This is fantastic. It is really professionally done! I love the chocolate carl. You are quite an artist!
Heaven knows any attempt I would have made at this sort of thing would have resulted in a house looking more like the "before" house earlier in the movie!
I don't think real balloons take anything away from the final presentation. In fact, it helps to sort of "anchor" the piece in "reality world". It seems cartoons are becoming closer and closer to live action, and that animators are doing all they can to make us feel like we are watching "real life" characters when we see animation, so your use of real balloons sort of nods to that effort.
Re: the hose..., I can't speak for the others, but I can tell you why I
love it...,it shows attention to detail and the hose played an important part in the movie.
Really nice work, and I agree that this was perfect for the event!!!!