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FOR THE KIDS : New Year's Eve Fun : Oxnard and Moorpark are hosting slumber parties so children can celebrate while parents go out.

December 26, 1991|JANE HULSE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Children grow up believing that New Year's Eve is one of those adult holidays. You know, the kind where the kids are stuck at home with the baby-sitter while the grown-ups have all the fun.

But Oxnard's city recreational wizards have come up with a way for the kids to have fun too on New Year's Eve.

For the third year, they're throwing an all-night slumber party.

And this year, Moorpark is doing the same thing. The all-nighters allow parents to party hearty without worrying about rushing back to drive a baby-sitter home.

But more than that, they allow children to let loose and celebrate the new year.

"This is not going to be baby-sitting," said Michele White, Moorpark's recreation coordinator. "There will be constant recreational activity."

She's not kidding. She has a long list of fun things to do, all scheduled in 20-minute increments. Some will be active, like freeze tag. Some will be passive, like the game Pictionary.

The kids, ages 5 to 12, will spend the night in Moorpark's community center, 799 Moorpark Ave., arriving at 6 p.m., Tuesday and leaving by 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The cost is $20 and includes breakfast and snacks. The kids need to bring only sleeping bags, pajamas, toothbrushes and teddy bears.

During the evening they'll make crafts, play games and listen to music.

One project will be to make noisemakers, and at midnight they'll try them out.

But the kids won't be toasting in the new year with fruit punch, Kool-Aid, or any other concoction. White feels strongly about that.

"I don't like the idea that drinking is the meaning behind New Years," she said. "I don't feel good teaching them that with a fake toast. We'll relate to the holiday as fun, not for drinking."

She's flexible on bedtime, though.

"We'll let them stay up all night if they want to."

To get them drowsy, she plans to show a movie after midnight. Parent chaperons, one per 15 children, will stay awake all night.

In Oxnard the slumber party is open to children ages 6 to 11. They'll bed down in the youth section of the city's community center, 800 Hobson Way. The cost is $20 and includes breakfast and snacks.

The kids will arrive after 7 p.m. New Year's Eve and must be picked up by 9 a.m. Wednesday. They'll all be packed into a large room with pool tables and Ping-Pong tables. The agenda is loaded with games, crafts and movies.

"Shortly after midnight, we'll put on some peaceful music and try to bed them down," said Paul Ronan, the city's recreation coordinator.

The children's all-night party is a boon for parents who might have trouble finding a baby-sitter for New Year's Eve, he said.

"This way the kids are not feeling left out, the parents don't have to worry about them, and there is less traffic on the road too," he said.

Older kids needn't feel left out, either.

The Conejo Recreation and Park District's Teen Center in Thousand Oaks is having its annual New Year's Eve dance for high school kids.

This marks the fifth year the Teen Center has put on the bash, and at least 500 kids are expected.

To draw the kids in, giant spotlights will beam across the sky from the center during the evening.

"This is the biggest party night of the year," said Brenda Coleman, director of the Teen Center.

The aim is to make it a drug- and alcohol-free night for teens, she said.

The dance runs from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and the cost is $5 per person.

The International D.J. Company, featuring popular local deejay Reuben Allen, will provide the tunes.

There will be a dance contest, with prizes for the best male dancer, best female, and best couple or group. For the hungry, free pizza will be dished out; for romantics, free photos will be snapped.

The Teen Center solicited and received about $2,000 in contributions from local merchants for the evening's prizes and giveaways, Coleman said.

Others donated coupons, gift certificates and merchandise. Some lucky couple will do brunch at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza, she said.

Just before midnight, the countdown will begin.

A load of balloons will drop from the ceiling, and the new year will be greeted with confetti and noise, Coleman said.

* WHERE AND WHEN

The cities of Moorpark and Oxnard offer New Year's Eve overnight slumber parties for kids under 12. Cost is $20. Registration is required for both. For information and reservations, call Moorpark, 529-6864; or Oxnard, 984-4643.

Conejo Recreation and Park District's Teen Center in Thousand Oaks is holding its annual New Year's Eve dance for high school kids. Cost is $5. Call 494-5156 for information.

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