Coney Island Carnival Party 3yr - Tic Tac Toe
James in Fairfield, CA, USA
CONEY ISLAND C.1900 was the theme for our son's 3rd birthday this year. We have been doing periods of Americana for him. His first b-day was the California Gold Rush c. 1850, the second was Mississippi River c. 1875, and now it is Coney Island on the east coast c. 1900.
INVITATIONS: The outside had a picture of Gibson Girls at the beach. We used and old time font inside with Mrs. Grossman's wooden roller coaster stickers. A reproduction Coney Island Streetcar ticket was included. The stamps were 32c Celebrate the Century" 1900 ones plus a Henry Ford 12c one to equal 44c postage.
FOOD: We rented a hotdog steamer a popcorn maker and a cotton candy machine from All Star Rents. Everybody went gaga over these and it was the first party we ever had where we ran out of food. I had enough for 75 servings for 50 guests. The food consisted of: Hotdogs Buns Relish Catsup Mustard Onions Popcorn in bags and Cotton Candy on paper cones. We also set up a soda fountain and asked friends to be soda jerks throughout the party. They mixed all the flavored sodas by hand when ordered. We stocked up on 7-up ginger ale Coke club soda and purchased a lot of different flavors of Torani syrup. They made Shirley Temples Roy Rodgers Fonzies and Italian sodas. At the end we had rainbow cupcakes (I divided cake mix into 6 dishes and colored each with gel/paste food coloring. Then I spooned just a tad of each into the muffin cups and they came out incredibly cool). We also had an ice cream sundae bar complete with: strawberry vanilla and chocolate ice creams bananas chocolate pineapple strawberry berry caramel and pumpkin sauces nuts whipped cream cherries sprinkles and Oreo crumbs.
GAMES: This was a tough one because we had many stations running at once like a real carnival. We had to enlist the help of friends and family members and they were great! I made the carnival games from scratch. There are books from the library you can get with step by step instructions. The games were: Tic Tac Toe - where you toss softballs into a wooden box sectioned off into 9 areas and try to get three in a row a Ring Toss onto wine bottles Tooth Knock Down - a standup huge wooden clown face with wooden slats on hinges to knock down with balls Balloon darts - we stapled balloons to the side of our shed and let the kids try to pop them with darts Ping Pong Cups - kids had to try to toss ping pong balls into cups Milkcan Toss - classic pyramid stack of milk cans that people had to try to knock down with balls Duck Pond match - rubber ducks in a small pool were scooped up with a net. Each had a number on the bottom and you try to match the numbers. High Striker - I built a real working 8 foot test your strength game where people took a rubber mallet and tried to make the weigh reach the top. Basket Toss - trying to toss soft balls into wicker baskets set up an an angle.
ACTIVITIES: My wife made sugar cookies with a vintage circus elephant cookie cutter. She didn't have a chance to decorate them so she set up a decorating station for the kids to decorate their own. Coney Island had a hotel building in the shape of an elephant around the turn of the century so these were representative of it.
DECORATIONS: I made paper cut outs of the colorful heffalumps and woozils in the Disneyland Winnie-the-Pooh ride and taped them up in our hallway. I transformed our dining room into a Victorian sweet shop. We had jars of hard candies swirl lollipops carnation floral arrangements in the shape of strawberry milkshakes large starlight mint cutouts on the walls and starlight mint throw pillows all around. We also made a large banner that said "candy shop" to hang in front. Outside I set up all the carnival game & food booths. I used a lot of balloons crepe paper and string lights. In our living room I cut out over 50 paper balloons complete with strings and taped them in a bunch to the ceiling. We found an oversized clown clock at Goodwill and hung that over the sofa. We also found Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus collector plates that we hung on the wall.
MUSIC: I found a cd on eBay called "Sounds of Coney Island" that had actual recordings of the Coney Island midway. We played this outside by the games and it really enhanced the mood. It was so funny with its carnival barkers calliope music etc. Inside we played CDs of Barbershop Quartets and Scott Joplin's Ragtime.
GOODY BOXES: We bought Red & white striped circus goody boxes from Oriental Trading Co. along with circus tattoos old fashioned candy sticks boxes of animal crackers and sheets of circus stickers to go inside.
PRIZES: We had been saving all the plush animals our children won at Circus Circus in Reno to give away as the carnival game prizes.
FAVORS: Swirl lollipop cookies. My wife found a fun recipe online for cookies that look just like old time swirly lollipops.
THANK YOU'S: Coney Island postcards "
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