A piñata can be the life of the party if you know how to make it just right. Maybe it’s the sweet promise of the candy and goodies inside, or the freedom of being allowed to break something on purpose. Whatever the reason, children and adults alike absolutely love piñatas. Rather than buy your next piñata from a party store or a mass market retail chain, why not take a swing at making your own?
A day before the party, set aside and afternoon, and gather up the following supplies:
A good project for beginners is the hot air balloon. Along with the basic balloon to form the main part of the piñata, you will need a large yogurt container to serve as the basket. Tie the basket so that it dangles a few inches below the hot air balloon and decorate it as desired. Fill the basket with passengers in keeping with the theme of your party, such as small dolls or action figures, or even more candy.
The basic, somewhat spherical, piñata design can be easily modified to suit almost any party theme. Sports oriented children will enjoy the baseball piñata, basketball piñata, or even hockey puck piñata. Every holiday provides opportunities for creative designs such as scary skull or Jack o’ Lantern piñatas for Halloween, Easter egg piñatas, heart-shaped piñatas for Valentine’s Day, a Thanksgiving turkey piñata, and a snowman piñata for Christmas. Teens may enjoy a smiley face piñata, a flower power piñata, or even a sparkly disco ball piñata. The spherical shape is perfect for a planet earth or globe piñata. For budding astronomers, try a Saturn, Jupiter or Mars piñata. Pick a planet or make them all with a piñata version of our solar system.
If you are ambitious and skilled with crafts, you may want to create a piñata of your child’s favorite cartoon character or superhero. If you have the courage to go beyond the basic one-balloon design, the possible variations are endless. Some designs to consider for young children include animals such as the classic donkey piñata, a piggy piñata, kitty piñata, puppy or pony piñata. Other little kid favorites include ice cream cone shapes, cupcakes and birthday cake piñatas. Dragons and castles, dump trucks, and dinosaurs are other sure crowd pleasures.
Tweens and teens may enjoy giant versions of their favorite tech toys such as cell phones, iPods and laptops, or luxury items like a limousine or a sports car. Celebrities teens love, such as Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez, also make great piñatas. The posters that come with teeny bopper magazines are a perfect source for celebrity faces to paste onto the basic piñata. Don’t worry if you can’t keep up with your teen’s shifting tastes. If a celebrity they loved last week is now a celebrity they love to hate, they’ll have even more fun bashing them until they burst.
The quickest way to fill a piñata is to buy a prepackaged bag of piñata filler containing candy and small toys like you might find as prizes in Cracker Jacks. However taking the extra time to buy an assortment of your child’s favorite candy, and cool, unique small toys will take your piñata to the next level. Creative ideas include temporary tattoos, tiny action figures, little parachuting army men, super balls, and costume jewelry. And, candy, candy and more candy. Don’t forget the candy!
To ensure a successful piñata experience, it’s a good idea to take a few precautions. Make sure the papier mâché is very dry before popping the balloon. If the inside is damp, the candy, toys and assorted treats will be stuck to the inner lining of your piñata and tears of frustration may be shed by your younger party guests. Remove all traces of the popped balloon from the inside before filling. Balloon fragments are a severe choking hazard. Don’t fill the piñata with anything heavy or breakable. Small bottles of party favor nail polish and Hot Wheels cars are fine for goody bags, but not for piñatas. Don’t use a potentially deadly weapon to whack at the piñata, and be sure everyone stands a safe distance from the whacking area. Sticks and broom handles can be especially hard to manage. A better choice is a plastic whiffle ball bat. Finally, make sure that pets, small children, and vulnerable male groins are out of range before the batter starts swinging. If not, makes sure the video is rolling so you can catch any painful, but hilarious, mishaps on camera.