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Pinata

Although the breaking of a pinata is traditionally performed during Mexican Christmas celebrations, it has become popular for children's birthday parties in the United States. Pinatas come in many shapes, but they are customarily a bull or a six-pointed star. Authentic pinatas are made from clay pots, but they can be made from common household items. They are as easy to make as they are to break.

Flour

Water

Bowl

Newspaper

Round balloons

Skinny balloons

Steak knife

Candy

Masking tape

Tempera or watercolor paint

Mix equal parts of flour and water (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of each) in a bowl until it reaches the consistency of pudding. Add more water or flour as necessary. Cut newspaper into 1-inch-wide strips and soak them in the flour paste.

Blow up two to four balloons and tie or tape them together to make the outline of the pinata. Round balloons are best to create a large cavity for storing candy; skinny balloons (like those used in balloon animals) are great for creating such features as ears, tails and legs.

Apply the newspaper strips horizontally on the balloons. Be careful to apply each strip separately and do one coat of newspaper at a time. After the first layer of newspaper strips has been glued on, wait five minutes to do the second. Apply these strips vertically. Cover the balloons with six coats of newspaper, alternating between horizontal and vertical layers. After covering the pinata with the last layer of newspaper, let it dry overnight.

Adults ONLY should do this next part. When the pinata is dry, use the steak knife to saw a hole the diameter of a tennis ball in the top of the largest section. The balloon should pop as you saw. Carefully fill the cavity halfway with small pieces of wrapped candy. Replace the plug, and secure it with masking tape. Paint the pinata with Tempera or watercolor paints and allow the paint to dry overnight.

Breaking the Pinata:

Suspend the pinata from a rope (such as a jump rope) hung between two walls or poles. Loop a piece of yarn vertically around the largest part of the pinata and tie it off around the rope. Tape the yarn loop to the pinata with masking tape so it does not slip off.

Blindfold a child, spin him or her around, and let him or her take swings at the pinata with a broomstick as you rock it back and forth on the rope.

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