

Everything looked so pretty and turned out mighty tasty. Which is a relief because I tried several brand-new recipes for this party!

While food is certainly an important element of any good party, it's not always the main attraction, especially when kids are the target audience. 

Late the night before, I had the table all set with the necessary supplies to make these adorable bunny pops.  Oriental Trading made this craft incredibly easy by providing a printable template for the bunny (but I typed up my own version of the instructions).  Madelyn and I had made samples to display in advance. 
I found the perfect pastel suckers at Dollar Tree without any logos on the wrappers, which I think makes them extra-cute (vs. Dum-Dum suckers in the original).

This was a great activity that kids and parents could do at their leisure. I've learned it's easiest to have do-it-yourself activities at parties like this to allow for freedom to mingle rather than a regimented agenda. 

For another simple come-and-go activity I set out Easter coloring pages and colored pencils on the coffee table (covered with butcher paper). 

The "main event" of the party was our Easter Basket "Hunt."  Since I wanted a game that was fun and fair for 16 guests aged 2 to 10, and without the assurance of a sunny day for an outdoor egg hunt, I had to find an alternative. I modified an idea I found somewhere online to create this concept.  I created a small Easter basket filled with little goodies for every child, then tied a piece of yarn to the handle. Then I weaved the yarn through the room--around chair legs, over and under the table, etc. and attached the other end of the yarn to the floor with an Easter nametag sticker on which I wrote the child's name. This was the project I was just finishing at 2:30am. :)
Here are some of the kids and parents lining up by their name in anticipation!

I could foresee the possibility of this activity being either utter chaos, or possibly worse: not very fun. Rather, it went smoothly and seemed to be a huge hit!  

It brings me a lot of joy to entertain friends this way and I am so thrilled that everyone had a good time. I got to know some other parents at Madelyn's new school a little better too, which was a primary reason I wanted to host this event. 

Happy Easter Party!


Bridget said...

Wow, everything looks so good! I really like the Easter Basket hunt idea.

Jennifer said...

Awesome party! The Easter grass/egg cupcakes are adorable! Jeff's family tradition was that when they woke up Easter morning, the bunny had hidden their baskets and then tied it to a string wound all around the house and then tied to their bedroom door so they had to follow the string to their basket. I never would have thought it use it in a party setting. After going to a few large egg hunts and having my slow-egg-picker-upper daughters disappointed with their small haul, this would be awesome! Thanks for posting how it went.

Kristen said...

Jenn, you reminded me that is actually the idea I found online which I adapted for the party! I thought it was a great tradition.


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