Last Minute Zombie Birthday Party

The best laid plans go awry. This is what I learned this week. This past Saturday we held my son's 8th birthday party. My husband gave me a hug right before the party and congratulated me on pulling it off. Then he admitted that if we had bet money he would have bet against me. Thanks dear.

The child had requested a zombie party. We're still in that phase where none of our friends have kids, my sister and her husband haven't produced any cousins yet, and my own cousins are not quite old enough to have kids. So, our parties tend to be more of adult affairs celebrating the birthday child. The plan had been that I would pick up my son in Boston (closest nonstop for an unaccompanied minor flight) and we would drive back up to Vermont . Arriving home in the early afternoon we'd prepare for the party and go grocery shopping. Easy right? Well, of course it didn't go like that. His flight arrived in over 3 hours late, putting us 4 hours behind schedule by the time we got his bag. We made it out of Boston close to 1pm. With a 3 hour and 45 minute drive ahead of us (not counting any stops) the fact that I'm in my 3rd trimester kicked in. Some annoying contractions which I counteracted by drinking water, translated to many many bathroom breaks. Sore to the core, gravity and my giant stomach were not friends. The boy? He slept happily. Upon arriving home close to 7pm I was so sore and cranky that a nap on the couch turned into bedtime.
Waking up at 6 am Saturday I quickly realized I had to throw an entire party together. I had spent some of my time in the airport writing out a grocery list and doing mock menus based on being cheap and easy. I had some chicken thighs in the freezer that had been marked down by $4 and luckily had remembered to take them out to thaw. I threw those into the crockpot with a can of Verner's ginger ale, a little rotisserie spice and enough water to cover the chicken. And then it came time to tackle cleaning... because the house needed to be ready for both guests and overnight guests. The boy sprayed wood cabinets and windexed things. The toddler loves the Swiffer so I decided to actually put a sweeper pad on it and she did a pretty decent job. My husband shuttled totes of junk upstairs out of sight. Running around like a maniac for a few hours and the house was cleaned, everyone was showered and dressed, 2 loaves of bread had been baked and 2 more were rising. It was time to grocery shop.
Upon arriving at the store I realized my list was home on the counter. So we winged it a bit. After managing a quick grocery run we arrived home with 1 hour to spare before folks were going to show up. After getting groceries put away, I had 40 minutes to throw it all together. The last 2 loaves of bread went in the oven and the 8 year old was recruited as my sous chef.
First order of business, apple slice mouths. I've seen these floating around on Pinterest and I thought they'd be good for the "undead" theme. After slicing the apples using a traditional apple slicer I cut each piece in half again. The skinnier the slices are the easier they are to work with.
Spray with lemon juice/water mixture to prevent browning. 
Spread a slice with peanut butter.

Add 3 mini marshmallows, making sure to leave space at the back of the slice.

Set a 2nd slice vertically upright on the back of the slice.  
Very smiley. 
And now to quickly throw together a meal! Grapes were washed, kiwis were cut, and additional plain apple slices were put out. A cup of vanilla yogurt was mixed with a tablespoon of honey and a teaspoon of lemon juice to make the quickest dip ever. The bread was sliced up, mayo and mustard were dished out, and lettuce, avocado, and cheese were sliced up. We went easy here- items were laid out on one large platter and on cutting boards. My husband was put on chicken shredding duty. He removed the skin and bones and shredded it so thoroughly that my son said "is that tuna?". 

Sliced sandwich making, sliced bread & condiments. 

Fruit plate and dip. 

Shredded chicken and "Zombie Blood Punch". 
And for the finishing touch to lunch we made up some Zombie Blood Punch. The container is a 4 liter container, roughly 135 oz. We mixed 24 oz of cranberry juice, 24 oz of apple juice, 48 oz of Hawaiian punch, and the remainder (roughly 39 oz) I filled with gingerale. It was delicious.

The cupcakes were popped into the oven to bake. I went easy here with a Duncan Hines chocolate mix. I've always found cupcakes easier for kids parties. 

Lunch went well and while everyone was hanging out I did a quick decorating job on the cupcakes. I mixed vanilla frosting with a few squeezes of red food coloring to yield a pink color. It went into a decorating tube with a skinny attachment and brains were created by simply squiggling back and forth on each side of the cupcake and drawing a line up the middle. I thought they looked pretty brainy and if I missed brains then they certainly hit on rib cages :). Mason jar iced tea and more punch went out for dessert. 

Cupcakes, punch, and iced tea.

Brain cupcakes.

And that's my version of the half day prep zombie party. What's the fastest you've every thrown a party together?


  1. i think you did an amazing job!!

  2. This last-minute preparation looks fantastic! I would go crazy and panic a lot if I had to do something like this. I can’t just keep things for last-minute. I have also planned a zombie themed party for my brother in an event space nearby and I am glad I came across this post because I got some really good ideas.