What is a knight without a dragon to vanquish? Just a dude with a sword... So I had a hunt online for a dragon pinata and found one for sale that was a) empty b) £12 and c) out of stock anyway. But thanks to this lovely tutorial, I saved my £12 for buying chocolate coins to fill the dragon, and set about making my own.
I made the papier mache glue by cooking 3/4 cup of flour with 3 cups of water and a handful of salt (supposedly this inhibits mould. It didn't get a proper test so I can't verify that.) I used a paper towel tube for the head and some rolled up paper for the tail and lots and lots of masking tape to attach the head and tail to the balloon. Then I applied the strips of newspaper to the balloon using lots of the paste. The first layer took nearly two days to dry despite the weather being very hot. The second layer dried much quicker. Or so I thought! I only did two layers of papier mache because I wanted the children to have a fighting chance of getting to the sweets.
The jury was out whether it looked more like a swan or a dinosaur (votes were cast for both a diplodocus and a brontosaurus, which split the dino vote).
The children and I filled him with several hundred chocolate coins, and then painted him. The jury conceded that he was looking a bit more like a dragon, particularly when his lovely rotund torso collapsed in on itself. I panicked and used the hairdryer to speed up the drying process before it dawned on me that hot air and chocolate coins were probably not a great match. So I let nature take its course...
I cut up cardboard for the dragony paraphrenalia and stuck it on with double-sided sticky pads. It is now indisputably a dragon!
I'd love to post pics of the dragon hanging from the swing ready to be whacked (he looked pretty impressive, I can tell you!) and of the children lining up in age order to whack him. And action shots of the two year olds viciously wielding the stick just to tickle his tummy would have been very sweet. Unfortunately I was too busy shrieking with laughter to operate the camera, especially when the mummies started beating him about the head. A lot of pent up emotions were released that evening and it was everyone's favourite part of the party. Even the little girl who came dressed up as a dragon cancelled her subscription to Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Dragons that day and beat him up with the best of them! Pinatas rock!