When she was into Indians, it was so easy.
Feathers. Check. Face Paint. Check.
Pie Eating Contest. Check.
When she was into ridiculously long, golden hair, we were totally on top of it.
Singalong led by friends who are not above dressing up. Check.
Lite Brite name in ‘Tangled’ font. Check.
The year our kids spent ALL DAY EVERY DAY prowling around the house growling and eating out of bowls on the floor, it was a No-Brainer.
Face Paint. Check.
Deck Turned into Animal Pen. Check.
Actual animals in tutus. Check.
This year, however, she temporarily stumped us. She asked for an Otter Party, and we weren’t sure what to do for that. Pinterest, on that subject, was a BIG BLACK HOLE. I am here today to fill that hole. That’s why this is called “On How To Have An Otter Party”.
First of all, Otters play in the water. That is why we all love them. That, and the fact that they are not afraid of crocodiles. But Jon and I skipped the Crocodile-Fighting aspect of Otters, and went with the playful, slippery part of their personalities. For this, you MUST have a water slide. If you are not willing to have a water slide, we should probably just stop this conversation right here.
And you must not have a LAME-O water slide. Because Otters are NOT lame, and neither are your kids and their friends. We are going for something epic here, people.
So here we go. THESE ARE THE STEPS!!! I can hardly believe that I am telling you STEPS!! Because that makes me sound like some sort of an EXPERT or something!!
STEP NUMBER ONE: Measure your backyard. Ours was 60 feet.
STEP NUMBER TWO: Go to Lowe’s and buy some plastic. It will come in a box that looks like this:
Definitely make sure it says 6 Mil. on it. That means it is thick enough, I think. We bought 100 feet, but it also comes in 50 feet. Ours was like 50 bucks. Also at Lowes, you should buy garden staples and carpet tape if you don’t already have them at home. I will tell you in a minute what to do with those. Trust me on this.
STEP TWO: Go to Dollar Store and buy pool noodles. You will need enough to put down the sides and at the bottom. I think we bought 24!!! Holy Cow, it’s getting expensive, I know!! But you have to remember it’s totally worth it, you need to trust me. You do NOT need to buy your child a present, we NEVER do! So just remember, awesome slide or lame toy. We all know which is the correct answer here.
STEP THREE: Lay out plastic in your backyard. We had a big tarp to put at the end of it, so that is the big green thing at the end. If you have one of these it is a good idea, because it gets pretty muddy down there. Don’t go out and buy one, though! Let’s stick with the necessities. This is what our plastic looked like:
STEP FIVE: Use the carpet tape (you could also use velcro for this) to attach the noodles to the sides. Put a noodle in and roll the plastic over it. We made it round at the bottom. Turn the whole thing over when you are done.
STEP SIX: See that bale of hay and the cardboard? This was such a brilliant move! In order to make a softer landing at the top of the water slide, we put down some straw, then put cardboard on top of that. It was a section about 15 ft long, I think. Then put the slide on top of the cardboard. I forgot to take a picture of us doing that, but you get the idea.
STEP SEVEN!! This is the last step! Use the garden staples to staple the plastic down! Then set up your sprinklers!! We used two, one at the top and one halfway down. We also used biodegradable soap on the slide.
Ok, so now I have told you how to make the slide. But as you remember, this post is not called “How to Make a Water Slide” but “How to Have an Otter Party”. So now we move into a brief section of Party Details.
DETAIL #1: The CAKE. The main thing I wanted Pinterest to tell me, which it did not, was what on earth to do about the cake. I found some very fancy cakes with sculpted Otters on top of them, but that was not what I was looking for. I was thinking simple. Not ‘LAME’, please don’t misunderstand me. ‘Simple yet pretty awesome’ is more what I was going for.
So this is what we came up with. Oyster cupcakes. Just stick a Madeline on top of an iced cupcake, and put a candy pearl or two under the Madeline. Now, before you tell me that River Otters don’t eat oysters, let me tell you they totally do. I’m not sure if river oysters have pearls or not, but we let that detail slide.
(At one point, before we came up with the Oyster cupcake idea, I suggested to my daughter that we make cupcakes that look like sea urchins, and she gently explained to me that “we are having a River Otter Party, Mommy. Sea urchins live in the sea”.) I thought that was so adorable that she said that, and I was like “O my gosh, of course.” Here is the best photo I have of the Oyster cupcakes.
DETAIL #2: These two things are VERY IMPORTANT!! DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!! Do you even know how much chaos and possible injury you are going to have if you don’t do this?! The two very necessary details I am talking about are called OTTER GUARDS. They are two older kids who know the rule (no walking on the slide!) and they each NEED TO HAVE A WHISTLE! No one will listen to them if they don’t have one. Also, they need a badge to let the other kids know who is in charge. We made badges, but then realized there was really no good way to attach it to them. It was way better just to tattoo them on with a marker. Now, being an Otter Guard is a VERY prestigious and respectable job and some of the other kids will definitely ask to become Otter Guards too and you may think “why not, the party’s almost over?”, but listen to me, people!! DO NOT LET THEM!! Tell them NO Way Jose!! I will not go into details now, you just need to trust me on this one.
We had our Otter Guards give a little Safety Camp (explaining how Corbett fell on the slide last night because she walked on it) at the beginning of the party. This worked out perfectly. The whole day was just fun and no injuries.
DETAIL #3: You should paint their faces. This is VERY easy. Just a little black nose and white whiskers. Everything is more fun with whiskers.
DETAIL #4: I almost forgot this. And it is not necessary, it’s only if you have a tree. You can make a sign that says “Otter River. Treat Otters the Way You Want To Be Treated”. Our neighbor said she read a book that was called that, and I thought it was SO CUTE and totally stole it. I also wrote that on our Favor bags, which I forgot to take a picture of. But you should definitely put Swedish Fish in the Favor bags. Another idea for Favors is Otter Pops!! My husband grew up in California and remembers these popsickles called Otter Pops and I tried to find them here in Ohio but they are NOT HERE. Anyway, here is our tree sign.
LAST DETAIL: I promise, this is the VERY FINAL THING!! The Otter guards also demonstrated to the younger girls how otters go down the slide: on their belly with their arms behind their back. It was so much fun to watch them all afternoon. They really did look like little Otters. And the VERY VERY FINAL thing is this: tubes help with kids who want a softer landing, and they worked really well. Not as authentically otter, but VERY fun. That is all. I will leave you with some pictures.