Teens’ Broomstick Party (Oct, 1955)

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Teens’ Broomstick Party

Shrill the wind and wild the night;
Spooks go prowling, black cats fight;
So set your spooky fears aside
And join us on a Broomstick Ride!

BY RUTH H. BRENT

This party should be planned and carried out by the teen-agers themselves—even to cooking the supper. Mother should stay in the background. Place: A rumpus room or good-sized living room. Of course, a cabin in the woods would also be ideal, as would the municipal recreation rooms set up by your park service.

Date: Monday evening, October 31st, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Food: Wiener-Corn-and-Potato Bake. See menu below.
Dress: Jeans.
Price of Admission: Spooks (all boys) each bring a hollowed-out, but uncarved, pumpkin. Witches (all girls) each bring a broomstick.
Music: Each guest brings favorite records to play on a record player. Anyone have an accordion or guitar?
Number of Guests: 16.
Entertainment: Games, dances, a scavenger hunt, and fireside fun.

EERIE ATMOSPHERE:
Fortunately, Halloween falls on Monday, so the decorating may be done over the weekend. You’ll need:

Grinning Jack-o’-lanterns: Set them on posts outside the house to greet the guests.

Brightly Colored Leaves and Blue and Green Christmas Lights: Wire real or artificial leaves together, and tack them up over doorways, windows, mantels, etc. Add lights. (Autumn leaves may be preserved indefinitely by dipping them into melted paraffin, then pressing with a hot iron between 2 pieces of heavy brown paper.)

Old Umbrella Stand: Place it just outside the door, with a sign reading, “Witches, Park Broomsticks Here.”

Indoor Jack-o’-lanterns: After the contest (page 182), display them in windows, on the mantel, and on the table.

Black-Cat Faces: Make them of black construction paper, with long whiskers, green eyes, and red mouths and nostrils. Pin them to lamp shades, adding orange crepe-paper bow ties to some, orange hair ribbons to others.

False Faces: Buy or make them. Use them in 2 ways: Pin some to lamp shades; tie others to yardsticks, and prop them up outside windows so they appear to be peeking in.

Spider Web: See page 182.

Buffet Table: Cover it with an orange paper tablecloth; or make a cloth from orange cotton yard goods. Use Halloween paper plates, mugs, and napkins. Don’t forget knives and forks.

Table Centerpiece: On a large tray, group candied apples (buy them), peppermint sticks stuck into oranges, and marshmallows; circle the tray with autumn leaves, blue Christmas lights. Save the centerpiece for a ghost-story session around the fire.

THE MENU:
Weiner-Corn-and-Potato Bake,
Toasted Buns, Mom’s Cabbage Slaw,
Pickles,
Doughnuts,
Toasted Marshmallows,
Mulled Cider,
Candied Apples,
Oranges with Peppermint Straws

After school on the party day, let one couple make Mulled Cider (page 182), core oranges (page 182), get the slaw ready to toss, and refrigerate all. At partytime, the first couple to arrive starts the wiener bake, tosses and refrigerates the slaw, and butters buns for toasting in the broiler or fireplace.

WIENER-CORN-AND-POTATO BAKE:
8 unpared small sweet potatoes. 16 unpared small, or 8 medium, white potatoes.
16 ears corn, husked and broken in half.
3 cups boiling water.
2 teasp. salt.
1/2 teasp. pepper.
32 franks.
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine. 1/4 cup snipped parsley.

1. Start heating oven to 425° F.
2. Scrub potatoes. Halve sweet potatoes and medium white potatoes; score cut surfaces, crisscross-fashion.
3. In each of 2 large roasting pans, make single layer of potatoes. Place corn on top. Into each pan, pour 1-1/2 cups boiling water. Sprinkle vegetables with 1 teasp. salt and 1/4 teasp. pepper. Bake, covered (we used foil), about 1-1/2 hr., or until potatoes are nearly tender.
4. Place franks on top. Bake, covered, 30 min. longer.
5. Uncover; pour butter, with parsley added, over all; take to buffet table. Serve with more butter if desired. Makes 16 hearty servings.

Electric-Roaster Version: In roaster, layer all potatoes and corn; season, etc., as above. Bake as above, following manufacturer’s directions, about 1 hr., or until tender. Add franks; continue as in steps 4 and 5 above.

MULLED CIDER:
6 1″ cinnamon sticks.
1 tablesp. whole cloves.
1 tablesp. whole allspice.
2 pieces whole nutmeg.
2 cups brown sugar.
1 gal. apple cider.
16 whole cinnamon sticks.

1. Tie first 4 ingredients in cheesecloth bag.
2. Stir sugar and cider together; add spice bag. Simmer, covered, 15 to 20 min.
3. Serve hot, in mugs, with cinnamon stick in each mug. Makes 16 servings.

ORANGES WITH PEPPERMINT STRAWS:
1. Select 16 uniform oranges. With apple corer, make hole three fourths of way through each.
2. Into each hole, insert a peppermint stick so that it fits snugly. Sticks double as straws. Each guest squeezes his orange, draws juice up through stick. The flavor is really special!

CHOOSE YOUR PARTNER:(for games and dances)

Farmyard Partners: Each girl draws a slip of paper on which is written the name of an animal. The boys draw duplicate slips. At the signal, each player starts imitating the voice of his animal until he finds his mate, who will be making similar calls. Animals may include a pig, donkey, horse, duck, turkey, rooster, wolf, sheep, hen, turtledove, crow.

Balloon Scramble: Give each girl a blown-up balloon that contains a slip of paper inside with her name on it. The girls form a circle and dance to the right, counterclockwise. The boys form a circle around them and dance to the left. At the signal, the girls bat their balloons high into the air. Each boy scrambles for a balloon and breaks it to find his partner’s name.

PRE-SUPPER HIGH JINKS:

Halloween party fun depends largely on games and novelty dances. You may enjoy two or three of these.

Spider Web: This makes a colorful decoration and is a wonderful icebreaker. As the guests set foot in the house, they are met by a network of yarn, in 16 different colors, which has been wound around tables, under rugs, across doorways, and among other pieces of yarn. Each guest is given a clothespin to which is attached the end of one color of yarn. The winner is the first person to untangle his yarn and reach the ugly spider suspended from the ceiling. A squeeze bulb has secretly been attached to the spider, which leaps down just as the winner reaches for it.

Jack-o’-lantern Contest: A hollowed-out pumpkin is given to each couple, along with a knife, candle, and newspapers to protect the floor. Each couple designs a jack-o’-lantern, then secures and lights the candle. Give blue ribbons for the best—and worst!

Witch Puzzle: Give the artist in your group textile paints and an old sheet, and have him paint a 5-foot witch. Leave an opening where the face should be. Attach black yarn for the hair. Hang the sheet in a doorway. Each boy in turn sticks his head through the opening, making as horrible a face as he can and holding the pose only 5 seconds. Girls try to guess the identity of each. Have a flash camera handy for this one; it’s a photographer’s dream!

Broomstick Relay: Girls line up at one side of the room, boys at the other. Each girl places a balloon on the starting line (each balloon is a different color); she is supplied with a broom. At the signal, she starts sweeping her balloon across the floor to her partner. When she reaches him, he quickly grabs the broom and sweeps the balloon back to the other side. First couple through wins.

Scavenger Hunt: By the light of the moon on Halloween—what better time for a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt! Give each couple a list of articles to find and bring back to the house within 30 minutes. Suggestions: old broom, corn candy, black mask, cobweb, bone, orange candle, skull-and-crossbones label, etc.

POST-SUPPER DANCING
Multiplication Dance: Two people start dancing. The music stops. They separate, and each chooses a new partner. Continue until everyone is dancing.

The Orange Dance: Each couple places an orange between their foreheads and begins dancing. The couple who keeps the orange from falling the longest time wins.

Follow-the-leader: Couples line up behind a lead couple. Whatever the lead couple does, the rest must duplicate. Here are four suggestions.
(1) Form a conga line, and zigzag back and forth.
(2) Stand side by side and skate across the floor.
(3) Two couples form a circle, locking arms, and dance together.
(4) Do the elephant walk: Form a single line, and walk on all fours.

The Skeleton Dance: Prior to the party, buy a life-size cardboard skeleton and paint it with luminous paint. One guest dances with the skeleton. Lights are turned off, and he (or she) tries to tap someone on the back with the skeleton. Then that person must dance with it. Everyone tries to avoid getting near it, which glows spookily in the dark.

FIRESIDE FINALE

By this time everyone should be glad to sit in front of the fire and rest. And everyone should be hungry again. So bring out the centerpiece tray of candied apples, marshmallows, and peppermint sticks in oranges, as well as corn to pop and any supper leftovers handy. (We hope that, before the party, the boys whittled long pointed sticks on which to toast the marshmallows.)

Now enjoy ghost stories or a good old-fashioned sing before it’s time to say, “Good night.”

The End

4 comments
  1. Stephen says: June 16, 20125:58 am

    “Now enjoy ghost stories” – read them M. R. James’ “O, Whistle and I’ll Come To You, My Lad”, about a man attacked by a ghost taking its form from his own bedsheets, and they’ll never sleep again.

  2. Toronto says: June 16, 20129:45 pm

    Page 4 has the iconic Lustrex salt and pepper shakers – they had a matching canister set that everyone seemed to have.

  3. Mick Canick says: June 17, 20127:15 am

    You let a teenager have a broomstick and they will soon move on to harder things like mops and vacuum cleaners. No good can come from this.

  4. Charlene says: June 17, 201210:11 am

    Well, if it was this broom

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