Halloween-Themed Children’s Birthday Party
I was recently faced with the challenge of planning a “gender neutral” birthday party for boys and girls for my daughter’s 7th birthday. For those that know me, I don’t much enjoy the process of planning a birthday party. But I love the end results when it all works out and there is pure joy coming from my hard-to-please first grader. This year posed an additional challenge for me. Her parties have always included both girls and boys but, now that she’s older, there just seems to be a larger divide of interests. How was I going to plan event that was fun for both boys and girls, many of whom I didn’t know? My first thought was “should I encourage her to have an all-girl party?” thinking this would make it easy to pick a party theme and plan party activities. I realize that was a cop out for me (less-stress party planning) and quickly shooed it outside my brain. I knew the right thing to do was let her invite whomever she wants.
Our next step was to brainstorm some party ideas. The party theme she liked the most was Halloween arts and crafts. My internal conversation started again, supported by concern from my husband, “Is crafts the right party activity for 1st grade boys and girls?” Obviously we don’t know much about 1st grade boys yet as you’ll discover later. This year I’ve been working hard on letting Olivia make and own her decisions. I guide her where necessary but try to give her space to exercise her independence, even allowing her to make mistakes and learn from failure. I didn’t think this would be one of those instances but one never knows. And that’s really the point. She wanted to do Halloween crafts and she wanted to invite her friends – both boys and girls. So we did.
And I’m so glad I got out of her way. The party was a blast. The kids made haunted houses out of “shoe” boxes. They could make a creepy house or a friendly haunted house, whatever their imaginations dreamed up. There were eyeballs and spiders, witches and cats, ghosts and skeletons, and everyone’s favorite – goop. Afterwards there was cupcakes outside and playing on a tire swing. A perfect party for all Olivia’s friends – girls and boys alike.
So I learned a few parenting lessons this weekend:
- I need to trust my children and their ability to make decisions. They may not always turn out this perfect but that, too, is important.
- I need to evaluate and throw away my personal gender stereotypes. Even the idea of trying to come up with a “gender neutral” party theme seems so silly to me now.
- I still have a lot to learn about boys in preparation for when Olivia’s toddler brother grows up.
Bright Birthdays: Share Your Child’s Birthday Photos & Win
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- Bright Horizons Online Community: Parent Conversations about Birthdays & Birthday Parties
- E-family news: Planning Your Child’s Birthday Party without the Stress
- Bright Horizons on Pinterest: Kids Birthdays & Parties Board
- Read more posts about birthdays and posts about Halloween from the Family Room bloggers