Over the past several posts, you’ve had a chance to explore some of the birthday parties described in the Little House books. You’ve even learned about the things that were happening in Laura’s life around the time of her unmentioned birthdays. Now it’s time to take your studies to the next level: throw your own Little House birthday party!
For my own twelfth birthday party, I got my parents to help me throw a pioneer-themed birthday party. I scoured all of my Laura Ingalls Wilder activity and recipe books to plan the shin-dig and came up with a plan for the party. It was a delightful event—the perfect outlet for my excitement about Laura’s life and the pioneer days she lived in.
Why not work with your family to throw a pioneer party for your own? Here are a few simple steps to help start you off as you put together a plan:
#1 Pick a theme
Do you want to replicate a party described in one of the books or do you want to throw a pioneer party of your own making? Maybe you want to go with the “Town Party” theme from Nellie’s party in On the Banks of Plum Creek. Or perhaps you’d rather use Ben Woodworth’s birthday party from Little Town on the Prairie as a blueprint. If these don’t sound appealing, often the time of year can help you zero in on your own theme. For my twelfth birthday party, the theme was “Pioneer Winters.” We played indoor games and snow games and had a spelling bee, much like the one described in the winter chapters of Little Town on the Prairie.
#2 Decide on a dress code
Be sure to let the guests know if and how you want them to dress up. Should they dress to match the period? Or would more modern, country-style clothing suffice? Keep in mind the weather forecast for the day of your party and what sort of activities you’ll be doing. You don’t want guests to be uncomfortable in the clothes you made them wear.
#3 Find some games
This was one of my favorite parts about planning my own party. I probably spent hours going through my pioneer activity books, trying to narrow down the plethora of choices I found while selecting party games. One of the games we ended up playing was a version of tag that you could only play in the snow called “fox and geese.” To replicate Ben Woodworth’s party, some games you could play are “blind man’s bluff” and “drop the handkerchief.” You can easily find the rules to games like this online or in an activity book about pioneer life. Maybe you could incorporate some Little House trivia into one of your games.
#4 Make your menu
If you’ve read any of Laura’s descriptions of the birthday parties she experiences in the Little House books, you probably know that food is one of the most important aspects of any party. For the Ingalls girls’ country party in On the Banks of Plum Creek, Ma’s vanity cakes were a special treat. At Ben Woodworth’s party, Laura delighted in the oyster soup and orange slices. To come up with your own Little House menu, check out some of the recipes in The Little House Cookbook. This cookbook offers recipes of food mentioned throughout the series and will help you stay true to the times in your cooking.
#5 Have fun!
Obviously, there are several more details that go into party planning, especially when it comes to a pioneer-themed party, but the most important thing about throwing any party is to have fun and enjoy the process of planning and executing it. This is your chance to experience the sort of celebrations that Laura would have experienced when she was a kid, so make the most of it!