Party on down: Food

I need to get the sugar monkey off my back straight away. The ratio of sweet to savoury at a children’s party is a hard one to master. I’ll talk more about the timing of parties in an upcoming ‘Kid Wrangling’ party post, but I think if you start late afternoon you are not as obliged to do a full lunch or dinner option than if you scheduled the party earlier or later in the day. A two o’clock start is my favourite, ending at 4.30 pm. My thinking is that parents generally feed their child a nutritious lunch in advance of a 2 o’clock party and I run with that notion.

At each party I put out some kind of fruit option and some kind of healthy savoury option (home-made sausage rolls, mini-quiches and meatballs are all stand-bys) and the rest is just plain not-good-for-anyone party fun. That’s how we party at this place. So, apologies, but I’m not going to be a font of healthy party food options, although I might explore this at some stage.

Party food doesn’t have to be complicated, but for me it needs to tick three boxes:

1. It’s fun and not ‘every day’
2. It’s simple to put together on the day or can be prepared in advance.
3. It ties in with the theme I’m working.

If you’re not a baker, you don’t have to bake. Party centres don’t bake – they just throw frankfurts and chicken nuggets down into the centre of a table ladden with lollies and chips and the kids go nuts. You could do that.

I like a ‘half and half’ approach. One half baking: the cake, cupcakes and biscuits and, formerly, cake pops. The other half: no baking. I can’t bring myself to do chips, franks and nuggets, but no-bake items with maximum impact include lollies stacked by colour in a bowl or ‘fairy wand’ breadsticks dipped in chocolate and rolled in sprinkles or ‘things on sticks’ like marshmallows or fruit. It is also a tradition of ours to have cheezels at every party, mainly because we love cheezels so much we need to ban them from the house on all other occasions.

Depending on your theme, here’s a round up of some other really fun, really easy party foods that are special and delightful. Oh, and we’ll talk about making food look good (aka ‘tablescapes’) in our ‘Tables’ party post.

Cakepops

I used to love them, but now I hate them with the passion of a thousand burning suns. Or something like that. Regardless, there is no denying that these little morsels should be part of your go-to foods for parties. They are fiddly, but achievable and with a few tweaks they will work with any theme. Bakerella is your goddess of foodspiration here.

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Cupcakes

Nothing wrong with a cupcake. They are simple and classic and you can work them into any theme you like. Not surprisingly, Bakerella is amazing at cupcakes too, Hello Naomi isn’t half bad either.

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Biscuits
Biscuits can be as easy or as complicated as you like. The Decorated Cookie has lots of step-by-step tutorials for making amazing bickies, so you might surprise yourself! You can go the plain biscuit / fancy icing route or make an amazing flavour of biscuit or even a macaron. On a biscuit / cookie random note: these days I find myself calling chunky-style biscuits by the American ‘cookies’ and the more delicate types are still biscuits. What about you?
 
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Stuff On Sticks

Portable, easy for little hands… Stuff On Sticks are awesome party food. Things you can put on sticks include kebabs, scrolls, marshmallows, sausages, swirls of chocolate, fruit, rice balls, meatballs, cakepops, slices, cheerios… let’s face it, pretty much everything tastes better on a stick.

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Jars, cups, cones
If you’ve got the fridge space, this is the easiest party food to serve. Make individual portions of chocolate mousse, cheesecake or jelly or fill cones and cups with servings of lollies, fruit, little biscuits… Personalising the cups and jars makes it very special.
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Push Pops
Latest craze on the party scene seems to be push pops. Cake, lolly, ice cream, jelly, frozen drinks… fill them with whatever you fancy. Australians can order the cups here, you can reuse them after the party as handy carriers for snacks.
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One of a kind
Whatever your theme, there is the potential to create something unique and amazing. Think outside the bread slice and come up with something perfect for your party.
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Phew. I could do this for hours as there are so many ideas out there, but we’d better move on. There’s more inspiration at my Party On Down: Food pinboard. I promise there are far more savoury options on there. Can you tell I have a sweet tooth?!
Next time: Party cake

 
[Raspberry macaron recipe and image by Tartelette]
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Comments

  1. says

    This post just made me really, really hungry. It also made me really want to host a kid’s party despite the fact that I have no kids. Minor issue. Perhaps I’ll throw a grown-up party with kid’s food! xxx

  2. says

    Oh wow you have left us with a thousand fun ideas, little miss has her 1st birthday in February. I keep trying remind myself I can do all this at another time she isn’t going to remember her first birthday and we didn’t do anything big at all for my son. But still all your ideas look so fun that it’s got me all excited.

  3. says

    I think you could actually get kids to eat those fruit cones too! So many gorgeous pics, but you know what, there’s something about the humble cup cake that you can dress up or down in so many ways its always a winner for me :)

  4. says

    I love the food on a stick. You’re so right…everything does taste better on a stick. I am already happily planning themes for my son’s next birthday in June. I might use some of these for my upcoming Christmas/Husband’s birthday party.

  5. says

    Oh good GOD that shark watermelon, i LOVE it. Simply brilliant.
    Ok, so i’ve done like 50 children’s parties now & my huge rule is ‘small portions’ as you might ice the world’s most perfect cupcake, but they take one bite, hear the Musical Statues music & dump it in a cup of apple juice. I would kill my child, actually my child(ren) would never waste a cake or juice.
    The old fruit on a tooth pick is fine until a mother freaks out about the possible OH&S issues with sharp pointy sticks. I keep it uber simple, huge platter of chopped up fruit, huge platter of sandwiches (with half egg, as they go first, i can’t be friends with anyone who disses egg sandwiches, half mixed ham. cheese, chicken, with different combinations with sprouds, mayo, avocado). A gazillion home baked sausage rolls, cocktail franks (you’ll notice adults get just as excited about these as children, even though we ALL know they are all the worst bits of animals) & a few bowls of chips, cheezles/ cheezels, twisties . . . & make the focus on fun games.
    I do lunch time parties, i love knowing i’ve fed everyone a hearty meal. Between sports & potential adult events or afternoon parties, works a treat.
    Your approach sounds pretty well balanced, the children who will never taste sugar while in eyeballs of mother, they’ll never be able to make good decisions about food, the whole point is ‘sometimes food’ & when else do you ever get to eat cheezels/ cheezles?? Love Posie

  6. says

    Thanks for the info and your opinion on the savoury/sweet ratio. I’m a sweet tooth too and I agree, it’s not like kids eat party food every day (hopefully!).

    The pies on a stick are a crazy cool idea! To be honest, I’ve only just heard of cake pops through your blog (I know, where on earth have I been?!). So I might just have to give them a go sometime.

    Love your blog! Have a happy Sunday!

  7. says

    I founf these pictures so inspiring i used a few ideas for my little miss 5s birthday party over the weekend. Thank you so much for the ideas i made reference to you with a link to this post in my blog with pictures of the party food :0)

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