I first created this Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Party for my daughters’ preschool class when they were four. It was really fun to dust it off, amp it up, and host it again for some of the same kids now that they’re six.
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The Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special first debuted on TV when I was three, so I grew up watching it and anticipating the once-a-year showing. I love seeing my girls develop an affinity for it, as well.
So, I decided to re-create Charlie’s Thanksgiving bash. I started with a color palette inspired by Charlie’s yellow shirt, and added pops of fall color: orange, brown and a little green. Tying it all together were polka dots.
My favorite touches are the images cut from a vintage book based on the special. I used the book to create invitations, Silly String wrappers, and favor box toppers. I made word balloons with an orange background for labels.
I didn’t have a ping-pong table, but it was easy to mimic that look with green tablecloths and white Duck Tape (love that stuff!). Surrounding the table, we used mismatched chairs, just like the special. I have to say that Snoopy has more napkin-folding talent than I do!
For food, we made Linus’ menu of popcorn, pretzels, jellybeans, toast and mystery parfaits. (I decided that strawberry Jell-O cubes, whipped cream and a cherry on top was pretty close.) Of course, I couldn’t resist adding a cake. I love the Snoopy and Woodstock figurines and doghouse topping Charlie’s shirt.
Decorating with touches from the special was a blast: I added the football; the black, rotary dial phone (my husband spray painted a Fisher Price chatter phone); the pan Snoopy used to pop the popcorn over the stovetop; and a metal toaster.
For our craft, each child drew a character’s name from a bucket. Then they made a “costume” by crafting a t-shirt to look like their character. Each bucket had all the supplies each guest needed, plus an image of the character so they understood the look.
After snacks and cake, we played games. First up was a sack race, followed by football. (And yes, we pulled the football away from Charlie Brown – with warning!) Finally, we played Silly String, which was a huge hit.
Each child took home his or her t-shirt craft, plus a favor. Inside the favor boxes were gumballs in our colors, and a plush Peanuts character clip-on.
The kids had so much fun. In Atlanta, our weather is often very mild as late as Thanksgiving. If you have good weather in late fall, staging this party outdoors might be a fun way to do a kids’ table at your Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve also done it as an indoor picnic, and it was just as much fun, only with less running around games and more crafting activities.
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Photography: Viridian Images Photography
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