Children's Parties - 1896 Planning, Foods, Games
"To make the party successful, the good thing to eat must
be both plentiful and decorative.....Children often hope that
there will be ice cream and cake -- the one requisite in their
eyes to every well-managed party....The birthday cake is not at
all comme il faut unless decorated with the requisite number
of candles -- one for each guest....The candles are lighted and
allowed to burn during the eating of the refreshments, each child
blowing out one of the lights just before cutting the cake, which
is passed around last of all."
"The clever hostess recognizes the charm inherent in favors,
whether her guests be old or young, the latter especially being
made happy if there are any games that yield prizes to the victors.
The latest thing in birthday favors for bestowal by a small hostess
are tiny Mother Goose figures on the birthday cake....Still another
method of bestowing favors, and one that also adds color and daintiness
to the feast, is to place at each plate a small fancy basket tied
with ribbon and filled with plain candy."
"The menu for such a party need not be elaborate to insure
its enjoyment. Ice cream and cake are quite enough to make all
perfectly happy, but if more is desired, sandwiches and cocoa
may be added. When the ice cream is moulded in the shape of flowers
or animals, there is an added delight and elegance...."
"The entertainment should be well thought out beforehand.
There should be some games played for prizes, but it is not wise
to have too many such games. Games that require mental effort
are not likely to be successful, as children are quickly bored
and lose interest."
The Sugar Plum Bag - Place candies in a paper sack and
suspend in a doorway, not too high for the smallest guest to reach
it with a wand. The game is to break the bag, each child striking
at it once in passing. The bag should be made of strong paper,
able to resist the blows for some time. The game is to break the
bag so that the contents fall to the floor; when there is a general
scramble for the sweets. This may be accomplished in two ways:
Each child is given a wand and all children rotate around the
bag to lively music, each child striking at the bag once in passing.
or one guest may be blindfolded, turned around three times and
then takes three strikes at the bag. The successful one is given
the largest candy in the bag.
Parlor Blind Man - The leader is blindfolded, while the
other children stand or sit about the room. The manager of the
game has told each child what animal he is to represent for the
time being, and when he is touched by the blinded child he must
imitate the noise made by that particular animal, repeating three
times if requested. From the noise thus made the blind man must
guess the performer's name. If successful, the child named takes
the place of the blindfolded one, and so the game goes on.
Progressive Games - Progressive games are always successful and will usually take up an entire evening. The games are laid on different tables so that at least four guests may play at each. The games may be "tiddlewinks", "Jack straws," etc., and all guests should play at once. The head table governs the time allowed for the playing; when the game at
this table is finished by one side winning, a bell is rung, and
those who have won at their respective tables, or those nearest
finishing, advance one table. The player who first finishes the
round of the tables gets the first prize, while the one making
the least advance gets the booby prize.
Hunts - "Hunts" are always fascinating to young
people. The hunt may be for peanuts cleverly hidden away or for
packages to which are attached strips of paper, equally well concealed
from view. For the latter hunt, strips of paper containing different
numbers are placed in a bowl and each guest draws a slip. Inexpensive
gifts made into packages are hidden about the rooms in places
hard to find, a number being attached to each prize. When a package
is found, if its number does not correspond to the number held
by the hunter, it is not touched, nor are its whereabouts divulged.
All the prizes are opened together after the last one is found.
For the peanut hunt, a hundred or more nuts are hidden throughout
the rooms. Guests are given bags and the guest who finds the most
peanuts, wins the prize.
Old Time Donkey Party Variations - For the old-time "donkey
party" there are many variations. One recently seen was played
with a cleverly drawn bicycle and rider, the latter detached and
pinned to position on his wheel, the player being blindfolded.
Still another amusing arrangement has a colored drawing of a clown,
his long peaked hat being pinned to place by the players.
"Children's parties are fruitful of much good when well managed, for such gatherings will early accustom the small man or woman to the little formalities and courtesies which give ease and grace of manner later on. There should not be any laxity of graciousness on the part of the host or hostess, the wise mother seeing to it that each of the guests as they arrive shall receive the conventional welcome. Then, too, when the good-byes are to be said the party giver should be conveniently at hand to receive the hearty "I've had a lovely time" that seems to be the invariable expression of small guests. Years after such gathering will remain bright spots in the memories of your boy and mine.