Carnival Party 1yr - Loot Bag Alley
Gloria in Detroit, MI USA
Step Right Up and Join the Fun! Parker James is turning One! For our son's first birthday we had a carnival themed party. I planned this party for several months so that things would go smoothly. We invited about 150 people!
For his invitations, I bought a rainbow colored clown wig and took his picture wearing it (I'm sure he'll love this picture when he's a teenager!). I scanned the picture and printed my own invitations on card stock that I purchased at Kinko's. I also bought colored paper and printed admission tickets and maps to enclose in the invitation. The return address labels read Looman Fairgrounds.
We tied balloons to our railings with a giant cardboard clown, and had streamers and balloons all over the backyard all bright primary colors. We set up a ticket booth in our front yard where each family redeemed their admission ticket. Each child was given a Ticket Necklace and a plain white treat bag. The Ticket Necklace had tickets for each game and each snack station that were color coded with corresponding color signs posted at each location so that the smaller kids only had to match colors. After receiving their Ticket Necklace they were asked to pull off the ticket for the Animal Cracker Guess which was located at the ticket booth and fill out their guess. I purchased a teddy bear shaped container filled with animal crackers at Wal-Mart.
They were then sent to Loot Bag Alley - the decorating table where they created their own treat bags. We had markers, crayons, stickers, ribbons, hole punches, glue sticks & small carnival pictures that I printed from black & white clip arts. There were several games: Duck Pond (purchased the ducks from Oriental Trading floating in a small blow-up pool from K-Mart $1.99), Bottle Ring Toss (purchased plastic rings from Oriental Trading with a case of Town Club pop in glass bottles), Can (purchased bean bags from Oriental Trading with brightly painted pop cans stacked in a pyramid), Lollipop Pick (Dum Dum suckers purchased at Sam's Club stuck in styrofoam with the tips painted), Tic Tac Toe (9 Plastic sundae dishes filled with water & plastic balls to toss), & Hoopla (a blow up dolphin with rings purchased from Oriental Trading).
The kids won different prizes at each game, they had several chances so that everyone was a winner. The prizes were purchased through Oriental Trading and a local wholesaler that supplies festivals. They won kick balls, jump ropes, jacks n ball sets, pinball games, bubbles, ruler/combs, bracelets, magic tricks, Frisbees, gliders, stickers, and of course candy. We also had a stand for Cotton Candy (individual bags that I purchased at Sam's Club) & Popcorn (served in small popcorn bags). I even had special prize bags made up in advance for the babies. They each got a rattle, a bath toy, a set of plastic silverware (all purchased at the dollar store), & their own bag of animal crackers. In between playing the games and eating their snacks, I hired 2 neighbor girls to do face painting & tattoos and they also arrived early to help set things up & decorate.
My husband barbecued hotdogs & hamburgers and the grandparents helped out by making potato salad, fruit salad, & pasta salad. The clown Bubbles arrived just after we ate and set up to perform on the front lawn. She was a hit! The kids loved her, especially Parker. He was fascinated! While she did her show, the two neighbor girls cleaned the mess in the back yard. As soon as the show was over we presented the winner of the Animal Cracker Guess with the whole container. We brought Parker's highchair outside and sang Happy Birthday!
His cake was a two tiered clown cake that my mother-in-law made. He also had his own personal cake that was shaped like a football (per my husband's request). She also made individual cupcakes for each kid that were topped with a plastic Big Top. While the kids ate their cake we also served individual ice creams from an actual ice cream cart that we rented from a nearby distributor. If you purchased $100 worth of ice cream they let use the cart for free (you had to buy the dry ice $25).
While the party winded down, Bubbles made each of the kids a balloon sword or flower. Before leaving each kid received a Thank You bag with a thank you card from Parker, animal crackers, candy, a box of crayons, & Parker's Carnival Birthday Coloring Book. I made the book from clip art pictures that I downloaded in black & white and I wrote a story all about his party. The parents loved the coloring book more than the kids!
We were very fortunate to have so much help from our family, we couldn't have done it alone! Everything turned out great including the weather (where would I have put all these people?) and everyone is already asking what we're doing next year? Any ideas? Gloria Detroit, MI P.S. We saved opening the presents until the next day and invited immediate family over to watch him.
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