Ditch the Decadence with an Old-School Slumber Party

Growing up, sleepovers were a staple in my house.  There was always the requisite giggling girls, junk food and gossip, dares, double dares, and double dog dares.  We often played games like light as a feather, stiff as a board, charades, and tried to communicate with spirits using an Ouija board. 

These days, however, the simplicity of yesteryear’s slumber parties may be lost on our girls.  More lavish birthday celebrations like renting a hotel room and trips to amusement parks seem to have displaced sleeping bags and chatting with the spirits. But to give our girls a glimpse into what makes a slumber party truly fun, we decided to help you and your daughter ditch the decadence and have a honest-to-goodness slumber party – the old school way.

The key in planning an old-school slumber party is simple: DON’T over plan. 

  • DON’T Pinterest it – There will be no food shaped like ponies, cats, dogs, or Taylor Swift.  There will be no color-coordinated elements.  And there will be no handcrafted DIY items.
  • DON’T spend a lot of money – You will not spend a dime on decorations, balloons, or streamers.  There will be no plastic backdrops and no fortunes spent on Mylar.
  • DO let your kids run the show – Outside of helping with some loosely picked activities (think: beauty spa, movie marathon featuring favorite heartthrob(s), karaoke, that strange badly choreographed kind-of-cute-but-terrible dance and gymnastics routines girls love, fright night, etc.), you will be entirely hands-off.
  • DO allow for freedomYou will not schedule the night, with times set for different activities.  You will provide the various components for fun, then let the girls move from one activity to another as they please.
  • DO let them bond – Listen, girls can be catty and bitchy and annoying.  But you will not step in to help sort things out. You will not be there to resolve conflicts.  You will let them figure it all out – and have a blast doing it. 

Themes, Decorations, and Party Favors

Do you remember the decorations, favors, or themes from your childhood slumber parties?  No?  That’s right, because there weren’t any!  Skip this and leave room for actual fun instead. 

Food and Beverages

A big part of a real sleepover is gluttony.  While girls sit around talking beauty and boys, they’ll need plenty of fuel for the chatter.  Unfortunately, this is not the time to introduce them to your best recipe for kale, avocado, and quinoa salad.  At any good slumber party, it’s the junk that reigns supreme.

Pizza is the obvious choice.  Plus, it’s easy on the pocketbook and totally hassle-free.  If you really must try to make it a dash healthier, keep with the pizza but go for the DIY, with fresh ingredients that kids can pick and choose from.  Other easy choices are sliders, mac and cheese, and a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches. 

When it comes to drinks, soda can be a nice treat but you may want to serve something special like berry or apple flavored sparkling cider, fruit punch mixed with Sprite and pineapple juice, raspberry lemonade or fruit smoothies are great options. 

Now for the Real Spread

Dinner is just an excuse to get to the real treats.  You’re going to need plenty of snacks on hand.  Go for good old chips, cookies, and the like or take it up a notch with these ideas:

  • Trix Krispies – With just a five minute prep time, the over-the-top sweetness in these colorful bars are definitely perfect for kids.  To make them extra fancy cut them with cookie cutters shaped like hearts, stars, or butterflies.
  • Cupcake Bar – Bake up some simple cupcakes in your favorite flavors and go for variety. Then offer up bowls of sprinkles, chocolate chips, crushed cookie, marshmallows, and more. Add tubs of frostings and let the girls decorate and munch their goodies.
  • Oven Baked S’mores – No campfire necessary.  Cook up these favorites in your toaster oven.
  • Movie Night Popcorn Bar – If watching a movie is on your night’s agenda, this dessert will be the ultimate delight.  Surprise your friends with buttery popcorn and crazy good toppings like gummy bears, Reese’s Pieces, and Skittles.


From pedicures to limbo, there’s plenty of fun to be had the old-fashioned way.  Go for the typical makeovers, lip-synching dance-a-thons to favorite music videos, confessionals, gossip, and dares – or check out some of these suggestions:

  • DIY Kool-Aid Lip Gloss  – This is one of the coolest ideas we’ve come across.  Did you know there are over 70 different flavors of Kool-Aid?  Just add coconut oil and sugar for a batch of lip-smacking gloss.
  • Hair Chalking  – We know girls love to streak their hair and OMG this DIY activity will knock their socks off.  Simply wet some pastel chalk in water, color onto streaks of hair, and set with a flat iron.
  • Watch a Chick Flick - Still a top pick for sleepovers.  From Footloose to The Princess Diaries to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, chick clicks are totally filled with awesomeness.
  • Glow in the Dark Bowling – Forget taking the kids to the bowling alley.  Save a ton and put different colored glow sticks inside water bottles and play the game in a hallway or outdoors.
  • Board Games – There are loads of awesome games for sleepovers. We dig Cranium, Catch Phrase, Trivial Pursuit, and Apples to Apples. But the Ouija board is truly a must!

 So, What’s for Breakfast?

 More DIY recipes?  You bet.  When the girls rise and shine, dazzle them with some yummy hot chocolate and these splendid breakfast dishes:

  • Hot Chocolate Bar – Everybody loves hot cocoa.  You can’t miss if you showcase this simple yet fabulous spread complete with mini marshmallows, cookie straws, chocolate syrup, and sprinkles. Be ready to pour second cups!
  • Waffle Bars – A waffle bar will definitely wake up everyone’s taste buds. Serve a variety of heavenly toppings like fresh fruit, different types of syrup, chocolate chips, and whipped cream.
  • Pajamas and Pancakes Buffet – Keep it simple. What’s better than eating pancakes, cereal, and cookies in your pjs anyways?

What are some of your favorite ideas for an old-school slumber party? Share with us!

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Tags : celebrations   birthdays   sleepover   

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