Party ideas have emerged quite randomly over the years. Most bizarrely, my husband (P), once decided to make a paper mache volcano (for reasons known only to himself). It was effectively a construction containing a popcorn machine, with embedded fairy lights for extra ‘je ne sais quoi’. The structure itself was made with said popcorn maker, sitting on top of an upturned plastic bin to give it height, surrounded with chicken wire to create the pyramid shape. You can see it ready for action on the right side of the picture above.
I know it sounds weird, but seemingly not to a party-load of three year-olds when they saw it erupt at my youngest son’s first birthday party. Er… when I say ‘erupt’, it had more of an explosive effect than even we had intended – translating roughly into ‘popcorn firing from the top like a machine gun’. We somehow got swept up with the idea and away from the basic practicalities of putting the lid on, or having a bowl to catch it. Holding a plastic cup rather uselessly in its direction, hoping to catch some was a bit like hoping a chocolate fire guard will do the trick. Obviously, the promise of popcorn, feeling of jeopardy and general parental panic just topped it off for the three year-olds. Not so much egg on our faces, as a face full of popcorn. More “Some Mothers do ‘Ave ‘Em” than “Domestic Goddess”. Nigella, your crown is safe.
Keen to rise to the occasion, I then thought I’d follow the theme of wacky snack dispensers and made an ice-cream stand out of some cardboard boxes and a children’s table. I went the whole hog and put some photocopied Monopoly money in the children’s party lunch boxes – so they could ‘buy’ an ice cream from us kneeling behind the stand. Whilst the ice-cream stand is still limping-on following a recent refurb (below), the popcorn volcano sadly had to be retired after a stint in a damp shed. Every dog has it’s day.