Disclaimer: I have received sample items to facilitate my post. All thoughts are my own.
I've long been fascinated with the Hindu festival Rangwali Holi, which is celebrated in part by wild and joyous color fights in the streets. Random strangers bombard each other with brightly colored dust and water. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, and for many it is a joyous day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. It is also celebrated as a Thanksgiving for a good harvest. Many summer music festivals here in the U.S. have also adopted the color throws as part of their shows.
So when I was offered the opportunity to host a party from Just Add Color, I jumped at the chance.
This is a small company which seems to truly believe in the mission of spreading joy and excitement in their wake. They were extremely attentive every step of the way, and the company founder was eager to answer any questions and offer helpful tips.
My party experience did get off to a slightly rocky start. One of the bags of colored dust burst during shipping, so by the time it arrived it was leaking blue dust everywhere. My mail person wasn't pleased, BUT it since has only added to the legend. I am, of course, the only person you know who gets fifteen pounds of exploding color dust in the mail and somehow doesn't get interrogated by the FBI.
The company was again very nice, offering to send a replacement bag if I had needed it.
The kit itself was well-thought-out. It included a party guide with tons of ideas and hints on how to have a successful event. The guide stresses preparation, which I agree with. If you don't set some things up ahead of time and just end up throwing the color around until it's gone, you're going to have a short and unsatisfying party. A little bit of planning goes a long way.
The kit also included three bags of ultra bright color dust: pink, purple and blue; cans of compressed air that also release dust; wristbands for guests with the hashtag #justaddcolor; three plastic bottles with lids; and stockings called color bonkers. The bottles can be filled with dust and have a narrow opening that can be used to write or paint with color. The kids at our party had fun finding clean spaces in the grass to draw their names. The bonkers were kind of genius- they're basically just pantyhose, but when filled with dust the material slowly allows it to filter out. These are soft enough to throw at each other and create dramatic clouds of color all around.
When inviting people to your party, it's important to stress that they should wear old clothes. The dust is non-toxic and actually safe to ingest (though it doesn't taste very good!), but it might stain clothing. You can also offer trash bags for people to sit on as they ride home so their car upholstery won't need to be cleaned. I honestly found clean-up easier than expected. You may have a few moments of, "Dear lord, what have I gotten myself into?," upon seeing a small horde of color-soaked children, but I promise, it isn't that bad.
We decided to start out with some bubble experiments. We had big bubble wands and thought it might be possible to mix the color into the soap to create colored bubbles. This was only semi-successful, but still fun. I think if there had been only older kids, it would have been easier. I still do think if you had enough patience you could capture the haze of smoky dust inside of the bubbles.
The kids were all eager to get dirty, though, so we moved on to pumpkin painting. We had pre-mixed lots of bowls full of color dust, water and lotion. (Notice how all of the stuff we used for mixing, from bubble soap to body lotion actually helps the color come off easier later.) We let the kids just dive in hands first, which is what they really wanted. After concentrating intently on their pumpkin masterpieces, the painting soon began to spread to faces and hair. The only criticism I heard was that they would have liked even MORE colors. I think yellow would be a good one to add, since it could be mixed to create greens and oranges.
I should note that we kept the party treats super simple for this- just some suckers and drinks in disposable cups. If you're planning this for a birthday or want something more substantial like pizza, I would do that part before diving into the color.
We moved on to games like color tag and an "egg race" where we substituted spoonfuls of dust for the eggs. The kid with the most dust in the spoon at the end got to throw it on the losers. The color bonkers were a huge hit, with kids swinging them around and creating dance moves that ended in clouds of dust. Everyone got into it, from the baby who ended up with a blue mohawk down to my dog, The Mighty Thor Thunderpaw, who wanted to be pastel for Halloween anyway.
I really couldn't recommend this party experience highly enough. Everyone had so much fun and I know it will be remembered and talked about for years to come.
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