Family Memories

Autumn Party: The Twins Turn Twelve!


For as long as I can remember we have had an autumn party each year.  The twins’ birthday falls just before halloween, a holiday we prefer to ignore rather than celebrate.  Of course, making a decision to avoid halloween without our children feeling they are missing out could have been tricky but helpfully the twins’ autumnal birth gives us an excuse for a party of a whole different kind.  So the annual autumn themed birthday celebration was born.

When we were in Ireland it was just a family celebration.  Once we moved to England we began inviting our close friends Nik and Andy and their two boys.  Over the past five years it has become a time of year we all look forward to which is full to the brim of wholesome fun activities.  I wrote a post last year which outlined what we do each year.

We knew this year was going to be a bit different.  The girls had become very close to my badminton pal, Lorna’s daughter, K11.  And handily she also has a son of T’s age, B13.  Over the past year we have been meeting up once a week at the leisure center and we have all become very good friends.  This year the girls requested that they were invited to their autumn party as well.


Then Nik phoned to say her son had fractured his foot and he would be unable to go for the hour-long walk we usually do at a nature trail nearby (photo from last year):

This is set up in the nearby hills and we always enjoy going

This meant I needed to find an hour worth of activities to fill the time.  I went to work and between us, Lorna and I came up with enough activities to fill a week!  Lorna organised for a lady from Forever cosmetics to come by and give the girls a facial and talk about skin care with them, whilst I organised extra party games.

The day started off normally enough, with the girls opening their presents:

Ribbet collageparty1

After which K11 and B13 arrived.  The boys went to the local park to burn off some energy whilst the girls had facials and learnt how to look after their skin:

Ribbet collageparty2

At 2pm Nik and her boys arrived and the party games began:


They divided into boy/girl teams and I was the judge.  I had already drawn a score board for encouraging a healthy competitive spirit.  I needn’t have bothered.  The boy girl element made for hyper-competitiveness, to the point where I will be looking for ways to decrease it or at least contain it!


First up was hanging doughnuts.  Last year we blindfolded them.  This year we forgot. More fool us:

Ribbet collagedoughnut1

Ribbet collagedoughnut2

It was over with very quickly.  Next year blindfolds!  Score: boys and girls drawn.

Next we played the cotton wool shake.  For this you need Vaseline and cotton wool balls:


One member of each team race against each other and the clock.  Using the Vaseline as a glue each player must pick up one cotton wool ball and then shake it off into a bowl placed at the starting line.  Back and forth they go until one minute is up.  The team with the most balls once everyone has had a turn wins:

Ribbet collagecottonwool

dropping the balls off into bowls the other side of the room
dropping the balls off into bowls the other side of the room

It wasn’t dignified but my goodness was it funny!  Boys won.  Score: Boys-2 Girls-1

Next up – Terror Tower:


The aim is to work in teams to build the highest tower from dried spaghetti and mini marshmallows.  First we did it as teams of all the boys verses all the girls with one minute to plan and two minutes to build:

Ribbet collagemarsh

It wasn’t hugely successful as there seemed to be too many leaders and not enough followers.  Also I had rather ignorantly said they could use anything I had given them.  I meant they could incorporate the cup and bowl the pasta and marshmallows came in.  The boys interpreted it to mean they could use the chairs and so precariously piled all the furniture on top of each other!  So we decided to retry with smaller teams and they were not allowed to use anything other than spaghetti and marshmallows.  They were also given a longer time of five minutes:

Ribbet collagemarsh2

This was better but still too many leaders.  So much so that everyone spent a long time bossing each other around with not as much time spent building.  We were impressed with the two boys who had a team of just the two of them and worked really well together as a team.  Next time we will split into teams of two (which seemed to work well) and more time will be given.  It was enormous fun but we felt we hadn’t got the dynamics quite right yet.  It was definitely a keeper for next year though.  Boys won.  Score: Boys-3 Girls-1

The next game, stocking skittle, was one I personally was looking forward to.  You need stockings and tennis balls and an empty plastic bottle:


Place the ball in the stocking and the stocking over your head.  Here is Lorna modelling it:


The goal is to knock the bottle over in as quick a time as possible, just using your ball and stocking:

Ribbet collageballs

The girls won this time!  Score: Boys-3 Girls-2

Whilst fun, this was much easier than it had sounded and was over in a flash.  The quickest time was Lorna’s 1.72 seconds!

Hopping popping was next and required each person to have a balloon tied to the back of their ankle:


The aim was to stamp and pop everyone’s balloon whilst preventing yours from being popped.  My camera really doesn’t like being in the dark so I only got one photo and it wasn’t even an action one:


There was a bit of cheating going on in this game from the boys (who kept popping everyone’s balloon even though they were out) so the girls won by default.  Score: Boys-3  Girls-3

Dress and feast was also great fun.  In this game you need two sets of (ski) gloves, scarfs, goggles and hat, sets of knives and forks and two bars of chocolate:


We set up two relay teams of boys verses girls.  My photos aren’t great because it all happened so quickly and I was taking photos from behind.  The aim of the game is for a player from each team rushing up dressing in scarf, goggles, hat and mittens and then attempting to cut of one square from the chocolate bar using a knife and fork and eating that square:

Ribbet collageski

The girls won on account of the gloves being too small for both Gary and T12.  Score: Boys-3 Girls-4

Pass the pumpkin was our penultimate game and was very funny to watch.  We used an orange balloon instead of a pumpkin because we had the little girls but I think if we did it again we would use a long squash or something similar.  All you need is a couple of blown up balloons.  Each team forms a line and the pumpkin (balloon) is passed down the line using your legs instead of your hands.  The last person needs to sit on the balloon without popping it to win:

Ribbet collagepumpkin

Girls won (again).  Score: Boys-3 Girls-5  Go girls!!

We did a bit of apple bobbing:

Ribbet collageapple

Followed by some sparklers outside:

Ribbet collagefire

And candles and a cake inside:


And then the adults flaked out, none of us in full health with various forms of cold virus’.  We’d done well though, and made it to the end.

Love you girls!!

Homegrown Learners photo 50ee37ee-4f60-43f2-83eb-bb7deb75fd49_zpsbacda61d.png

33 comments on “Autumn Party: The Twins Turn Twelve!

  1. Many happy returns girls. Looks like you had a great time. Was praying for you and really looking forward to seeing you after Christmas. Claire how did you find a friend who’s as mad and talented as you when it comes to planning parties! I still remember the ones in Coleraine. The thing about them is it looks like chaos one minute and I blink and you’ve got it all cleared up. Just another one of those amazing things that you do so well. See you soon!!!! X

  2. Happy birthday girls. It was a great day. Well done Claire for all your hard work in organising this. You are a truly amazing woman. Love you all. I think I must be the luckiest man alive to be blessed with such a wonderful family.

  3. Happy Birthday to the girls! The cake looks so yummy. Wow! You really know how to throw a party! I’m tired just reading about it all…

    • Yes, I’m just getting over it now. None of the adults were well, but I think we all did really well pretending an energy we just didn’t feel!

  4. ]Happy Birthday, girls!! What a wonderful fall party. Everyone looks so happy. (What a sweet comment Gary left.)

  5. Brilliant fun!! Happy birthday girls!

  6. LOL What great fun! A party to remember for sure! Memories! Happy 12th!

  7. what a great party and looks like all had a great time! Enjoy your weekend.

  8. I LOVE the games, they look like so much fun!

    Is it apple popping or apple bobbing? Over here we call it bobbing.

    • It’s bobbing over here too! I wasn’t well, and shall put the mistake down to having the sniffles!

  9. Happy Birthday to the girls. Your parties are as cool as your school! I think we need you to adopt us 🙂

  10. What a perfect birthday celebration. I love all the games. Some of them sound like a riot!

    • They really are! We’re lucky because all the adults and the children join in and couldn’t care less if they look a bit silly, which of course increases the hilarity. Children love to see adults make a fool of themselves!

  11. Happy birthday to the twins! The party games are such fun, and very funny too! A wonderful party. 🙂

  12. So much fun! Your party games are hilarious! I think we just might do some of them for our next party! Tell the twins happy birthday for me!

  13. Happy birthday to the twins! It looks like everyone enjoyed the party. The games look like so much fun. I really don’t know how you do everything you do. Amazing. The cake looks delicious. Yum!

    I hope you have an amazing week. We are enjoying cooler weather after a week of summer again. I am a bit behind on reading all your posts, but will try to catch up this week. Hugs to you.:)

    • We need cooler weather. I didn’t think I’d ever be saying that but it is very warm for November here!
      Hugs back!

  14. Happy birthday to the girls!

  15. Just wanted to say happy birthday to your budding young ladies! I’ve been stalking your blog for quite some time (😃) but this is my first time popping in with a comment.

    • Welcome Heather! I’m so glad you did pop by, I really enjoyed perusing your blog earlier on today. Thanks for saying hello!

  16. What fun!! The games look hilarious, and I know I’ll be stealing a few ideas… I especially want to see my family with cotton balls on their noses, and hosiery over their heads! It looks like the twins had a wonderful time. Happy Happy Birthday to the girls.

  17. Wow, what a cool party! Thanks for sharing the funny game ideas, we will copy some for our birthday parties (5 from December to February!).

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