I love Fall. Brilliant leaves brighten my view for a few short days before the long and gray Seattle winter begins. Inside, my house smells of bread baking, cinnamon and apples boiling their way into applesauce, and winter herbs adding their fragrant punctuation. Outside, leaves decomposing, wet earth, and woodsmoke mingle together in a symphony of aromas. Mother Nature's magnum opus. Fall is the crescendo of the year.
Fall brings one last chance to get outdoors before the cold sets in. It makes me think about the woodland creatures busying themselves in preparation of the season to come. Chipmunks storing their stash away for the long winter, frogs bedding down, birds flying south, and of course, fairies waving their magic wands to bring us little dustings of frost a la Fantasia.
I love to throw parties for kids where they can dress up, but don't necessarily have the same ol' Halloween experience: super scary decorations, gross things bleeding out, generic horror show stuff. To that end, I like to go traditional, with apple bobbing like we did last year, which seems down right old-fashioned lately, or something completely different, with dress-up and fantasy, a touch of menace, but a heavy dash of whimsy. A fairy party seemed like just the ticket this year.
She made this, y'all. Hella Awesome.
My boys wanted to be bats this year. My eldest had to be a red bat because that is his favorite color. And yes, there are red bats in nature. But not this shade of red. This is what happens when a bat falls in love with a cardinal, I think...
Made both these costumes for under $20. My kinda costumes.
We started the night off with a few dozen balloons. Fairies love balloons.
Our resident tree sprite painted faces.
My son got a skull face. The little vampire with the balloon behind him here, got a kitty face. We had vampire-kitties, bat-skulls, butterfly-fairies, and woodland-witches all over the place!
You may remember that we had a trail in the woods last year. We had a large tree fall this Summer and the trail is still in "recovery mode." So this year, we used our gazebo trail. It's shorter, but it's still windy enough to make it interesting.
Our first stop was a fairy ring. Everybody knows that fairies love to dance! If you find a ring of mushrooms, the fairies have been here the night before. Be careful, though! If you step inside, you might get whisked away to fairy land! Some people think this is what happened to Rip VanWinkle!
(these particular mushrooms were made from Sculpey though, so the children were never in any real danger...)
We have trolls in our woods. They're big and smelly and they don't have very good manners. Fortunately, the fairies provided the children with some talismans to ward them off. Each child got one before we began our trek into the forest.
Our trail had definitely been visited by fairies, the ground was covered with fairy dust! Otherwise known as mica flakes. (If any fairies decide to move into your forest, make sure they use the real mica flakes and not the plastic ones. Our fairies found these on ebay. Or so I've heard...)
And every time we passed a particular tree, we could hear the fairies laughing! Fairy laughter sounds like bells, you know...
(In this case, it sounded exactly like black jingle-bells tied with fishing line...Strange...)
The next stop on our quest was the fairy house, which you can only find, of course, when the door is visible. We got lucky.
Did you know that fairies and trees are very close friends? Trees provide shelter for fairies. When a tree has been in the service of fairies for a very, very long time, they begin to grow faces. This kindly gentleman was the next stop on our journey.
*Cue Menacing Music* DundunDuuuuunnnn! The trolls were about to eat the next clue! We had to hurry to the troll hut and find the clue in their stew pot!
This little hut was built on a new trail off the main one. Those trolls can be downright invasive... Moved right in without asking. Rude much?
I must say, as smelly, and gruff as they are, they did some beautiful construction work...It's almost as though they had help from a tree sprite...hmmm...
One adventurous soul braved the pumpkin guts to retrieve the final clue!
Fairies hide in shadows all the time and consequently, they have become very good friends. They love to play together! Our final fairy taught the children how to play with shadows!
She had a shadow-box set up and the children made their own shadow puppets with popsicle sticks and foam stickers. They loved it! (Thanks to Matt Wright for the photo!)
Fortunately, our charms worked and we didn't see any trolls!
The rain did not hold off like it did so kindly last year so we spent the rest of the evening indoors. First order of business was food, naturally!
Our tablescape was a moss runner, topped with a stick and more moss, leaves, and edible mushrooms with a few peanutbutter filled chocolate frogs hopping about. We served a gluten-free quiche, a fungus tart, spiced pecans, meatballs, hot Russian tea, gluten-free cupcakes, and an assortment of hard ciders and wine. And olives. Because they are pretty...
A few close-ups of the table.
There was a little hill under the moss formed with the high-tech solution known as wadded up plastic bags...
This frog has become friends with an old turtle lamp we have that served as lovely mood lighting.
I was so flustered this year, I couldn't finish the fungus tart which I also made last year. Fortunately, our resident baking fairy and her husband were kind enough to finish it for me. (Read, do all the hard stuff...) Thank you so much, guys!
To follow the woodland theme, almost all of our partyware was compostable. I wasn't able to find biodegradable wine glasses. Get on it, manufacturers!
Also, aren't those "birch" straws fantastic?! Found them on Amazon by Kikkerland.
Our game fairy (aka the shadow fairy) taught the kids how to play musical flowers, fairy freeze dance, and how to have a snake relay. The kids also got fairy masks!
Our parting gifts were sucker topiaries and slacker jack owl bags. Pinterest is a wonderful place, y'all... Again, my good friend, the shadow fairy, made these!
I cannot express my thanks enough to Tori, Lauren, and Danika who have been working on this with me since August! None of this could have happened without you ladies. Also, to the husbands who lent me their wives, you guys rock. Plain and simple. Get ready girls, I'm already formulating plans for next year! ;)
I hope you enjoyed looking at our little party! If you'd like to see my idea board for this year, check out my Halloween Pinterest album. So many great ideas out there we didn't get to implement!