"Of course we'd like to come - what shall we bring?"
"Could you manage a Hallowe'en-themed piñata?"
...and here we go.
(Oh, and the emergency? Version one, a papier mache construction failed. Four days of pasting and gluing, and it all went wrong. I didn't have four days left to make another that way.)
So, to the cardboard!
Step 1: The Template
I had some thick corrugated card*, too thick for smooth curves, so I decided to go geometric, and make a truncated cuboid - six octahedra, in the planes of the faces of a cube, with equilateral triangles filling in the corners.
I used the largest handy sheet of paper (a page of newsprint) to make a square.
Folding into four, then a triangle, and cutting off one point makes a nice octahedron when opened.
I cut two "proper" octahedrons out of the card, then folded the template across the middle to make it narrower - I wanted the piñata to be slightly flatter than a cube.
*Saved from the box that a garden bench came in - Kitewife got fed up with waiting for me to get round to making her one.
Step 2: Construction.
Duct tape time!
I taped the six octagons together, arranged as the faces of a cube. I put tape on both sides of each joint, reaching through the corner triangles to tape the inside of the joints for extra strength (I don't know how many children will be having a go at this).
Rather than calculate or measure the size of the corner pieces, I simply drew around them on the card, then cut them out.
Before taping on the last corner piece, I added the candy. Knowing that the piñata could be getting hung out-doors, in the dark, I used candies that were individually-wrapped.
The piñata needs to hang up, so I pierced two holes in the top, and tie a loop of string through them. To stop the string "sawing" through the card as the children smack at it, I duct-taped a length of bamboo skewer beside each of the holes, on the side between the holes.
The basic piñata is now done - all else is detail.
Step 3: The Details
Kitewife bought me some orange crepe paper and some black plain paper
Parcel-wrapping skills to the fore, and the orange became the pumpkin's skin, held in place with small pieces of sticky tape.
Over-lapping sections were tacked in place with small loops of tape to try and hide as much of it as possible, but I had to visibly reinforce one section that was under tension and started to rip.
The black paper became the face, glued in place.
I used a piece of green paper, rolled tightly, as the pumpkin's stem. No glue here, I just poked a small hole in the piñata with a sharp thing, and prodded the rolled of paper through it.
Piñatas need bashing, so off-cuts of the crepe and green paper turned a length of broom-handle into a matching bashing-stick.
Step 4: And...?
Well, yes. Nearly too well.
There were about ten children at the party, and they all had three goes each, ending up taking ten whacks each at a time.
Eventually, the string ripped out of the top, and the kids eviscerated it on the floor.
Basically, a happy half hour was had by all.
(The photos are a bit ropey, mainly because I was rather drunk by this point)