I shared a bunch of photos yesterday from our It’s the Great Pumpkin Party here at the parsonage, and I thought it might be helpful to share a few of the details.
If nothing else, when I start planning next year’s party I’ll have notes somewhere I know I can find.
We knew going in we wanted to keep the party simple: pumpkin carving, pizza and a showing of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. And because popcorn balls and fall go hand in hand for me, I decided they needed to be part of the gathering.
Granted, popcorn balls are most definitely not paleo…but it was a special occasion, I had one and then had heartburn all night long. Lesson learned for next year.
Shopping for the event was fairly easy: plastic tablecloths, paper plates, napkins and cups, beverages and pumpkin carving tools.
Pumpkins: we’d put on the flyer to BYOP (bring your own pumpkin), but ended up having nearly 50 pumpkins donated by a family at church that hadn’t realized quite how many could be produced by a few acres. I’d love for that to happen again next year, but if it doesn’t we’ll pick up some pumpkins to have on hand in case anyone forgets or can’t get one to bring.
Set-up: We set the donated pumpkins up in the backyard as a little pumpkin patch and invited guests to pick one as they came in. A few tables were put up and covered with plastic tablecloths so guests could scoop and dump the pumpkin guts right there (newspaper gets soggy – plastic is so much better). I spread out the pumpkin carving kits and brought out steak knives as they were needed.
Pizza: We ordered pizza about 15 minutes after guests started arriving – I had completely underestimated how many were coming (I thought 10 and there were about 40), so this was good. It was so much fun to watch everyone – from youngest to oldest – get so excited about pizza.
The movie: I was blessed to have my brother and sister-in-law bring their projector, so we were able to watch the movie outside using a white sheet as a screen. We started the movie about 6:20, which gave our guests just enough time to finish the movie, pack up pumpkins and head home around 7. I set desserts out just before we started the movie, so everyone had a sweet treat during the movie.
The purpose: We’ve felt a very strong call to really encourage family and fellowship through the events of our church, while seeking to provide fun youth-oriented events. I think we did that with this event – we had multi-generational families in attendance, as well as youth who came on their own. Everyone had a great time and the excitement was palpable. God was definitely in attendance, and I’m truly grateful for how well the night went. We’re already working on our next event – a family campfire night – and I’m anxious to see what He wants to do with it.
Take guesses as to how much all of the combined pumpkin guts weigh, and then give a prize to the person that comes closest.
More pumpkin carving sets. And toothpicks for people to poke their patterns into the pumpkin flesh with would have been helpful – I might not have ended up with every pen in our house outside and full of pumpkin goop if we’d had some.
More tables. It got a little bit crowded as more guests arrived.
Signage would have been a good idea. It would be nice to have a definite de-gutting station.
From a purely aesthetic point, a few hay bales or corn stalks would be nice.
Work on some better treats – maybe next year I can aim for all paleo desserts as a challenge.