A costume contest is the standard activity at a costume party. You can spice yours up by setting up a stage (or just a rug, if you're on a budget) and having kids walk the runway to be judged by the birthday boy or girl.
Before they strut their stuff, have your kids write down a description of themselves and their costume. Have an adult act as the announcer, who introduces each kid as he or she walks down the runway. At the end of the "show," have the birthday boy or girl announce which guest wins the award for best costume.
If you're planning a costume theme party, serve food that matches the theme—barbecue at a Wild West party, Jell-O molds at a retro '50s party.
Whatever your theme, make your food easy to eat: Cut cheese and crudites into small pieces so guests wearing masks can nibble them easily, and stay away from messy foods like dip that can ruin an expensive costume.
Orange Dream (serves six)
- 6 ounces grenadine syrup
- 24 ounces orange juice
- 12 ounces light cream
- 6 ounces simple syrup