Monday, March 21, 2011

pinata [of the indestructible variety]

I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point in the past decade and a half, a pinata became absolutely mandatory in our family birthday celebrations. And I, having made more than my share of pinatas in the 6th grade (we sold them to raise money for a field trip -- now that's my kind of child labor), became the official pinata maker.

I initially went the balloon and paper mache route. For those unfamiliar (what? this isn't the main skill you picked up in 6th grade?), the paper mache route takes about three days and includes, a large round balloon, paper mache, and shredded newspaper. Just mix these three ingredients together (not really -- you blow, tie, dip, plaster), let dry overnight, add more of the last two ingredients, let dry another night, and then cover with fringed crepe paper (and anything else you might want to add). Streamers, pictures, stickers, cones. After hours and hours, the pinata might look something like the top row of these superb examples:

But after a few (one), my pinatas became much simpler. More of the plain egg-shaped variety, to be exact. We did an Ice Cream Cone and then an Eyeball, and at least one Princess Face (for the boys to smash, of course), before the pinatas became simply Colored Circles.

And then, inevitably, we ran into another problem -- longevity. Homemade pinatas of this type just didn't last all the way through an entire line of kids, especially when it comes to growing boys with a wooden baseball bat. Three strikes, and the candy was out.

Add to that a much smaller amount of time I was willing to devote to Pinata Creation, and a new variety of pinata was born: The Box.

I'm telling you, The Box is the best pinata idea since . . . round pinatas.

Take a shoebox, fill it up with candy or pencils or bouncy balls -- whatever your prize of choice, duct tape it shut, let the birthday kid decorate it, and you've got one superb pinata. Even with a handful of tweens in line, these boxes take round after round to destroy.

Sometimes we even have to call in the Big Guns to open it up.

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