Circus Carnival -2yr- Cotton Candy & Popcorn Machine
Brandy in Lithia Springs, GA USA
For my daughter's second birthday, I chose a circus/carnival theme. We had just been to see Barnum & Bailey's and she was still really excited about all of the animals at the circus.
The invitations were printed with clowns and titled "We'll be clowning around at Emma's 2nd Birthday Party." Along with the invitation which was stuffed with confetti, invitees also received a ticket for entry to the party. This was printed on blue cardstock, 1 inch tall x 6 inches long, and formatted to match an old concert ticket. It read: Brackett Entertainment Presents: "Emma Turns Two!" The Greatest Show Under the Big Top and along the tabbed side it said Admit One Family. I printed directions on the back of the tickets. We put signs up around the neighborhood pointing towards the Brackett Fairgrounds. We set up our front yard in typical carnvial fashion.
I made pennants out of felt and spindle sticks (red, yellow and blue) and outlined my front yard with them so that guests were forced to go through the "ticket booth." As guests arrived, they presented their ticket at the ticket booth (a dinner tray with posterboard across the front saying Ticket Booth decorated with lots of streamer and balloons) where a volunteer gave each child a long string of red "25 cent" tickets and a bright colored paper bag with their name on it.
The children could then go from booth to booth and play typical carnival games (pick-a-duck, ring toss, dig for treasure, lollipop pull, fishing game, and bean bag toss). Each booth had a volunteer who took 2 to 3 tickets and each booth gave prizes-win or lose. This is where the paper bags come in handy. Also, as a treat for my volunteers, they each got a button to wear and keep - it was a picture of a clown holding a sign which had their name on it. One of the "booths" was a moonwalk that we rented and had set up on the side of the house.
In the center of the yard, we put up our dining canopy that we use for camping and I filled it with balloons and hung a sign on the front that said "Show Time 2:30 p.m." I placed a borrowed parachute on the floor of the canopy for the kids to sit on. I also printed off acrobats, cut them out, attached them with button tabs so they would swing, and hung them from the balloons. We hired a clown who put on a 30 min. magic show "under the big top." She then did face painting for another 30 mins. And when we went inside for the cake, she did balloon animals for all the kids.
The cake was brightly decorated with circus animals on the bottom and a merry-go-round (Wiltons.com) on top with a flag pennant (a straw and construction paper) that said Happy Birthday Emma sticking out of the top of the merry-go-round. The dining room was decorated with red, yellow and blue streamer starting from the center of the room to the wall and then draping down to the floor so as to give a "big top" feel to the room. Of course, we had circus animal cut-outs all over the walls.
We even had blow up circus animals (Oriental Trading Co.) in the bushes in the front yard with a sign that said "Don't Feed the Animals!" We opened one of our garage doors and placed two tables across it.
We rented a popcorn machine and offered circus peanuts, cotton candy, animal crackers, sodas, hot dogs, and individual bags of chips. Of course, there was a sign hanging that said Concession Stand and listed the price of each item (Hot Dogs. . .2 tickets). We even had red & white striped bags for the popcorn (Oriental Trading Co.). We set up two tables in front of the garage doors so that people could eat comfortably. The kids loved having to "pay" for their food. As each child was leaving, they got a goodie bag stuffed with stickers that said "Thanks for coming to Emma's party", an animal shaped straw, an animal figure, a red clown nose, and a clown book.
As thank you cards, we put together a "circus program" with pictures of the party and sent them to our guests. The kids had a blast! Our party started at 2:00 and the last guests didn't leave until 6:00. We didn't even open presents until afterwards. The adults even got a chance to have some fun in the moonwalk once most of the small kids went home. I ordered my invites and goodie bags from Birthdayinabox.com and all of my prizes and some decorations from Oriental Trading Co. The rest I made from things around the house. It took a while, but it was well worth it. The clown, moonwalk and popcorn machine came from a party rental store where we got a good package deal. This was one of the best parties we have ever had and we had over 20 kids who attended.