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New Twists on the Slumber Party

Slumber parties aren't just fun-they're a rite of passage! The kids get to stay up late, share time with their friends, and sleep over at someone else's house. At some point your child may request a slumber party at your house to celebrate a birthday and may want something different from all the other slumber parties he or she has attended. Here are some tips for turning your home into slumber party central and making your child's sleepover unique!

A Scrappy Slumber Party for Your Daughter

Scrapbooking is all the rage, and a great way to entertain a bunch of girls, give them a chance spend time together, and introduce them to a lifelong hobby of collecting memories. Here's how to host a Scrappy Slumber Party:

  • Sleeping Bag Invitations
    Begin by inviting your daughter's BFFs using mini-sleeping bag invitations. Choose cute paper from the craft store with hearts, flowers, or another favorite design. Fold the paper in half, lengthwise, and glue the side and bottom edges together, to make a sleeping bag. Cut a coordinated piece of paper a little smaller than the folded paper and add your party details. Photocopy headshots of the guests using a yearbook, cut them out, and glue each one to the top of each insert. Add a stick figure body, slip the invitation into the sleeping bag with the top of the head just barely showing, and mail to matching guests.

  • What to Wear and What to Bring
    Have the kids wear their favorite jammies, and bring a robe and slippers. Also ask them to bring a sleeping bag and pillow, and anything else they might need for the overnight. Then have them bring photos, mementoes, and other items they'd like to scrap in a BFF Scrapbook.

  • Slumber Party Central
    Have the kids lay out their sleeping bags in a starburst pattern, with their heads at the inside of the circle, so that they can all chat and be together. Inflate colorful balloons with helium, attach ribbon, and let them fly up to the ceiling. When sleeping bags are arranged, tie a balloon to the bottom of each one. Have the kids sign their balloons using a permanent marker, to mark their space. Line the ceiling with colorful lights for an outdoor feel. Tie star cut-outs to remaining balloons and let them float over the guests.

    Set up tables with paper tablecloths, and place scrapbooking paper, materials, and supplies on each table so you're ready with the theme activity. Label each one with a sign that announces each task, such as "At School," "On a Trip," "At a party," "Hanging Out."

  • Happy Scrappers
    Scrapbooking fills the time, offers plenty of opportunity to chat, and provides a wonderful memento of the party! After all the guests have arrived, have them choose a spot at a table and begin working on a scrapbook theme. Give them about half an hour to complete a page, then tell them it's time to move on to the next table and create another themed page. When they're finished with all the pages, give them inexpensive scrapbooks to fill, and let them personalize the covers with decorations.

  • Snack Time for Scrappers
    Offer easy-to-eat snacks and drinks to enjoy while they work, such as poorboy sandwiches, veggies and pretzels, canned or bottled sodas, and birthday cupcakes. In the morning, offer a continental breakfast, with choice of muffins, scones, breads, along with juice and milk.

  • Send Them Home
    With their new scrapbooks, plus a bag full of materials and embellishments to continue their scrapping.

A Comic Campout for Your Son

Boys love comic books, especially the popular anime and graphic novels that are selling like hotcakes. Here are some tips on hosting a Comic Campout:

  • Comic Book Invitations
    Have your birthday boy create the invitations. Photocopy a favorite comic book or graphic novel page. White
    out the speech balloons and add party details instead. Photocopy the invitation for the guests and mail them.

  • What to Wear and What to Bring
    Ask the boys to bring their jammies, sleep shirts and shorts, along with a robe and slippers. Also have them bring a sleeping bag and pillow, and anything else they might need for the overnight. Finally, ask them to bring a bunch of comics and graphic novels to share for the evening.

  • Indoor Campout
    Set up a large tent in the party room and have the kids lay out their sleeping bags. Decorate the tent with inflated helium balloons. Let the remaining balloons float on the ceiling, and tie pictures of popular comic characters to the ends of the ribbons.

    Set up a table with paper, drawing materials, colored pencils, and other art supplies, along with sample comic books and graphic novels.

  • Create Your Own Comic Books
    After all the guests have arrived and arranged their sleeping bags, have them sit at the table and begin working on a comic book. Let them look at examples on the table to get ideas and inspiration. Make suggestions about good storytelling, such as "Start with a bang, make things worse, challenge the hero, then solve the problem." When they're finished, let them assemble their pages into a book, and bind it with staples. Have them draw a teaser on the cover, along with some exciting phrases, such as "Will SuperGeek Save the School?" Round out the evening by watching an anime or superhero video.

  • Snack Time for Comic Campers
    Like the girls' slumber party, offer easy-to-eat snacks and drinks to enjoy while they work, such as poorboy sandwiches, flavored popcorn and pretzels, canned or bottled sodas, and birthday cupcakes. In the morning, let them choose from a buffet of cereals to create their own new combination.

  • Send Them Home
    With their original comic books, plus art materials to make more, and several comic books for inspiration.


Penny Warner has more than 25 years of experience as an author and party planner. She has published more than 50 books, including 16 specific to parties. Additionally, Warner writes a weekly newspaper column on family life, penned a column for Sesame Street Parents magazine and has appeared on several regional and national TV morning programs. Her latest book, HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, debuts in February 2010 from NAL/Penguin.

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