Plucky parties

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

This mom SWEARS it can be done. Here's how.

I'm a reader who just recently jumped on the Twilight series bandwagon (and am now nearly an evangelist on the books). So when my co-worker, Earth Mama, sent me this party idea, I said, "Bite

me! I'm in!"

These great ideas are courtesy of and are, shall I say, almost (almost) as clever as author Stephenie Meyer.

By Wendy Thomas

With 6 kids, you can bet we throw a lot of birthday parties. If I'm not careful with the cost, they could easily break our party budget bank. In this economy, my challenge is to throw a memorable, exciting kids' party for less than 10 dollars.

Still riding the high from throwing a birthday party for my youngest daughter -- where I took 5 kids to a movie at the local library, fed them cupcakes and ice cream, and did a craft for a total of $3.19 -- I was determined to repeat my success with the next birthday party which, as it turned out, happened to be for my other daughter, Addy, age 11.

Addy is, as are all of her friends, into all things Twilight, and that naturally became the theme of her party. We dragged all of the vampire decorations out of storage and placed them strategically around the yard. Who knew that Halloween decorations would come in handy in April?! Thank you, vampire empire.

The night before the party, my son and I created a "Pin the blood drop on the neck" board as a party game and hung it up outside. During the party, each participant received a sparkly bracelet -- left over from a previous party as a prize for playing. Apparently new vampires sparkle in the sunlight, making anything that sparkles a great tie-in.

The girls then created glittery Twilight apples (an apple is prominently pictured on the book's cover) as a craft activity. For this craft, I cut out apple figures from construction paper and let them have at it with glitter glue.

Food consisted of apple vampire fangs (two eighths of a red apple held together with peanut butter and with two butter candies inserted as fangs), cupcakes (with sparkly colored sugar crystals on top), blood-red punch, and an ice cream cup.

A friend of mine's son and his girlfriend (who both look remarkably like the main characters from Twilight) came to the party to have photos taken with each of the (giggly) girls. As a party favor, each girl went home with a photo of herself with the guest vampires (cool shades and all), as well as a group photo of the party guests.

As I had done for my other daughter's party, a letter had been sent to each invitee asking that all gifts cost less than 5 dollars. Each of the girls was very excited about this and put some thought into coming up with presents. The inventive gifts Addy received included:

• Handmade certificates for sleepovers and playdates (many were reusable)

• A toy a girl had gotten previously that she didn't play with but knew that Addy would love (and she does)

• Books a friend had read and enjoyed and wanted to pass on.

The girls all had a great time playing games, doing karaoke, and being together. And wouldn't you know it, not wanting the theme to end, they even invented a game of "Vampire Tag" to play at the end of the party.

Total cost for this nonstop 3-hour party? $6.72.

Candies: $1 (used for fangs)

Apples: $2.39 (everyone got to have 2 "apple fangs" each)

Cupcakes: $0.69 (the mix was on sale)

Frosting: $0.64 (again, we got this on sale)

Punch: $0.30 (instant)

Glitter glue: $1.00 (from dollar store)

Photos: $1.00 (.10 cents each, each girl took home 2)

So when someone asks me next time, "Plucky whatever shall I do for my next party?" I'll just smile sheepishly and say, "Bite me."