How to Plant the Perfect Nightmare Before Christmas Party for Kids
So, my daughter Janelle was turning 4 and she really wanted a Halloween Christmas birthday party. She was talking about that theme for over a month. Her birthday is in the beginning of December. After thinking about how to go about planning this Halloween Christmas birthday party, I remembered the movie Nightmare Before Christmas and thought that it would be a great fit. We watched the movie together and she became an instant fan, so much in fact that she wanted me to call her Sally. This is when the planning began. Now, The Nightmare Before Christmas is not a popular birthday theme among toddlers. They don’t have decorations, down the party aisle at Party City, so I knew I had to get creative. We talked about what she wanted to have at her party and we made a list:
Make gingerbread houses
Treat or Treat ( I had to convince her that we could not walk around the block knocking on our neighbor’s doors for candy in December)
Have a photo booth with Jack and Sally
Have Christmas and Halloween decorations
Play the song Thriller at the party
She was very precise on what she wanted at her party. Now that I had the list, I could start the shopping.
Ginger Bread Houses
OK, now time to get creative. Since we started talking about this in mid-October. The gingerbread houses would be the first thing to work on. I thought how about Halloween/Christmas gingerbread houses. I waited until the day after Halloween and hit the store to purchase the left-over Halloween gingerbread houses. I saw them at Wal-Mart, A.C Moore and Party City. It turned out that they were the cheapest at Party City. They cost me only $2.75 each. I needed 12, they had 9 in the store and I was able to purchase the rest on-line. So, I had the Halloween houses and I wanted the kids to decorate them with Christmas candies. I went to Wal-Mart and picked up gingerbread men, candy cane, mittens and Santa Claus little sugar cupcake toppers and white cookie frosting. I also purchased Red and Green M&Ms, candy canes and used left over Smarties candies from Halloween.
Decorations and Favors
Shopping for a Halloween party right after Halloween is the best, everything is on sale. I was able to get things for up to 80% off. Even if you are not having a Halloween party, it is definitely worth it to shop after Halloween and save everything for next year. I purchased some orange and black cookie icing and sugar black cat cupcake toppers for the gingerbread houses. I also purchased some decorations and a lot of the glow bracelets and necklaces (they were .10 for 4). I was able to get face paint on clearance.
I did not see any Nightmare Before Christmas table cloth or plates, so I purchased black and white table cloth, black and white plates, napkins and cups.
At A.C Moore I purchased 2 cardboard pumpkins that I was going to paint as Jack and Sally. I used a black sharpie to draw Sally’s stitches and Jack’s face They had an opening in the middle, I used this to place candy. I was going to use the pumpkins to hold candy for trick-or-treating at the party.
I knew finding a backdrop for the photo booth was going to be a little tricky. After a Google search, I found that there are many Nightmare Before Christmas themed shower curtain’s on the market. I also found Nightmare Before Christmas fabric sold by Joann’s by the yard, but I wasn’t sure how much I would need. I decided to go with the shower curtain. I purchased a Nightmare Before Christmas Shower curtain on-line at Target. I used the shower curtain hooks to attach to my curtain rod. I purchased black table cloth and placed it on the floor. I bought a Santa Claus Jack Skellington (Walgreens) and placed him on wrapped cardboard box. I also added some other Christmas decorations to place in the backdrop. I also used fake snow sheets that I purchased from A.C Moore, to make it look like it snowed in Halloween Town. The photo booth came out great and was a huge success with the kids.
We set up face painting in the corner of the room. The kids got to choose from Sally stiches, Jack’s face, pumpkin, Christmas tree or a black cat.
We played Freeze dance and did the limbo (I purchased a limbo stick at Party City). We created a You Tube play list that included songs from the movie plus thriller (my daughter loves Michael Jackson’s Thriller) and some Christmas music. The kids got to trick-or-treat from the Jack and Sally pumpkins after each game.
I served pizza, juice and water to the kids for lunch. For dessert, I made Jack Skellington cookies. I made the cookies, then I made cookie icing to make them look like Jack (recipe listed at the end of this post).
I also made Jack and Sally cake pops (recipe listed at the end of this post). I painted 2 baby formula cans one to look like Sally and the other Jack. I purchased Styrofoam balls to stick in the cans to hold the cake pops. I also purchased Jack, Sally and Zero cake toppers from Etsy. I used the Jack and Sally as part of the decoration for the cake pops.
I ordered a Jack and Sally cake. I used the zero cake topper to put on the cake.
To make Zero the dog I bought a large Styrofoam ball for him head and a cone shaped piece for his nose. Using a hot glue gun, I glued them together. I bought 2 yards of white cloth and wrapped it around the head and nose and secured it with a rubber band. I hot glued a large googly eye on his head and a red pom-pom ball on the tip of his nose. I used the extra cloth to make his ears. I cut long ear shape pieces and sewed them to his head. To hang Zero, I made slits on each end of the cloth where his legs would be and tied thread around it, I made more slits on the top of his head and on his ears. I taped the thread to the ceiling to make him hang.
I purchased pumpkin goody bags, on clearance after Halloween. I filled the bags with a Jack and Sally cake pop and a Jack cookie. We also added Christmas themed bubbles, glow bracelet and necklace
Jack Skellington Cookie Recipe
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
3oz cream cheese
1 tea spoon vanilla
1 cup butter
2 ¼ cups flour
Cream the sugar and butter, add the cream cheese mix well. Add the egg yolk, vanilla then slowly add the flour. Roll the dough into a ball. Add a small amount of flour onto some parchment paper. Roll dough out evenly, use circle cookie cutter. Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes or until the bottom of the cookie is a light, golden brown. Let cookies cool
To make the icing
Place one cup of confectioners sugar into small mixing bowl. Add two tablespoons of milk, mix until you get a shiny smooth texture. If it’s too thick add more milk, if it’s too runny add more sugar. Make again the same way but add black food coloring to make Jacks’s face. Coat all of the cookies with the white icing. When it is completely dry, place the black icing into a plastic piping bag, cut off the tip and use to draw on Jack’s face. Wait at least one hour before stacking the cookies
1 box cake mix
1 can icing
Melting chocolate ( I used white for Jack and teal for Sally)
Make the boxed cake mix according to the package. Bake the cake. Once the cake has cooled crumple it up into tiny pieces. Place one cup of store bought caking icing into the crumbled up cake. Using your hands mix the icing and the cake together. Make tiny ½ -1 inch balls out of the mixture. Place them on a cookie try lined with parchment paper and add a lollipop stick to each ball, refrigerate for 1 hour. After an hour melt colored chocolate with a double broiler or a chocolate melt. Dip the balls into the chocolate and place back on cookie sheet place back into the refrigerator until the chocolate has hardened. If you are in a warm humid climate, I would keep them in the re