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Dance Moms: How to Set the Barre High
A Mer-magical Birthday Party
by Rachel Minnie
Can’t get to the beach right now? Why not throw your guppy a magical mermaid birthday party instead? There are so many vibrant colors to use for this popular theme - purples, blues, aquas, pinks - that finding coordinating party items will be a sea breeze.
One headache-saver is this leotard mermaid costume from The Leotard Boutique. Use this and any color dance skirt, and your mergirl will feel like Ariel. This is one of those items that is so multi-purpose: dress up, Halloween, or a birthday party.
In fact, why not have all the guests dress up? One of the best kids parties I’ve ever attended against my will was a dress-up party. It was nowhere near October, but kids wore old Halloween costumes or whatever costume pieces they had around. The kids loved it, and the parents loved reusing costumes that otherwise would have stayed in the closet.
Top off the birthday girl’s mermaid costume with a spectacular crown. This Etsy find can be customized with any age or no age. I’d go with no age so that it can be more easily reused for dress up or Halloween.
This kit is definitely on a higher level than regular party balloons. It comes with all the supplies for a show-stopping mermaid tail. Bonus: these don’t need helium to look spectacular.
These paper lanterns are an easy, high-impact decorating choice that will make your guests feel like they are under the sea. Add some fishing nets and seashells for an even better sea vibe.
Another bang for your decorating buck is this kit with purples, pinks, and aquas. Personally, I can’t get enough of those tissue pom poms. Hang them from the ceiling, or just attach them to the wall with painter’s tape. That way, you only have to floof one side. Time saver!
We love the iridescence on these scalloped shell plates. Pair them with this set of iridescent plastic cutlery to complete the magical look.
I may or may not be overdoing it, but I love matching the wrapping paper to a kiddo’s birthday theme. The presents themselves become part of the decorations.
These are another one of those multipurpose items. Not only can these mermaid tail cones be stuffed with treats and used as party favors, they can be hung on string to make them part of the decorations. You’ll have to buy extra ribbon to hang each up, as the ribbons included are only enough for tying the bags closed.
Ready-to-Make Ballet Crafts
It's a Spooky, Socially Distanced Halloween
by Rachel Minnie
Things are pretty scary right now, and not in a good way. Although no one is sure what trick-or-treating will look like this year, we still want to celebrate one of America’s favorite holidays. Here are our suggestions for a responsibly social-distanced Halloween celebration.
Don’t Skip the Costumes
Even if kids aren’t going trick-or-treating or attending their usual parties this year, do not skip the costumes. Dressing up as a kid on Halloween is one of those treasured childhood activities that should be maintained, even if you aren’t going anywhere. (Take a look at our wholesomely spooky girls’ and toddlers’ costume leotards in our Halloween shop!)
Share the (Candy) Love
This one takes a little planning ahead, but think about sending Halloween goodie bags to your child’s closest friends and relatives. Include a handmade card from your child along with a few pieces of candy, a pencil or two, and mail them a few days ahead of time. Your child will have fun getting into the spirit by sending the packages, and your child’s friends will love receiving them.
This is one trick I used when my family first moved to New Hampshire only a couple days before Halloween. We knew not one soul, had no neighbors, and didn’t even know yet where people did their candy peddling in that tiny rural town. So we had my four-year-old dress up in his costume, and while he and his daddy played outside in the early evening, I “hid” candy all around the house. He went through the house, collecting the candy (all his favorites - no duds). He loved it! Even at 11 years old, he still talks about that Halloween. Happy childhood memory - nailed it.
Even if you’re not feeling totally in the Halloween spirit, don’t skip the decorations. In fact, that’s even more reason to go a little more elaborate with indoor and outdoor decorations this year. (If you’re already one of those people who goes all out on their outdoor decor, you deserve a ghoulishly heartfelt thank you from the rest of us.) Not only will it delight your kiddos, but it will inspire the neighbors as well. Instead of driving around to look at holiday lights, drive around to look at all the Halloween decorations.
Keep It Spooky, Witches
Going along with decorating, if you have the space - and, more importantly, the time and energy - make your own outdoor haunted attraction. Who said a haunted house has to be the inside of the house? Backyards can be just as chilling. Set one up and let local families know via social media. On Halloween night, allow one family at a time to go through and provide hand sanitizer and disposable masks. With all of today’s new-fangled animatronic contraptions, you can set up a seriously spooky space with no live jump scares. Add a fog machine, scary recordings, and you’ve got yourself a Halloween horror treat not just for your family, but for your friends and neighbors as well. And if you set it up but don’t get many bodies, consider it a dry run for next year’s Halloween, which we hope will be more lively. Get it? I’ll see myself out.
Photo by @adayinthelifeofcecilia