My dearest eldest daughter celebrated her 11th Birthday last Tuesday.
My daughter’s Birthday falls on Hallowe’en: at the time she was born, around 4pm, the sky was darkening, the room was quiet and the lighting dim. As I recovered from the birth and held my sweet baby in my arms, from our window (on the 13th floor of our local hospital), my husband and I gazed out to see fireworks in the sky and the air was filled with a special kind of magic. Our baby had arrived and it felt like the world was celebrating 🙂
So every Hallowe’en Birthday, we try to imbue our daughter’s Birthday with a touch of this magic (with a few cobwebs thrown in!) 🙂
I have shared how we celebrate Birthdays in our family here and my eldest daughter’s Birthday last year here and here. Our Birthday routines are fairly consistent from year to year and my daughters wouldn’t have it any other way! They certainly notice if anything is missing or out of place. To that end, I have written down all our birthday traditions in a book so I can remind myself of what needs doing in case I am tired on the night before the birthday – often the case in the autumn months 😦 There is always something I have forgotten, so I am glad of it!
So the Birthday started as usual with 11 kisses on waking and a walk through a curtain of crepe paper streamers hung by the Birthday girl’s door (we had to go out the day before in search of crepe paper as we didn’t have enough for 11 strips – that doorway is getting so full! – not as easy to find as you might imagine…). There was a star path to her Birthday chair, which was covered in rainbow coloured gauzy fabric and of course her Birthday crown (made so many years ago, but still going strong as it is made of good strong 100% wool felt!).
There seemed to be a mountain of presents from us, friends and relatives!
After a birthday breakfast and a little play with the new presents, we headed out for a couple of hours to enjoy the autumn sunshine at a nearby National Trust place (as is our tradition). Great quantities of leaves were falling from the trees, so we spent quite some time trying to catch them!
After lunch we headed back home to set our house and garden up for a Hallowe’en themed party.
From my daughter’s 3rd to 7th Birthdays, we held Hallowe’en themed craft parties at her request. Then we took a break for a couple of years, as she was struggling too much with having a party on her Birthday – it seemed to make her so tense, she couldn’t enjoy the rest of the day 😦 But on her 10th Birthday, last year, she wanted to restart the Hallowe’en party tradition and we have hosted two parties now that have been a hit with her and her friends. We play “spooky” games rather then doing crafts as that suits the age and lively temperaments of some of her friends.
The seven guests arrived around 4pm. When everyone was present, they all sat down whilst my daughter opened her presents and thanked her friends personally for their gifts (thank you cards to come). As I have mentioned before, I consider it best that the child open his/her presents when their friends are there, so the giver receives individual thanks, otherwise it feels like there is something missing from this exchange….the energy of giving and receiving…
As far as the games were concerned, they were very similar to last years games (see last years detailed post). We also added some dancing and musical statues to The Monster Mash which the children loved.
Apple bobbing of course 🙂
We did blind folded food tasting again. This time on the menu were:
Witches eyeballs – melon balls
Bats brains – marshmallows
Zombie Blood – beetroot juice
Bats Wings – flattened licorice
Warlocks’ vomit! – cold rice pudding
Monster’s fingers – cake fingers
My (scary looking!) husband also told a ‘scary’ story we made up about a headless ghost Arthur who roams our house every Hallowe’en night. He and his wife Nora lived in our house some sixty years ago when she killed him with an axe after several failed attempts. He was asking for our assistance to find evidence that his wife had tried to kill him on numerous occasions and he believed they were hidden in the garden. If we found them all, he could finally be freed from his tortuous existence.
So the children had to hunt the garden using a torch to find the ‘instruments of death’ that his wife had used to try to kill him before she finally murdered him with an axe. Sounds gruesome, but I don’t think anything is too gruesome for these children!!! It was tricky hunting in the dark, with only one torch between four children, but they found everything in the end. (Note to self to buy more torches if we do this kind of thing next year!)
There were prizes for the games, either spooky shaped chocolates or sugar free juice sweets and for the more complicated games, guests received glow stick bracelets.
The games went very quickly and there was a lot of laughter. 🙂
We then went Trick or Treating for about half an hour or so. We found plenty of welcoming folks. Nothing too scary.
Bit blurred, but I like this photo nonetheless. A lovely bunch of girls!
My youngest never goes out as she is too scared of the impressions out there. She helped Daddy decorate the cake, set the table and handed out sweets at our door.
On our return, it was time for dinner – the same food as last year – mummy sausages and potato ghosts, which went down well. This was followed by the “Best Birthday Cake Ever” made by Daddy 🙂
and several rousing renditions of Happy Birthday from my daughter’s friends!
My husband did some fireworks at the end of the party, which everyone always loves and is a long standing tradition from her birth onwards. 🙂 My husband always does a little dance at the end of each firework, which the children find hysterical! – a couple of the children have been attending since they were 3 years old and really expect it!!
We also always carve our daughter’s name into a pumpkin because on her 1st Birthday some good friends came over carrying a lit pumpkin with her name engraved on it. We were so touched and it has stuck ever since. These traditions are so meaningful.
It was a full day. After everyone left, we had a family dance like last year, which our daughter insisted on – her eyes were shining as we took turns to twirl her around the room. 🙂
Blurry, but I still love it…they were moving fast!
Of course we left a little bowl of sweets for the sugar fairy to keep her and her babies fed through the winter months and she kindly swapped these for some beautiful ‘treasures’ 🙂
It was an exhausting, exhilarating kind of day.
Dear sweet girl of mine, 11 years on, still marvelling at the wonder of you…