Halloween Party Fun!

Halloween – To Party Or Not To Party

I am a party person.  I love throwing them!  Hubber is not, but he loves me so he goes along with my party obsession.  He’s good to me like that.  With Halloween coming up next month, I’ve been trying to get my kids on board with hosting one for their classmates… I think the Divine Miss A is starting to come around.

I’ve been going through some pictures of parties past as a way to entice her to the spooky side, and came across these.  This party was pretty epic.  As a rule I don’t post photos of my kids faces or pics of other kids, so sadly we will not be seeing the incredible costumes my creative friends came up with for their babes that Halloween.  But rest assured – many went far beyond the typical lion and Buzz Lightyear and well into the Demented Used Car Salesman realm.  So Awesome.

Goulish Gruel

Some veeeery scaaaary yummies for your tummies…

Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas
Halloween party yummies. Drool.

I find organizing a food table for a party so satisfying.  Am I the only one?  Probably not… just go to Pinterest.

Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas  Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas

Yes, that is a snake hiding in the individually cut cat shaped home made nacho chips.  And yes, that is a plastic eyeball and hand made skull food pick strategically placed in the bat shaped sandwiches.  WHY DOES EVERYBODY KEEP ASKING ME IF I’M CRAZY?  I don’t understand you people.

This is my friend Megan (on the right) and me.  I mean, do we LOOK crazy?

Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas
See? This is what normalcy looks like. Totes kosher. I wear this everyday. The PTA loves me.

Sweeeeet.  Nom nom nom.

This is my favorite part.  Sugar me, baby.

Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas
There’s some serious skeleton angst happening here. Maybe these skulls are going through their teenage years. I didn’t have a chance to ask them.

The cupcakes were store bought.  And now, for comparison, is a homemade treat.  I think a guest brought them, but honestly I can’t remember who.  I think they are super cute and they were soooo yummy.  They didn’t last – I do know we had leftover cupcakes though.  Take that, professional fancypants people!  Oh wait, I’m a professional fancypants invitation designer… um… well, sometimes it’s important to… oh screw it.  Just look at some food, would ya?

Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas

Yeah, we kinda had a lot of cupcakes.  But hey, you can’t go wrong with cupcakes, right?

Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas

And for good measure, here is some more junk food.  We got our kids good and wired on candy, that’s for sure.  Well actually, Hubber and I got everybody else’s kids good and wired.  The Divine Miss A slept through the entire party and woke up just as everybody was leaving.  She was dressed as a chicken and to be honest, she didn’t give a cluck about the party.

Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas  Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas
Marshmallows and icing are basically heaven. If this isn’t proof that God exists then I don’t know what more you want. If you’ve tried it, you know what I mean.

Decor and Paper

Halloween really isn’t “my” holiday, the way it is for some. Generally Christmas is more my thing.    But I still had a lot of fun, even without breaking the bank on decorations.  I mostly hit up dollar stores, Michaels and cut stuff out of paper.  The food tags were created in Photoshop using elements I found online.  Overall, I had a blast creating this party.

Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas
An alien skeleton was on display in the bathroom.

I feel that this warrants an explanation.  This grossed out a few of my female guests but I thought it was so cool!

The container was something I picked up at the dollar store for a couple of bucks and filled with water.  The skeleton itself is one of those weird sponge toy things that comes in pill form and grows in water.  I threw it in there and it just kept growing and growing and growing – I can’t remember now what it was supposed to be… I think a dinosaur or something.  I waited until it filled the jar and then bent it around a bit more with a spoon, and glued the lid cap on with a glue gun so the water wouldn’t spill.  I then decided it was an alien (instead of a toad, I wanted to see what shape it would take before I filled out the tag).  It was simple, extremely affordable, and once I provided the information people absolutely went for it.

The other objects in the picture are small bottles I also got from the dollar store and filled with colored water with caps glued on and silly labels attached, indicating various poisons.  I put them on a small table in my tiny bathroom and called that room the apothecary.

Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas

I am most at home when working with paper.  It was so much fun making these food tags!  They were professionally printed to make the black pop, and I do wish the white spiderweb was showing up better in these photos – there was an intricate spiderweb on the right that you can only partially see here.  You can however see the gorgeous grain of the Bazzil cardstock that I use for my invitations.  LOVE Bazzil!

Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas

How cute are these decorations?  I made the sign for the mirror quite easily in Photoshop by printing out the letters and then gluing them onto squares of spare cardstock and then stringing them onto black ribbon.  This sign held up for years and years and I finally had toss it only last year because it got torn.  Best $5 decoration I’ve ever made.

And last but not least, this is a bat mitzvah invitation I did around the same time using the design elements that I used for this party.  In fact, this invite was the inspiration for me to throw this party.  Ellie, my client, really loved Halloween and wanted to have a “Boo Mitzvah”, and I had a lot of fun creating this invitation for her awesome event.

Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Black and Orange Table | Halloween Party Ideas | Bat Mitzvah | Boo Mitzvah | Mitzvah Invitation

This invitation evolved from a variety of designs from my collection.  If you are having an event, go check out the collection and remember, our designs can be altered to fit your color scheme.

 

Halloween | Halloween Party | Halloween Food | Halloween Treats | Halloween Party Ideas 

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Mario Party

Mario.

All Mario, all the time.  I have a son… that should explain a lot.

This is my professional blog, for my wedding invitations.  But I put a lot of work into the birthday parties I throw for my kids, and I thought, maybe another mom out there might appreciate some of the stuff I’ve done.  Maybe some of my ideas might help them when they’re planning a party for their kiddletons.  And maybe some of my brides have kids.

Plan it out.

Last year the Kamikaze Kid turned six.  He was obsessed with Mario, and asked for a Mario party.  This is what I came up with.  Let me start by saying that everything in the stores was Lego themed, and it was hard to find much Mario and Luigi stuff.  This year I decided to go easy on myself and convinced him to go with a Lego party – and everything in the stores is Mario themed.  I can’t find anything with a Lego block on it.  FOR THE LOVE OF KING TITAN WHY IS MY LIFE LIKE THIS.

The first step in my party planning (or wedding planning) is aways to come up with a basic color palette.  For a Mario theme, I knew the colors would have to be red, blue and bright green and yellow – a true primary color scheme.  I repainted a picture frame I bought at Goodwill a zillion years ago and printed out something I MacGyver’d together in photoshop to make this sign for our front door.

Mario | Super Mario | Mario Party | Mario Decorations | Mario Table | Mario Food
Welcome, gamers, to the Kamikaze Kid’s epic sugar infused pool party!

DIY Diva.

I made a lot of the decorations – I usually do.  Because of time constraints I try to buy more than I used to (I used to insist on making EVERYTHING but who has time for that?) but I always end up making at least a few things.  With Mario stuff being so hard to find, I ended up DIY-ing quite a few things for this party.

Mario | Super Mario | Mario Party | Mario Decorations | Mario Table | Mario Food Mario | Super Mario | Mario Party | Mario Decorations | Mario Table | Mario Food

Like everyone else online, I went to Home Depot and bought some PVC pipe, then spray painted it green.  As always, I was asked for my ID and told condescendingly not to “huff the spray paint”.  I’m not sure what kind of vibe I’m giving those people to warrant the lecture, but I wouldn’t even know how to start “huffing” spray paint and didn’t even know you could get high from it until they told me.  In my day, you would ask someone’s older sibling to buy you a mickey of something at the LCBO and get tipsy at the edge of a wheat field like a normal teenager.  #Canadian #digression #ThanksForAskingForMyID

Anyway, the pipe really does make the perfect tunnels that mimic the ones in the game.  I then cut out a triangle from some styrofoam balls (for the mouths of these – what are these red dotted things anyway?) and painted them.  I had trouble finding something sturdy enough to hold them up, and couldn’t face making another trip to Michael’s, so I used green popsicle sticks which I raided from the kids’ craft drawer.  A year later and the Kamikaze Kid is still playing with these things, so I’m gonna call this a crafting success – and they looked pretty awesome on the food table at the party, too.

I made the little food sign – the “fire power” sign by the cheese balls – out of a wooden stand I got at Michaels.  I usually buy them when they are on sale or I have a bunch of coupons, and then hold on to them.  I always end up using them for something.  I printed out the Luigi picture from photoshop and glued it on, then painted the bottom of the stand green and the “stem” of the stand red with white dots to match the red headed mushroom thingies I had made.  It looked pretty good!  I made a few food stands like this.

Good and sugared.

Mario | Super Mario | Mario Party | Mario Decorations | Mario Table | Mario Food
Marshmallow mushrooms

These marshmallow treats were a HUGE hit.  HUGE.  I’ve discovered that anytime you put a marshmallow on a stick (or in this case a straw, since the sticks I had kept breaking and I didn’t trust using them without getting splinters into kids’ mouths) and toss a bit of icing into the deal you are going to have some seriously happy children.  I love how these turned out, and they weren’t very hard to make at all.  The first step is putting the marshmallow on the straw, so you can put the icing on the marshmallow without smudging it.  I learned the hard way – you can see the smudge on the first one I did before I figured this out.  The marshmallows were gone in about 7.8 seconds.

Mario | Super Mario | Mario Party | Mario Decorations | Mario Table | Mario Food | Mario Cake
Mario cake with buttercream frosting.

For the first time, the Kamikaze Kid had opinions about his cake and how it should look.  I let him describe his wishes to the (very patient) baker behind the counter at our favorite bakery, and she gave him exactly what he asked for.  It was absolutely delicious!  The sides have all the different Mario characters on it.  If you live in the Austin Texas area, I recommend checking out Sweet – we go to them whenever we need a cake or other sweet treat.  Their prices are competitive, they are friendly and have always given us exactly what we have asked for.  My daughter’s Nightmare Before Christmas birthday cake was unbelievable.

More decorations… because it never ends.

Mario | Super Mario | Mario Party | Mario Decorations | Mario Table | Mario Food
Tablescape.

I think the table turned out pretty cute.  Usually, there isn’t a formal “sit down and eat your cake here” area.  This year the kids were older, and since we had a pool party I didn’t want them to drip all over my house.  I hand painted the clouds on the cardstock squares because apparently, I’m a crazy person.  Yup.  Nothing but the best for my kids.  They’d better throw me one awesome retirement party one day, I’m telling you…

Mario | Super Mario | Mario Party | Mario Decorations | Mario Table | Mario Food
Table setting, complete with a hat and hand painted placemat. Because momma be cray cray.

Mario | Super Mario | Mario Party | Mario Decorations | Mario Table | Mario Food Mario | Super Mario | Mario Party | Mario Decorations | Mario Table | Mario Food

The favor boxes were a lucky find, I found them here.  The sign says “Game over, thanks for coming.  Please take a gift box!”  The frame is from Ikea.

 

Do you like Mario?  Is Mario taking over your house?  Is the Mario theme song running through your head now?  You’re welcome…  And if you have a Mario party, please leave a link in the comments so I can see what you got up to!

 

Mario | Super Mario | Mario Party | Mario Decorations | Mario Table | Mario Food Mario | Super Mario | Mario Party | Mario Decorations | Mario Table | Mario Food

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Colors in Weddings

Why? Why?  Oh God WHY?

A color scheme is important to have during your wedding planning.  It helps to narrow down your choices and to bring everything together in a cohesive manner.  Following a color scheme can make an event go from looking like you picked up some mismatched dollar store finds to hiring an upscale event coordinator, and you’ve basically spent the same amount of money.  If you need some color scheme inspiration, check out my color palette pinterest boards.  I’ve got one for spring and summer themes and another one for fall and winter themes.

Pink, peach and soft blue wedding color scheme. www.chantalclaire.com
Romantic color scheme in “dusty” shades.
Pink and navy blue wedding color scheme. www.chantalclaire.com
Romantic “energetic” color scheme in popping shades.

I need a color scheme and I don’t know where to start

I’ve been seeing this a lot on bridal forums lately.  Brides who are at the beginning of their planning, and feel lost with their color choices.  I get it – there are so many great color pairings out there, and all you have to do is play around on pinterest for a while to have your mind changed twenty times.

The best thing you can do, I’ve found,  is to use descriptive words – don’t focus on big picture right away, but rather descriptive words for your event.  Elegant vs funky, timeless vs modern, traditional vs unique.  Is there anything you absolutely do not want?  If you know you are more of a traditionalist, then you probably won’t want to go with a black and bright pink color scheme.  Love the drama of Hollywood red carpets and want to emulate that excitement at your event?  Then maybe black, red and gold is something you’ll want to lean towards.  If you are using descriptive words like fun and lively for your wedding then maybe something bright like orange and pink are going to be more appropriate.  Descriptive words are the best way in my opinion, after years of doing this, to narrow your focus on the feel of the event you want to have.

Color Connotations

There are probably some color combos you want to avoid because they are associated with certain things.  Be wary of color combinations like red and green because they are Christmas colors, orange and black because of Halloween, pastel purple and yellow because of Easter and black and yellow because you’ll have a bumblebee wedding.  That being said, if that’s what you’re going for then have at it.

Green and pink springtime wedding colors. www.chantalclaire.com
Springtime colors, more casual theme.
Soft pink, tan and peach wedding color scheme. www.chantalclaire.com
Springtime colors, more formal theme.

Invitations

Sometimes it’s easier to start by ruling out what you DON’T want.  If you like my designs, but haven’t seen the right colors either on the website or here on the blog, then get in touch and we will work together to come up with the right color scheme for you.  I can show you samples of previous work to give you ideas, and whip up some mockups until we find the right thing.  I don’t charge based on the number of mockups I do, so if it takes twenty tries, it takes twenty tries.  If we get it right after three tries, then that’s awesome too.

It used to be that I had to do a face to face consultation.  But I am no longer living in the dark ages!  With the advent of me not being a lame-o and having a smart phone and ACTUALLY KNOWING HOW TO USE IT (insert the voices of a thousand angels singing here) we can now do scheduled consultations no matter where you are.  So email me and we’ll set something up.

Good luck!  Let me know if you need some direction!

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RSVP Nightmare

I found this online and it was just way too funny not to share.  I think just about every bride has at least one rsvp nightmare story.

rsvp
Don’t make Liam Neeson mad.

I hope yours isn’t too bad, and is one that you can laugh about in the very near future.  I’m sorry to say, it doesn’t get much better when it comes to waiting for replies to kids’ birthday invites.  May the odds be ever in your favor.

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I know a guy who’s tough but sweet

I want candy…

I have a feeling a lot of my clientele is too young to know the song referenced in the title.  Now I have a case of the sads.  GAWD I’M SO OLD.

Now that that’s out of the way…  What’s your favorite candy?  I’m Canadian, and miss good Canadian stuff like Allen’s toffee and Smarties now that I live in the States.  And no, not Smarties like the round pastel stuff you get at Halloween.  Canadians know those are called Rockets.

smarties rockets candy
Smarties and Rockets are the same thing…?

Now THESE are Smarties, and yes, they are the best.  And no, they are not M&Ms.

smarties candy
Canadian smarties… nom nom nom

Guess what I found?

I just discovered someone on instagram who might be really helpful for all you brides or others planning events.  Or for people like me who just really, really love candy.  Check them out:

candy pros logo
CandyPros.com Logo

What is helpful about this site is that you can easily shop by color, event or candy type, so you don’t need to spend ages clicking around hoping to come across something that might work for your candy buffet (or late night binge sessions – not that, I mean…  binge? on candy? wha? people do that???  I definitely don’t.  What a weird thing to think about.)

If you’re jonesing for a sweet fix or need to get your guests properly sugared, check these guys out.  They seem pretty rad.  If you use them or have purchased from them in the past, give me a holla so I can update this post with feedback for others.

If you do end up buying something for your event from Candy Pros, the favor boxes on our website are a great way to box them up and hand them out to your guests.  Just sayin’.

Ah crap… I had told myself that today would be day one of my healthy eating program.  Now all I want to do is see what kind of leftover Valentine’s candy I can scrounge from the kiddleton’s school loot bags.  Just say no, Chantal…

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"Modern wedding favor box - buy preassembled or save money and assemble yourself"

Don’t box me in!

In the beginning…

I launched my invitation business right after my wedding in 2006.  A few years later, we started a family.  I went on hiatus to focus on the offspring, because boy oh boy are babies ever a (cute) time suck!  Now that the littles aren’t quite so little anymore (the Divine Miss A is in third grade and the Kamikaze Kid started kindergarten), I’ve been itching to get back to my other great love, my little business.

New stuff

One product I am very excited about and having been thinking about since the kidlets were tiny is favor boxes.  I’ve been playing with different templates over the years, and after some trial and error this is the one that has passed all my tests.  I can’t wait to see it in action in client wedding photos!

Like all the Chantal Claire products, the favor boxes can be recolored to match your color palette, and can include your fonts and wording at no additional charge.  The boxes are around 2″x3″ when assembled.

Favor box for fall leaves wedding collection Favor box for allover floral wedding collection Favor box for swirls wedding collection Favor box for cherry blossom wedding collection

Yup, I’m awesome, lol!

This is a bit unheard of, but despite being a vendor in the wedding industry I’m actually not a total douche.  I’m all about keeping costs down for brides when possible.  I remember all too well what it was like to see the budget slip away, and I had a small wedding!  With that in mind, I like to provide options for my clients while still providing the best quality product I can.  If you are crafty, you can purchase these favor boxes unassembled.  This will save on shipping and labor costs.  They arrive flat; you will cut them and assemble them yourself.  They will come scored and easy to fold, like this:

 

 

Favor box for flourish wedding collection unassembled
Flourish favor box, unassembled.

If you think glue is just for sniffing (just say no!) you should probably have me assemble them for you.  This is the better option if you don’t have time yourself.  The price will be higher to account for the labor and the extra shipping charges.

I hope you will consider these for your event!  If you do, please send me some pictures of them in action!

 

 

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Anniversary Party

Last month we threw a pretty epic anniversary/birthday party.  Hubber and I are both turning the big 4-0 this year, and it’s our ten year wedding anniversary.  My parents and friends flew in from Canada and my cousins came over from Holland.  We held it at our house and it was pretty awesome.

The party had a pink floral theme with gold accents.  Here are some pictures of the details.

I hand painted the signage and menus, and made the plastic wine glasses pretty with little paper roses.  Due to the rental company sending the wrong sized tables I had to come up with some last minute centerpieces the night before but you would never know come dinnertime what a ball of stress that was.  A big thank you to the unexpected weather patterns for messing up another large scale event for me  – the first being my wedding.

DSC_3993

It’s important to note that Hubber hates Michael Buble.  Naturally, this means I need to Buble shiz up as often as possible, so I had asked our guests to give him a Buble related gift at the party.  We got some pretty epic stuff including a “signed” picture and some really high quality whiskey with a somewhat explicit photo of Michael on a custom label.

I made him a picture in photoshop, because two Bubles are better than one.

Behind the scenes, everything went wrong for this party.  It’s a month after the fact and I’m still not over how much of a disaster stuff was right up until guests started arriving.  It was all things that were out of my hands like weather not cooperating, vendors supplying the wrong tables and chairs with curse words scrawled on the back, things like that.  But in the end it all came together and people have told me they had a great time.  It looked beautiful.  So all in all, it was a success!  Just a much more stressful success than I have ever experienced in all my years of party planning.  I guess I got off easy with my wedding since things went pretty smoothly, so I was due.

The main lesson here is, of course, that things will never go as smoothly as you expect and you’ve just gotta roll with the punches.  The guests only knew that things looked great, the food was excellent and they were having a great time.  They didn’t know about the gonzo nutball lead-up I had experienced in the days before.  Try to keep that in mind during your wedding, mitzvah, quincineara, or whatever event it is you are planning.  THINGS WILL GO WRONG.  LIFE WILL GO ON.  Someday, you will laugh about it all.  I’m not quite at the laughing part yet, but that might be because I’ve sobered up from the party.  Somebody pour me another drink…

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