An Enchanted Woodland Party That Gets Kids Into the Holiday Spirit

holiday table for kids
Mary Costa Photography

The fall harvest season brings to mind a transitional medley of visions: pumpkins, golden leaves, holiday magic, and woodland creatures frolicking freely. Coincidentally, Royale Ziegler of But First, Party! got the idea for a woodland-inspired holiday party for kids when she saw a pair of owl and fox pumpkins from Grandin Road. "I love that they are pumpkins, which are perfect for Thanksgiving, but also that they offer a unique spin by introducing the woodland animals," she says. "Meri Meri also has the cutest woodland animal-themed partyware, so it was easy to pop in a deer balloon or a turkey cracker to really bring the whole concept together."

This concept was brilliantly brought to life at Whimsy Pasadena, where the party was hosted. Ziegler incorporated a fall palette into every element of the design: Cranberry red, copper, muted pink, and a pearlescent off-white. The shining balloons assembled by Bonjour Fête gained personality all their own when adorable animal face cutouts and stickers were added to them. The floral arrangements by Barrett Prendergast of Valleybrink Road brought the right touch of grownup sophistication to this party theme so that even the adults in attendance felt right at home.

Young guests Stellan, 5, and Ruby, 6, enjoyed playing in this whimsical world of cute critters. Crafts and activities like party poppers in the shape of woodland creatures provided endless entertainment and animal masks gave the kids an opportunity for imaginary play.

And that was only the beginning.

01 of 10

Adorable Dinner Companions

woodland animal pumpkins
Mary Costa Photography

Grandin Road's fox and owl pumpkins made a happy pair for greeting young guests as they entered the dining room. Each character is markedly expressive with painted features and comes complete with either a full, bushy tail or tail feathers.

02 of 10

A Divine Dessert

pumpkin bundt cake
Mary Costa Photography

Pumpkin pie is delectable, but this bundt cake fulfilled everyone's craving in equal measure. "The pumpkin-shaped bundt cake was also pumpkin flavored and had the richest cream cheese frosting on top!" Ziegler says. Buttercake Shoppe made the pumpkin cake by layering two bundt cakes on top of one another.

03 of 10

Autumnal Arrangements

autumnal floral arrangements
Mary Costa Photography

The centerpieces by Barrett Prendergast of Valleybrink Road for this party incorporated many seasonal varieties in a colorful range of roses, ranunculus, zinnia, and spider mum. Strawflowers, carnations, coneflowers, and preserved fall leaves completed the look.

04 of 10

Take a Seat

kids place setting at the table
Mary Costa Photography

Cute party poppers from Meri Meri in the shape of woodland animals and reindeer masks became take-home party favors that kids could enjoy at the party, too.

05 of 10

For Each Guest

turkey place card at the kids table
Mary Costa Photography

Each place card was personalized with a feathered card stock turkey. To make your own set, all you need are blank place cards (or folded squares of medium-weight paper), a calligraphy pen, and some glue. Use templates to make turkeys or other animals, and paste them on the side of the card next to the guest's name. These turkeys have colorful feathers for some additional flair.

06 of 10

Joining Talents

Royale Ziegler setting the kids table
Mary Costa Photography

Ziegler called upon some of her most trusted friends for their creativity in hosting this party from the floral arrangements to the food, and the colorful backdrop of balloons. "Bonjour Fête built the balloon wall by layering helium balloons in an ombré fall palette," she explains, "and then sticking on the animal card ears, antlers and stickers to make deer, owl, and fox characters!"

07 of 10

Hungry for the Harvest

grazing board of fall fruits and vegetables
Mary Costa Photography

No Thanksgiving feast is complete without the food. Prepared by Lauren Delp of Silverlake Socialite, this grazing board featured delectable bites in the party's autumnal palette. A range of cheeses—such as English cheddar with caramelized onions, aged gouda, and goat cheese mixed with apricot, cherry, and cranberry—were paired with blood oranges, cantaloupe, green figs, sliced red Anjou pears, tangerines, rainbow carrots, a raisin medley and pomegranate seeds. To top it all off, a pot of honey was served for drizzling extra sweetness. Miniature pumpkins helped to bring it all together into a photo-worthy plate.

08 of 10

Gathering Together

kids at the holiday table
Mary Costa Photography

Stellan and Ruby shared a happy moment at the kids' table, clinking their paper cups in a toast for the fun evening. Behind them, the garland of balloons featuring fox and deer animal faces made a bright backdrop for the merriment.

09 of 10

Parting Gifts

child holding a fox-themed Christmas cracker
Mary Costa Photography

Kids couldn't resist the fun of a party popper—especially ones shaped like these adorable woodland animals. "Honestly, there is nothing kids love more than popping them and wearing the Thanksgiving crown and playing with the cute little toys included," Ziegler says. Stellan posed with his fox-faced favor before bursting it open for the surprise tokens hidden inside, ending the day with a bang.

10 of 10


reindeer balloon
Mary Costa Photography

Event planning, Royale Ziegler of But First, Party!

Photography, Mary Costa of Mary Costa Photography

Balloons, Bonjour Fête

Flowers, Barrett Prendergast of Valleybrink Road

Sweets, Buttercake Shoppe

Charcuterie, Silverlake Socialite

Venue, Whimsy Pasadena

Party supplies, Meri Meri

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