New Year’s Evening at the Pops

Give your kids a hoppin’, poppin’ fun New Year’s Eve party all their own.

It’s likely that your kids are already in bed when the clock strikes midnight, missing the festivities adults enjoy when marking the New Year. This year, bring your kids into the fun—but just a few hours earlier. Let New Year’s celebrations around the world inspire you to fast-forward your clocks to celebrate in another time zone! Fun food such as Tick-tock Clock Cookies, a popcorn bar and sparkling juice served in plastic stemware add to the festivities. Make your own colorful noisemakers by recycling glass or plastic bottles. Lead the kids in energetic party games and it should tire them out enough so you can enjoy your celebration later, when the kids head to bed.

The Balloon Drop

Add excitement and anticipation to the countdown with this game:

1. Use a twin-sized sheet and secure two corners on one side to the ceiling above the center of the room with small nails or tacks. (Note: You will need help to place the balloons and to secure the sheet.)
2. Blow up balloons, fill the sheet and then secure the other side of the sheet to the ceiling.
3. At the countdown, have another adult help you release two corners and drop the balloons on your gathered guests. The kids will love the balloon shower!
4. Optional: each guest receives a bottle of bubbles to blow at each other when the clock strikes “midnight.”

Shake, Rattle & Roll

Make colorful and customizable noisemakers for the big day (and use them later for the grown-up party, too).

by Jickie Torres

Why rely on the same old party favors for your New Year’s festivities, when you can make your own with a few materials from around the house? “Upcycle” an empty soda bottle into a DIY party rattle that is as fun to make as it is to shake.


• Empty glass or plastic drink bottle with screw-on cap
• foil confetti
• plastic buttons
• glass and plastic beads
• pipe cleaners
• pencil
• 3-4 strands of lightweight ribbon in various coordinating colors


Clean and thoroughly dry the bottle and its top. Remove the label, if possible.
Into the bottle, add confetti, buttons and beads in colors that coordinate with your theme.
Curl the pipe cleaners into springs by wrapping them around a pencil. Then place them inside the bottle.
Replace the bottle cap and tie a ribbon around the top to finish.

Create a Popcorn Bar

Offer a variety of fun, tasty treats to top freshly popped corn.

For the popcorn buffet, serve in individual-sized bowls, hand-decorated paper bags or splurge on colorful paper bags. Offer dry ingredients in shakers you can make out of small canning jars by poking holes in the lids, or serve in small bowls or ramekins with spoons. For the liquid toppings, use small cruets, bottles or dress up recycled honey bears in festive New Year’s attire.

Perfect Popcorn

To make approximately 10 cups of popcorn, place 1-3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Add ½ cup popcorn and, away from heat, shake pan to distribute oil and kernels. Cover and place pan on burner until you hear kernels popping vigorously. Shake pan a bit to pop last kernels; remove from heat when popping slows to 2-3 seconds between pops. Pour into a large serving bowl. Repeat.

Here are some favorite toppers:

Chocolate Spice

2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine well and serve in a small shaker, such as a clean, recycled spice jar.

Dry toppings:

• M&Ms or similar candies
• Creole seasoning
• Gummy bears
• Chocolate morsels
• Dried cranberries
• Parmesan cheese
• Garlic powder
• Mixed cereal
• Coconut
• Chocolate spice (recipe above)
• Sunflower seeds and small nuts (such as pine or crushed varieties)
• Brewer’s yeast
• Kosher salt

Liquid toppings:

• Caramel
• Honey
• Agave
• Maple syrup

by Hillary Black • Photography by Bret Gum
Styled by Jacqueline deMontravel, Amanda Heer and Jickie Torres