Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Children's Easter Party

How To Arrange A Children's Easter Monday Party by Louise E. Dew, 1904

      From the beginning to the end, the children's Easter party must be as unique and attractive as time and ingenuity can make it. All the details are to be planned with care, not excluding the sending out of the invitations. Invitations are to be written with violet ink on pure white note paper, at the top of which is a hand-painted little yellow chic holding a single violet in its beak. The point on the envelope flap should also have a chick painted on it, with a violet in its beak and one below the flap.
Don't forget to teach the children how to paint Easter eggs!
      As the little guests arrive the young hostess should present them with boutonnieres of pansies with which the basket which she carries on her arm is filled. Violet colored ones should be given to the little girls and yellow ones to the little boys.
      The dining room decorations should be entirely in yellow and violet pansies and smilax. A window box should be filled with these dainty blossoms, and they are to be massed in crystal bowls on the sideboard.
      Whenever an egg is used for a week before Easter, and end should be chipped off and the contents removed. The shell should then be rinsed with water, and when the shells have generously accumulated they should be dyed violet and yellow along with the regular Easter eggs. A pretty arrangement for the shells is to fasten a knotted end of violet and yellow ribbon to each one with a drop of glue, covering the broken end with a circle of gold paper. These ribbons should be of unequal lengths and suspended in a mass close to the chandelier for a decorative effect.
      Underneath the egg shells a large white crepe paper egg should be suspended by violet and yellow ribbons. The heads of tiny yellow chickens, should be peeping out of the egg, as if they were just breaking the shell. Attached to the necks of the chicks should be violet and yellow ribbon leaders, arranged alternately, and passed to the place cards of each small guest. The cards will consist of diminutive oblongs on which tiny yellow chicks and violets are painted, with a quotation about flowers and Easter. 
      The paper egg center piece will contain dainty souvenirs of the occasion, which may be pulled out during the interim between the luncheon and dessert or after all the food has been served.
      In the center of the table make a nest of smilax and fill it with pansies and saucy little egg-shell faces, painted or sketched in India ink. Their faces may represent demure little maidens, popular cartoons or little creatures from the woodlands. These odd little egg people, peering from the smilax nest, will furnish the children with a great deal of amusement while they are eating, and will afterward make appropriate souvenirs.
      The menu card at each place will be in the shape of a snow-white swan, cut of deckled paper. The head and wings are cut in one piece, and the tail in another. After printing the menu in violet ink on the tail, the bits of yellow and violet baby ribbon attached to it should be passed around the neck of the swan, which will hold the head in position with that proud curve for which the swan is noted.
      These menu cards may be purchased if one is not handy with scissors and pen. The list should read:
Chicken Sandwiches
Apple Salad
Cream Cheese Eggs
Egg Punch
Easter Eggs
Angel Sugar Nests
Ice Cream
Assorted Nuts
Fruit Phosphate
      Cut the sandwiches in egg-shapes before serving them. Individual salad made of apples should be served with them in white paper cases tinted yellow and violet and imbedded in leaves of parsley.  Roll the olives in powdered sugar, to resemble eggs. Cream cheese, eggs can be made out of cottage cheese, mixed with cream and rolled into the shape of eggs additionally. Each one should have a large walnut meat pressed firmly into the side of the "egg." Serve on crisp curled lettuce made into a nest. The punch will be simple egg-nogg, of which most children are fond, with nutmeg, vanilla and fruit syrup flavoring. 
      Easter eggs make an appropriate dessert, wholesome enough to satisfy the heart of a hygienist, and yet delightful to all children. They are made of velvety blanc mange or sparkling translucent jelly. Serve these either piled in a nest of stifly whipped cream or accompanied by a boat of sauce. The prettiest way is to serve an old-fashioned bird's nest in jelly.
      To make, empty the contents of egg shell through a fair sized hole in the large end. Rinse the shells and set upright in a pan of flour or cracked ice, if gelatine is used. Fill with the jelly or blanc mange, and when cold and firm peel the egg shell from around it. A pint of jelly will usually fill six, if colored eggs are preferred, use the color paste which is sold by grocers, and which is perfectly harmless. Harlequin eggs may be made by using remnants of different colors, letting each one harden, then adding another color, until the shell is filled. Bewitching rainbow effects will be the result.
      To make the nest, use a mould of jelly partly full. When hardened, pile gelatine eggs on top. Arrange over and about them a suitable quantity of "straw" yellow sponge sugar, which any confectioner can supply, or orange peel cut in tiny shreds. Angel sugar nests may be made out of angel food, cut round, and with a depression in the center. This cake should be piled high with candy eggs in all colors. The ice cream may be served an egg mould. A simple and harless phosphate may be home-made, and should in the shape of eggs, with the aid of consist of the juices of oranges, lemons and pineapple, with sugar water and cracked ice added.
      Make the cake in the shape of a big egg and frost it yellow. Surmount the cake with tiny yellow and violet candles to light as the cake is being presented and after the first course of sandwiches, salad and relishes clear the table for the chick centerpiece. This impressive "chicken pie," made of yellow and violet crepe paper and covered with artificial chicks is set in the center of a hay or straw arrangement quickly assembled in the center of the table. Violet and yellow ribbon leaders should be placed within reach of each guest around the table. These leaders are tied to the souvenir egg cups, sprayed with hand-painted pansies. Each child's place setting should consist of a gilded egg with corresponding initials of the guest along with a diminutive nest of green moss on top of a plate, piled high with candy eggs off to one side of the dessert plates. Serve the cake and ice cream and wait for the children to finish before encouraging them to pull their ribbon leaders at your signal, whereupon they will be rewarded with amusing little snapping bon-bons.
      After luncheon, organize an egg contest as a surprise event. Present a large hen's egg and ask the children to guess how large the circumference of the egg is. Give everyone time to answer and then reward the closest guess with a prize in the shape of a papier mache chick or something similar.
      A ping pong or small billard table will make an excellent "lawn" on which to roll the colored Easter eggs, which will be provided by the "host child." A game may be made of the egg-rolling and prizes offered. (edited version)

A contemporary presentation of a children's Easter party table.

Additional suggestions for Children's Easter parties:

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