Relax and don't worry: just follow our simple tips in preparing for your piñata party and we guarantee the party will be a success! The piñata takes care of itself - all eyes will be on the piñata which soon becomes the focal point of the fun! Though one piñata can be plenty - even for 20 people - we've been involved with many a party where the parents/party throwers wished they'd had a second one to hand as a follow-up, so do consider having another in reserve (you can always keep it as decoration for your party/event). Generally with kids parties, the older the children involved, the bigger the piñata should be.
What to bring / prepare in advance.
Your checklist should include:-
- Bandana/Scarf (blindfold)
- Washing line (to hang the piñata on) and some spare string
- 2 pairs of gloves
- 1 (broom) stick (max. 75 cm long) for hitting the piñata
- Party bags for gathering the treats in
- Bin liner(s) to throw the bits and pieces into at the end (the entire piñata is paper so it can be recycled!)
How many sweets and what type to put in.
A general guide is to allow a handful of treats per person/child. DON'T overfill the piñata - it gets heavy to hang, unwieldy to move, may snap its support string and there's no need. A better idea is to keep a reserve supply of sweets hidden: There will always be the odd person who wasn't quick enough to grab many when the piñata breaks and you can give them some extras when the excitement dies down. We recommend wrapped sweets and loose, not in a bag. Of course you can add or replace the sweets with toys or novelties but DON'T put in things that are easily breakable!
Our piñatas come generally unfilled because the filling is often a personal thing and it's terribly easy to do: our party piñatas are all made with a hole at the top so you can drop things inside. If you do want us to fill it for you, we can do this at extra cost.
Setting up the piñata.
Essentially there need to be two adults who can stand on vantage points either side of the children, each holding one end of the washing line, with the piñata hanging from string in the middle. Stools or chairs will do or small tables or even step ladders. If the weather's good you can play the piñata outdoors - you can tie one end of the piñata to a tree. If you don't use a washing line and resort to (strong) string be warned that a heavy piñata can put considerable force on the string which can hurt your hands - which is why we recommend wearing gloves! Remember too that the idea is for the piñata to move, making it harder on the hands.
Playing the game.
Adult supervision is essential!
Of primary concern is the safety of the children, so follow these three simple rules:-
- All children should sit on the floor/ground in a circle at a safe distance from the piñata and the child hitting it.
- You MUST control the child on their turn to hit the piñata. They MUST agree to stop hitting on your command - usually agree with everyone in advance how many 'hits' (or attempts to hit!) each person can have: say 3 each to begin with. An unruly child that's blindfolded and swinging a stick around can be dangerous, especially if the other children are not kept back safely...
- One adult should be in charge of the game from the start to finish, and is the one to choose whose turn is next, when to stop etc., and to keep charge of the stick!
- The taller the two grown-ups supporting the piñata are the better. Their task is really very easy - just to stand there! They needn't both swing the line: if one end is static, the other person can easily swing the piñata around.
- For younger children (under say 7) it's pointless using a blindfold - even with several direct hits it's unlikely they'll be strong enough to break the piñata.
- Give each child in turn a go, perhaps starting with the youngest/smallest. Once everyone's had a turn, you have several options: a) repeat! b) let any teenagers present have a go c) invite any parents or other grown-ups to try. In the unlikely event that the piñata is still intact, tell all present that this is the moment to release the goodies, build up the excitement and then simply turn the piñata upside down and shake it all over the place or alternatively get two strong people to hold the piñata by the hole in the top and tear it in two like a christmas cracker! There will of course be a mad scramble for sweets.
- Usually the entire piñata will last around 20 minutes. It's rare for the piñata to break early (another reason to have a spare, though, just in case).
- Get everyone involved - including parents and even grandparents. It's all part of the fun.
- With most piñatas it's the extremities - cones, legs, arms etc. - which break off first. Kids tend to grab these parts even though they're usually empty; in fact they're great for putting the sweets in when the main part falls!
- The older the contestant, the more fun it is to move the piñata around: the two 'swingers' on either end of the line should be able to jerk the piñata in all directions. When someone is blindfolded, you can try dangling the piñata right beside their face, then suddenly moving it away when they react! Another option is to turn the contestant round 360º 3 times so they lose all sense of direction!
- Cheering, music and general party excitement is vital! In Mexico traditional piñata songs are sung; over here any kind of animated background music with a good beat is fine!