The Complete Book of Children's Parties
Florence Hamsher
Garden City: Hanover House, 1949





  It's cotton pickin' time on the old plantation when these invitations go out.

  Make them of white construction paper and write the invitation on the cotton flower. Color the stem and sections of the pod brown.



Horse Race

  This will require a little preparation ahead of time, but the game is so much fun it will be worth-while.


  Make a race track out of paper by marking it off in four-inch squares. There should be only six squares across the race track. Now draw double lines across the race track at sixteen-inch intervals. These indicate hurdles and should be marked by curtain rods or by a stick supported at either end by books. Provide toy or cardboard horses, or some miniature animal to serve as a horse. Number each horse from one to six so that it can be easily identified, and let the players draw numbers to determine which steed is theirs.

  The game is played by rolling two different-colored dice, such as red and green, and moving along the track as follows:

  The red die indicates the number of the horse which is to make the move. For instance, if the number which comes up on the red die is six and the number on the green is two, the horse wearing number six would move forward two spaces. Whenever a horse reaches the space immediately in front of a hurdle, he may not go forward until number 1 has come up on the green die. Also, a horse within a few spaces of the finish line cannot cross until the green die shows the number corresponding exactly to the number of spaces between him and the


finish. Thus a horse three spaces away from the finish line could take a one-, two-, or three-space move, but could not move forward on any higher number.

  If there are more than six players, play the game twice, letting the other players be the grandstand audience. In this case, prizes should go to the two winners, unless the racers are enthusiastic enough want a runoff between the two winners.

Way Down Yonder

  The children sit on the floor in two lines which face each other. One of two dishes containing an equal number of kernels of corn is placed in front and to the right of the player at the head of each line, and an empty dish is placed beside the player at the foot of each line. Each player is then given a teaspoon.

  When the signal is given the first player takes one kernel of corn in his spoon and transfers it to his neighbor's spoon, and so on down the line. As soon as the player at the foot receives the kernel in his spoon, he places it in the empty dish, and yells, 'Way Down Yonder!" When he hears this, the first player starts the second kernel down the line. He may not start any kernel along the line until he hears that the previous one is "Way Down Yonder." Any kernel which is dropped must be replaced on his own spoon by the person who dropped it before it can be passed along. The team that first succeeds in getting all of its kernels into the dish at the foot of the line wins.

Cotton Pickin' Time

  At some place in the program, there should be a fairly quiet game. That is a good time to announce that it is Cotton Pickin' Time here on the old plantation.

  Before the party hide bits of cotton in inconspicuous places where they are in full view yet not easily found. Give each person a paper and pencil and allow fifteen minutes to discover the cotton fields. The person who has listed all, or the greatest number of hiding places, is the winner.


Liza Crossing the Ice

  No plantation party would be complete without some allusion to Uncle Tom's Cabin. Here is a relay race to fit the occasion.

  Divide the children into teams. Mark off a goal line about twenty feet from the starting point and give each player two sheets of white eight-and-one-half by eleven paper.

  At the signal, the players start across the room to the goal by placing one of the sheets of paper on the floor, stepping on it with one foot, placing the second sheet on the floor and stepping on that sheet with the second foot. Any player who allows either foot to touch the floor itself must return to the starting point and begin the race over.

  As soon as a player crosses the goal line, he waves to his team mates, and the next player begins his trek across the "ice." The first team to get all his players safely over to the other side wins the game.

Stephen Foster Favorites

  If the guests seem in the mood for it, suggest singing a few Stephen Foster songs just before the refreshments are served or while they are at the table. Most of the children will know these old favorites so well that they will not even need music.

The Party Table

  The favors for the party are little round baskets filled with marshmallows. If you can use real baskets, it will be unnecessary to plan any other gifts, since they can be used for small trinkets.

  The centerpiece is the "old plantation"—made from a white cardboard shoe box. Place it upside down, then remove one of the long sides of the box cover. Use gummed transparent tape to fasten the cover. Draw window and door outlines on the house and place the completed house on a square of green crepe paper.

  On either side of the "old plantation" set a flowerpot which you have covered with green crepe paper and planted with a branch of a tree. Then attach green candy mint leaves to the tree twigs.




Light Refreshments

Orange Marmalade Biscuits
Corn Bread Sticks
Chicken Salad
Pecan Praline Cookies and ice Cream
Cocoa or Milk


Southern Fried Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Hot Biscuits
Green Beans
Butterscotch Pecan Sundaes