Most nights, the stroke of midnight turns your brood into a pumpkin patch.
New Year’s Eve is not most nights.
Ensure their nice spell lasts a few extra hours with these family-friendly celebration tips from Fae Diddle Diddle, proprietress of fairy princess troupe Happily Ever Laughter.
Take the lip-lock out of the ball drop.
Institute new ceremonies to make it more about magic. Put candles on cupcakes, walk outside, or blow out a flame at midnight.
Play games that are fun for kids from 0 to 92.
Ask guests to bring leftover cardboard gift boxes to build an epic fort, or have everyone snap photos of meaningful things from 2010: Partygoers can guess which image belongs to whom.
Dine in shifts.
Serve predinner champagne while sippy cuppers eat an early supper. (Full stomachs lead to fewer late-night meltdowns.) Later, adults feast while little ones play in the fort. This way, everyone gets a little age-appropriate conversation.
Provide rest areas.
Make it to midnight in good spirits by designating at least one bedroom a nap area for grouchy tykes. Bonus: A well-rested child makes for a happier New Year’s Day.
Happily Ever Laughter (831-331-8634 or happilyeverlaughter.com).
New Year’s Family Celebration
What: The mac daddy of bounce houses marks year’s end with a pizza party, lots of inflatable fun, and a Times Square-style countdown.
Why: It’ll make you jump, jump.
When: Thurs., 3-5 p.m. & 5:15-7:15 p.m.
Where: Pump It Up, 201 Mendell St. (415-375-9596). Adults and children, $12.
Japanese New Year Bell Ringing Ceremony
What: Kiddos swing a hanging log to strike a 2,100-pound temple bell and enjoy hands-on crafts and Japanese folk songs.
Why: Reverberations wipe out bad experiences from the past year (good-bye, temper tantrums).
When: Fri., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Tickets available at 10 a.m.)
Where: Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St. (415-581-3500). Admission is free.
Photo: Courtesy of Happily Ever Laughter