Step Right Up! - Tips for throwing a fun Carnival Party

So, for those of you who haven't heard me talking about it yet, for my son's first birthday party we had a carnival theme and it was sooooo much fun!  In fact, both kids and adults had such a great time that I am considering having a carnival BBQ this summer! :)  I mean...really...who doesn't love a good fair with games, prizes, and treats?!

I wanted to share some sites that inspired me, ideas for games, treats, decorations, and prizes, and photos from our party that hopefully will get you excited about throwing your own carnival party! 

First up, a little eye candy to get you in the spirit...

Click HERE to see these fabulous Etsy items up close along with links to the great shops that make them.

For decorations I went super colorful and fun with THESE great printable items, bright little buckets and baskets from the Target dollar spot, that great popcorn bucket from The Dollar Tree, lots of jars wrapped with Bo Bunny Double Dot papers (to hold various signs, prizes or treats), THIS cute collection from Party City, and of course lots of balloons.

Now, onto the food.  It was easy to find lots of treat ideas for a carnival themed party but not much in the way of 'real' food.  We went ahead with hot dogs, marinated chicken wings, and my personal favorite...'fruit on a stick'.  The boys had a lot of fun making these fruit skewers and I love the color they added to the food table.

For treats we had just about everything you could imagine...popcorn (I found cinnamon sugar and apple crisp popcorn at Whole Foods), cotton candy (freshly spun from THIS Etsy seller), strongman dumbbells (lollipop sticks with chocolate donut holes on each side), lemon cupcakes, caramel apples, and of course cake!

I drew up a sketch for the cake and gave it to my local bakery along with one of our dessert plates for inspiration and they did an amazing job, don't you think?!  Then for a little dimension I created a sweet little banner using two wooden skewers, some Doodlebug Twine, and Bo Bunny Double Dot paper.   I also placed the cake on top of a round hat box to give it the attention it deserved.

And although I didn't make these, they look fabulous...

Next...the games:
We had a horseshoe toss (ring toss is also great), basketball free throw, baseball toss, and the fish bowl game (definitely a must!). 

 Find a few hat/circle boxes of different sizes, attach them to a piece of plywood, and lean up against a wall for this deceivingly simple game.  The angle of the plywood does make a difference so test out the game ahead of time to see what angle is challenging but not practically impossible.  We used hard foam baseballs for this which tended to bounce out just enough to make you really proud when you actually got it in!

 Set up some clear plastic cups on a table, fill with water and some plastic fish.  Then have 3 cups of ping pong balls so more than one person can play at a time.

We also had a kissing booth and a photo booth...so much fun!

The photo booth was such a great way to capture special memories from our day and who doesn't love to play dress up?!  :) Decorative frames painted in bright colors, mustaches are a must have, fun headbands, hats, and glasses from The Dollar Tree, chalkboard looking signs/speech bubbles (made with black posterboard and a white pen), and a strongman dumb bell (not shown...but simply paint two styrafoam balls black and stick onto a wooden rod).

Extra photobooth inspiration: https://www.etsy.com/listing/77444825/luna-bella-on-the-high-wire-circus?ref=shop_home_active

Finally...the prizes:
I wanted everyone to win a prize and did not want to be handing out prizes at each table/game so I decided to create a Prize Table that guests could choose a few prizes from when they were headed home.  This worked out great...everyone loved picking their prizes and it was like a goody bag/thank you for attending the party.   The sign says..."Ladies and Gentlemen...At the close of the show, please help yourself to a few prizes." 

And I wish I had discovered these before the party...so fun!  (They are on my list for next time...these are especially perfect if you have the fish bowl toss game.)

Here are 2 other parties that inspired me as well:

Whew!  Well, if you are still with me, maybe you are just as excited as I was about a carnival party!  So, I hope this post helps you and please don't hesitate to email me or leave a comment with any questions...I have a few more tips I'd be happy to share.  Once I got the idea in my head, I got quite ambitious with all my plans but it all came together fabulously and will be a party that we talk about for years to come.  It created many wonderful memories of my son's first birthday and for that reason it was totally worth it!  :)


Ashley Newell said...

Sooooooo cute Kerry!!! I can't believe it's been a year!

Savannah O'Gwynn said...

What a super super cute party! LOVE the photo booth! LOVE all the decorations-- if I had kids, I would totally throw a carnival themed party:) HUGS!

A Consuming Passion said...

Oh my goodness what a fabulous way to celebrate a little ones Birthday......:)