Looking for a fun game to play with your family between Thanksgiving dinner and the Pumpkin Pie?
Our family tested our knowledge of Thanksgiving traditions and history at our family dinner last Thanksgiving. I came up with the questions and printed them off on half sheet papers. We followed basic TV Jeopardy rules and adapted as necessary for our situation.An example of answers and questions for the “First Thanksgiving” topic are as follows:
First Thanksgiving Answer Key
100: When was the first thanksgiving? 1621
200: The president who made Thanksgiving a national holiday? Abraham Lincoln
300: How long did Thanksgiving last? 3 Days
400: How many people where at the first thanksgiving? 140
500: What Indian Tribe? Wampanoag
You can download a pdf file of the Jeopardy game we used by clicking on the link below. It’s ready to print with 1/2 sheet question cards and a list of answers. Heading cards are on a half sheet and feature the graphics shown in the photo above. Take a quick look at the questions before printing and make sure they are still applicable. Happy Thanksgiving!
Start a new Thanksgiving tradition this year with a family 5K.
I ran into an awesome young man at our local 5K fun run in July. It was his Turkey Trot shirt that caught my eye and I had a fun time talking to him about this fun family tradition.
Every Thanksgiving, this family hosts a 5K race for all visiting family members and friends. All that want to participate, bring their running or walking shoes and burn off all those weighty Thanksgiving dinner calories before the turkey even comes out of the oven.
What a fun idea to have t-shirts made for the big race- a fun memento of a fun day. I love any activity that gets family members up off their seats and moving and a family turkey trot certainly does that whether you trot or waddle across the finish line.
This bead activity is perfect for your western themed family reunion.
Thanksgiving Day Arrowhead Necklace craft
I Love Beads! I really do. I use them for so many activities at family reunions.
Beach Family Reunion
The best thing I ever did with beads was to make a bead reward box for our family reunion in Lake Powell. Instructions and printables for the bead box are included in our Beach family reunion theme package. You can find it by clicking here- Beach Reunion
Western Family Reunion
More recently, I came across this fun, simple and inexpensive bead activity that would be perfect for your western themed family reunion.
To represent the Native American culture, make beaded arrowhead necklaces. You can limit the number of beads that can be put on each necklace or let them go wild. Pony beads are cheap and easy to come by at any craft store.
I thought the arrowheads would be hard to find or too expensive but felt pretty lucky when found a set of 50 Indian agate replica arrowheads at Amazon for under $10.00. Just click on the link below to purchase.
Arrowhead necklaces would also be a fun activity on Thanksgiving. Set up a table away from more traditional Thanksgiving activities and let your guests build their own creation.
Another fun bead activity for your reunion is bead geckos. Read our blog on Family Reunion Helper.com for detailed instructions. Bead Gecko Blog
Ghost Cake With Flaming Eyes
Posted on October 18, 2015
When I was a young mother I attended a workshop that included some fun holiday cooking ideas. The most memorable idea I came away from the workshop with was this ghost cake with flaming eyes.
The best thing about this ghost cake is that you get maximum effect for minimum effort, so, if you are a busy mom or grandma, you can whip this cake up very quickly but the “wow” factor is huge!
To make the eyes flaming you place a lemon extract-doused sugar cube inside of a clean eggshell for each eye and then you light the cubes on fire. When presenting the cake turn out the lights before bringing in the cake.
Ghost Cake Recipe
1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix, mix according to package directions
1 (7.2-ounce) package fluffy white frosting mix or make your own 7 minute frosting. (No Cook 7 Minute Frosting Recipe)
2 sugar cubes & 1 teaspoon lemon extract
Licorice string, chocolate chips, m & m’s- whatever you want to make a mouth
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan.
Prepare the cake mix as directed on package. (When you break the eggs, crack each in the middle and pour out the egg. Then save the 2 best shell halves. Wash these halves and turn upside down to dry.) After mixing, pour the batter into the pan.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. When cooled, you can remove the cake from the pan and put on a sturdy piece of cardboard or a tray so that you can trim your cake to look more ghost- like. I just left my cake in the baking pan and felt like it looked ghost- like enough without the extra work to decorate it.
Frost the cake. Place the 2 egg shell halves round sides down on cake for eyes. Place 1 sugar cube in each shell half. Make a mouth of licorice string.
Just before serving, pour 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract over each sugar cube. Light the eyes and amaze family and friends!
A Favorite Family Reunion “Side”
I love this salad, it’s inexpensive to make, quick to put together (it takes awhile to set though) and everyone loves it. I’m not really sure that you should call it a salad, there’s no fruit in it, let’s just call it a “side”. The fun thing about this side dish is that it separates and looks like you’ve spent a lot of time working on layers. In reality, it just makes the layers all by itself.
Lemon Jell-O for a Crowd
3 (3 oz.) pkg. lemon Jell-O
4 c. boiling water
1 (12 oz.) can frozen lemonade consentrate
1 (12 oz.) container Cool Whip
1 (12 oz.) container Cool Whip- for the top layer
Mix Jell-O and water until Jell-O is dissolved. Add lemonade and stir. Refrigerate until syrupy.
Fold in the whipped topping to the Jell-O and pour into a clear glass dish (I used a 10 x 15 Pyrex glass dish) and refrigerate until firm.
In the above photo you can see the layers beginning to form even as I’m folding in the whipped topping.
Spread a top layer for whipped topping over the Jell-O when set.
You change this recipe up to make it a fun side dish for using orange Jell-O with a can of orange juice and serving at your Halloween or Autumn gathering.
I’m not a great food photographer, I’m more of a, “I’ve got 80 people to feed how do I do that easily, inexpensively and deliciously” type of person. This lemon “side” is the answer for our family reunions and parties.
Unusual Halloween Party Ideas
At familyreunionhelper.com we love reunions AND we love parties! Of course, we specialize in wonderful family reunions but many of those reunion ideas translate perfectly into awesome parties. Check out some of our favorite Halloween party ideas- nothing super scary but family friendly activities that will make your guests SQUIRM!
Halloween Party Ideas to Make Your Guests “Squirm”
When I think of things that make me squirm I think of bats, worms, snakes and spiders- all typical Halloween creatures. Oh, and what about eyeballs- sure to bring on a squirm!
It’s a Halloween Party!
Today’s the day we’re going to make you SQUIRM!
Snakes, witches, and bats galore – Let’s see what this Halloween has in store. Bring your family for a night of Squirms!
A few old brooms decorated with bows and lights makes for a fun entrance to your party. Wrap plastic snakes around the broom handle and spiders in the bristles.
Silhouettes make decorating easy. You can purchase spooky silhouettes or easily make your own using black paper such as teachers use for bulletin boards. Put silhouettes in windows for a fun Halloween decoration- you want your guests to start “squirming” with fright before they even get to the door.
Don’t want to make your own silhouette- the cat pictured is actually a Martha Stewart Halloween Witch Silhouette Window Cling. This image clings to glass or mirrors and can be reused year after year.
Squirmy Vampire Soap
You will need a small jar, laxative tablets (over the counter product at pharmacy), rubbing alcohol, soap and water.
In the jar, crush one or two laxative tablets and add a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol. Rub some of the mixture on your hand and allow to dry. Then wash it off with soap. The soapy water will turn bright red!
NOTE: Do not eat or drink this solution.
What happened? The laxative contains a substance called phenolphthalein, which turns bright red when mixed with an alkali base like soup.
Squirmy Peanut Butter Eyeballs
2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3 Tablespoons butter, softened
½ – 1 pound white chocolate candy coating
Small bag of M & M’s or Skittles
Tube of red decorator frosting
1. Blend peanut butter and butter until creamy. Add sugar. Continue beating until it comes together and is about as thick as thick cookie dough. When well blended shape into 1 inch balls and put in the fridge on waxed paper to chill until firm. (30 minutes)
2. Melt the white candy coating in the microwave. Microwave in 60 second intervals stirring at the end of every minute until candy is smooth and creamy. Dip peanut butter balls in the candy coating and place back on your waxed paper. Immediately press a candy on top to make an iris. Place back into the fridge until set.
3. Using the tube of red decorator frosting make red squiggly blood vessels.
HINT: Since taking these photos we have found that to clean your eyes up a bit, use a paring knife to cut the excess candy coating from the eyeball- it will give your eyeball a cleaner look.
HALLOWEEN GAMES to make you Squirm
Worms in a Pie
You will need gummy worms, whipped cream and aluminum pie plates. Place gummy worms in the bottom of the pie plate and then cover with whipped cream. On the word “go” players try and eat as many gummy worms as they can find in the cream. You can award prizes for the most worms found or most worms found in a time limit. For extra fun, blindfold the contestants.
Take a ping pong ball and decorate with markers to look like blood shot eyes. Then get plastic pumpkin or party cups. Now give each child an eyeball and place the plastic pumpkin or cup at the bottom of stairs or across the floor. Have each player toss or bounce the eyeball down the stairs or across the room. The goal is to see if their eyeball bounces into the pumpkin. You can give a prize to those that get it in the pumpkin. Also for young kids, you may want to place paper cups together and have each cup worth a prize.
Speaking of “eyeballs”…
SCARY STORY to make you SQUIRM-
The Legend of White Eyes
I didn’t write it nor do I know where it came from- maybe it really is a true story and came from the pages of my history book. I’ve heard a lot of scary stories when I’ve been camping but this is the only story that made me scream- I hope you scream too.
Advance preparation- besides practicing the telling of this tale you will need to take a ping-pong ball and cut it in half. Color a small dark dot on each half with a permanent marker. These will be your “white eyes”. Keep them concealed in a closed hand. When the time is right, pop them on over each eye. (You may customize place names in your story to suit the occasion) NOTE: I would wait to tell this story until the little ones in your family had been tucked into bed.
There on that side of the lake (point) is where this story took place. As you all may know, the area around here was a busy place 100 years ago due to the Gold rush. Miners turned this whole region upside down in a quest for GOLD!
Greed can be a dangerous thing, especially where Gold is involved. To find more gold meant faster production, and digging deeper underground. It also meant sacrificing safety, but they didn’t care because there were a lot of foolish men around looking to make their fortune.
One day an underground mine collapsed with 16 men still waiting to come up from a full day’s work. Hour after hour went by as they awaited their rescue. The conditions were terrible. It was pitch-black dark, and very hot, dry and dusty down deep in that shaft. The men collected droplets of water that seeped down the tunnel walls in an attempt to satisfy their dying thirst. Days went by and still no rescue. To stave off hunger, they ate rats, mushrooms, and eventually… their dead co-workers.
(Throw a log on the fire for dramatic effect! Poke away at the embers.)
Despite their hopelessness, they scraped away at the rock and debris to try and dig their way out, confident that others would be digging from the surface as part of the rescue attempt. They dug and they dug, day after day, frantically hoping to see daylight from the surface. The days stretched into weeks, and then from there, the few men left alive lost track of time, and started losing their minds.
An eternity later, the survivors finally broke through, and made two very surprising discoveries. One: there was no search party. The mining company had abandoned the mine, and simply walked away. And two… all that time underground had affected their eyes… Their eyeballs were all white, except for an itty bitty black pupil. And they could no longer tolerate sunlight.
Being left for dead was bad enough. Turning into some sort of White-eyed freak was too much. They snapped. In their rage they made a pact to hunt down every man who abandoned them in that old mine. And soon after, mysterious instances of men being killed in the mountains around here started.
The locals at first thought it was a bear or a cougar doing all the killing. The victims were usually found mauled, bloody and torn. But; closer examination showed the teeth marks on the bodies… were from human teeth!!
(Throw log on the fire!)
One by one, those white-eyed freaks killed off every miner, and any other man they could find in this area. And to this day, you won’t find any mining around these parts. Keep in mind this all happened 100 years ago. You’re probably wondering what happened to those white-eyes?? They should all be gone now due to old age, or at least that’s what they thought… until a few weeks ago. I heard on the radio, they found a hiker mauled on that trail on the backside of the lake. And on that dead man’s neck… human teeth marks!!!
Heed my words, kids: As long as you’re close to the fire, the light will scare ‘em away, but if you need to go into the dark… (pop in the ping-pong ball props)
BEWARE of the WHITE-EYES!!!!
HALLOWEEN SQUIRMY SONGS
Road Kill Stew
(Tune: “Three Blind Mice”)
Road kill stew, road kill stew.
Tastes so good, just like it should.
First you go down to the interstate.
You wait for the critter to meet it’s fate.
You take it home and you make it great.
Road kill stew, road kill stew.
Squirmiest Song Ever
Nobody likes me; everybody hates me;
Guess I’ll go eat worms.
Chorus: Long, thin, slimy ones; short fat juicy ones;itsy, bitsy, fuzzy, wuzzy worms.
First you get a bucket; then you get a shovel;
Oh, how they wiggle and squirm.
Next, you pull their heads off, then you suck their guts out;
Oh, how they wiggle and squirm.
Down goes the first one, down goes the second one;
Oh, how they wiggle and squirm.
Up comes the first one; up comes the second one;
Oh, how they wiggle and squirm.
Everybody likes me; nobody hates me!
Why did I eat all those worms?
Chop up their heads, and squeeze out their juice,
And throw their tails away.
Nobody know how I can survive
On worms three times a day!
(Tune: “Auld Lang Syne”)
Should old worn sneakers be thrown out;
Or stink upon a shelf?
Should holey, moldy, gym socks walk
To the washer by themselves?
My smelly shoes, so torn and rank;
How comfortable to me!
My gym socks match them perfectly;
Let’s my piggies wiggle free!
Halloween Party Jokes
Q: What do you call a ghost in a torn sheet?
A: A holy terror
Q. What do you call a witch who lives at the beach?
A. A sand-witch.
Q. What do you call a witch’s garage?
A. A broom closet.
Q. What is a Skeleton’s favorite song.
A. Bad to the Bone.
Q. Why can’t a Skeleton Lift Weights?
A. He’s all bone and no muscle.
Q. What is a Mummie’s favorite type of music?
A. Wrap music!
Q. Why don’t mummies take vacations?
A. They’re afraid they’ll relax and unwind.
I was going through some old family reunion papers and found this fun recipe for Ooey Gooey Gax- some people call it “slime”. Kids love Gax/slime and it’s a perfect party craft especially if you’re outside.
2 Tablespoons white glue
2 Tablespoons water
3-4 drops food coloring
1 Tablespoons Borax – usually found in the laundry detergent section of your grocery store
Plastic bag for storing Gax
- Mix 1 Tablespoon of Borax powder to 1 cup warm water. Stir until all the powder has dissolved. This makes sodium borate.
- In a smaller separate bowl, mix 2 Tablespoons glue and 2 Tablespoons water and stir well.
- Add 3 drops of food coloring to the glue/water mix and stir.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of the sodium borate to the glue/water mixture.
- Stir and let sit for a few minutes and then it will be ready to play with.
- Place in an airtight container (Bag).
Hints: Don’t leave Gak on fabric, vinyl or wood. Do not eat Gak. Make a batch of Gak before getting to your reunion so you know how it works.
This recipe only makes a small batch.
To make Glow in the Dark Slime: Add several drops of glow-in-the-dark paint during the mixing in stage 1.
The cute graphics you see on this page may be purchased from-
A printable version of the Tribond game
One of our local radio stations is having a contest. They give you three words and you have to to figure out what the three words have in common. The example I heard on the radio was- Penny, Ford Motor Company, Nebraska. I was pretty excited when I figured it out. (Too bad I was driving and couldn’t call the station to win my prize.)
It did give me an idea of a printable game I could share on familyreunionhelper.com and after doing some research, came up with the printable game that I call “A Question of 3’s” All you need is a copy of the game for each player which you can find below and a pencil. Oh, and the answer to the puzzle I heard on the radio- they are all Lincolns.
1. All are tables
2. All are worms
3. All have rings
4. All are cracked
5. All have whites
6. Types of berries
7. All have holes
8. All have Lincolns
9. All are pitched
10. Types of boards
11. Types of poles
12. Types of tellers
13. All have shells
14. All can be carved
15. Types of winds
16. All have capes
17. Types of mail
18. Can be tuned
19. Make deliveries
20. All have pockets
A brand new idea for family reunion t-shirts!
One of my students wore this shirt to class one day and of course when I saw it I started thinking “family reunion”. If your family isn’t too big this could be a fun idea for your next family reunion.
Ask family members to draw a simple picture of themselves. The most difficult part of this
project will be getting the drawings returned to you. If you have enough time you may want to get the drawings at your family Christmas party and then you would have them for your summer reunion.
My “go to” t-shirt company is
Kdee, their designer,( Kdeewood.email@example.com ) is so good to work with and can arrange your drawings on your shirt so they look great.
If you don’t have room on your shirt for people to draw their whole body you can just do “heads”.
Thanks to Mrs.Rinker and her kindergarten kids for this fun new idea for family reunion t-shirts.
Build Your Own Pizza and Team Pizza Building
Most families like pizza and for many families, pizza is part of their Friday night fun, but skip ordering take out and try one of our pizza party ideas with a twist.
A favorite pizza activity of our kiddos is making their own own pizzas- This is a great way for kids to create their own custom pizza and you know they’ll eat it because they get to choose their own toppings.
The only tricky part of a Build Your Own Pizza party is choosing the crust you want to use. You can make your own pizza dough or buy a premade crust. Pictured below are some options. We have also used English muffins, French bread or pita bread, left whole, for crust. If making your crust from scratch be sure to keep each crust “personal” pan size.
Set out popular pizza toppings. To get you started, the 10 most popular pizza toppings are listed below and are a good place to start:
- Black olives
- Green peppers
Our family would include barbeque chicken and Canadian bacon to that list. You might also want to consider offering a white sauce and a red sauce as options for your pizza bar.
Pizza Making for Teams
To add some suspense to a traditional pizza party, divide your family and friends into teams. Give each team a premade pizza crust, a jar of pizza sauce and a bag of cheese.
Wrap pizza toppings in gift wrap or newspaper and let each team pick 2 or 3 of the wrapped toppings. These are the toppings that they must use on their pizza. They won’t know what toppings they have picked until they unwrap their packages. Decide if trading toppings will be allowed.
After all the teams have “decorated” their pizzas and baked them, set them out for all the teams to try. Cut pizza in small slices so there are lots of samples. You can even give prizes for the most delicious pizza creation.
The challenge with any pizza party is getting them baked. Individual pizzas are great because you can fit more that one pizza in your oven at a time. As pizzas bake you may want to play an ice breaker game to keep your guests entertained. You can find some our favorites HERE.
Making Dinner Fun!
A funny dinner tradition for your family
When my children were little we called it the $1.00 dinner challenge- you could buy a lot more for $1.00 back then. Now call it the $2.00 dinner challenge but we still have as much fun as we did in the days when a dollar could actually buy something.
I’m not even sure where the idea came from,but the dinner challenge became a tradition that we would do when a cousin came for a sleepover. This is not a tradition for a huge group of people such as an extended family reunion but it’s a ton of fun for a more manageable group of aunts, uncles and cousins.
Here’s how it works-
Give everyone in your family $2 in cash. (Or whatever amount you feel is appropriate) As a family, go to your local grocery store. Walk around the store and look for food that you can purchase for $2. When you’ve looked around a bit, choose the item you want to serve for dinner, pay for it and wait for everyone in your family to finish shopping. (You want to keep your purchase a secret from the others but it is best to shop in teams especially if you have younger children.)
Our grandchildren are 10 years and younger (mostly younger) so we had each child team up with an adult. They put their money together so each team had $4.00 to spend.
Our grandkids get so excited about what they have purchased they can hardly stand the car ride back to the house to prepare their food. We have to juggle time in the kitchen mixing, baking and microwaving but eventually everyone is ready and we all sit down at the table to our $2.00 challenge feast. Even the pickiest of eaters will find something to eat at this table- because they choose it!
Some helpful hints and a funny story- Set some guidelines such as, Can two people put their money together? Can you purchase a dessert item? How long do you have to prepare the food when you arrive home? etc.
One year my niece choose Jell-O for her food item. It would’ve taken hours for the Jell-O to set up but we prepared it anyway and ate it for a late night snack.
Does your family to take the $2.00 Challenge?