As you probably can tell, we are a Halloween family. Christmas and Thanksgiving and Easter and all the rest of the holidays are certainly fun, but there’s just something really wonderful about the spookiness of Halloween. It’s not about a big meal, large family gatherings that go on for weeks, or mountains of presents; it’s just making one day extra special, a bit thrilling, and totally memorable. In our house, it’s the Halloween family portrait that gets hung on the wall! So, when my little baby girl watched Nightmare Before Christmas this year and declared it was the theme for her 5th birthday party, I was delighted!
With every birthday party each year for every child, I always tell my husband that I won’t go overboard with the baking and will keep things simpler than the last time. I always fail. But this time, I think I managed to be a little more reasonable than usual. The only purchase were the balloons which I used a Sharpie marker to draw Jack Skellington, Sally, Zero and that famous curly hill. Everything else was from around the house! The backdrop/table cloth was actually my photography backdrop thumb tacked to the wall. I made the Oogie Boogie Man silhouette out of brown kraft postal paper which I painted white with the kid’s finger-paint and just taped to the cloth. The spider webs were taken from Baby A’s Addams Family Nursery and the white crepe paper streamers were leftover from Baby K’s Freak Show Circus Theme 1st Birthday Party. Instead of setting up in the kitchen as I usually do, we put the whole thing in the piano room so that I could work on it whenever I had a free moment and close the door to keep the toddler away, it was good planning!
As for baking, I kept that rather simple, too. The pandemic has prevented my little girl from seeing any of her friends at all this year, and we limited the guests to just my parents with all other family members having to use Facetime. But little Baby J didn’t mind, she was so excited to help and get dressed up with full Sally Skellington makeup–look at that adorable costume and wig (from my Poison Ivy Cosplay at Comic Con!), she didn’t even notice it was just a small gathering. So, I didn’t go too crazy with baking, since there were only a couple guests.
I made a delicious chocolate Jack Skellington cake with the most amazing sour cream chocolate icing I have ever eaten and will make on every chocolate cake from now on, the recipe is Anna Olson’s Fudge Cake. I used the same cake recipe for the cupcakes but with buttercream icing and maraschino cherry and red licorice spiders, inspired by @Neuroticmom. The chocolate skeleton cookies with royal icing and Jack Skellington sugar cookies were from frozen dough leftover from my Halloween Snack Tray. There was also a tray of monster toes (pigs in a blanket), sandworm witches (pinwheel sandwiches), some rice crispy squares, a bowl of gummy worms, and my Granny’s famous punch which Baby J specifically requested. That’s it for food, which was really restrained for me–I don’t know whether it’s the pregnancy or just life experience that is making me not want to do quite so much these days, but it was perfectly appropriate and she loved it!
And of course, we left the DIY Nightmare Before Christmas Balls up in the kitchen until her birthday was over, too. She wanted a whole Christmas tree filled with them, but that’s a little more Halloween than even I’m able to handle!
Baby J is still talking about her “black and white Jack Skeleton cake” and wearing her Sally costume regularly. I’m glad she matured enough (5 years old now, afterall!) to enjoy the movie; it was only last Halloween that she said it was too scary. My little baby witch is growing into a Halloween fanatic like her Morticia mother!
Nightmare Before Christmas Balloons: DIY Sharpie marker drawn on white and Caribbean Blue balloons from PartyCity
Oogie Boogie Man Backdrop: DIY made from kraft postal paper painted white
Child Size Nightmare Before Christmas Sally Dress Costume: eBay
Red Wig: super old, I think I got this shortly after high school…but here’s a perfect child size Sally wig on Amazon