Idea No.


Carnival Sleepover -11yr- Pillow Case Decorating



September 2006


xxx in Gilbertsville, PA

Special Mention

Sleepover Party

Mini-Carnival/Sleepover Party (11-year-old)  This was a sleepover birthday party for nine girls. We enlisted the help of the birthday girl's teen sister and friend.   

INVITATIONS:  We went basic, since the "carnival" theme was not part of the initial planning for the party. Refer to other carnival party invitation ideas on this site. 

DECORATIONS: Plenty of balloons and happy birthdays. The various mini gaming stations and props also added to the visual backdrop of the party. 

PARTY START: Had a sheet of paper taped on the inside of our front door. I use this to record any allergy/drug information for each girl when the parents drop them off. Also used this to indicate the # order in which the girls arrived. The reason for this is to keep order during the opening of gifts. Usually everyone clamors to have their gift opened first. Instead, we have the gifts opened in the order that the girls arrived.  Then the girls are directed to the ticket booth  - which we temporarily converted from one side of the entry coat closet. Before the party, we moved the coats and stuff from that side of the closet and placed it into my car trunk. Then, using a dollar store yellow plastic tablecloth, we cut a 2-foot section like an awning, wrote the word "tickets" on it, and tacked it to the top of the closet frame. Then we cut a section to drape over a card table. Instead of purchasing a huge roll of real tickets from a party store, we just pre-made our own with construction paper, with different colors representing different carnival stations. For parental sanity (mine!) I posted house rules in the kitchen. No running in the house can only stay on first floor ---this eliminated running and potentially tripping on stairs, and allowed olders girls some privacy in the evening free from teasing from younger crew drinks must stay in kitchen in sleeping bags and whispering (good luck!) by one and lights out by two a.m.  Yup, I run a tight sleepover ship, but at least I get a whee bit of sleep.  

GAMES:  Had older daughter and friend carry a shoe box wrapped in wrapping paper with an attached ribbon that wrapped behind their neck (like a baseball game hotdog vendor's box), that they supported with their hands. This box contained individual bags of popcorn and cotton candy (Big bags of cotton candy from K-Mart, Big bags of popcorn from Wal-Mart. These were then placed into smaller bags prior to party). The girls milled among the booths chanting "popcorn" and "cotton candy". Fortune-telling (only funny, positive things!). Older daughter's friend came costumed for this role. We made a crystal ball with a pink round push light, covered with a yellow somewhat seethrough tupperware bowl. This was then covered with a colorful scarf. It was actually quite cool in our darkened living room.  Football and Basketball throw - Basketball free throws. Football throw through a hula hoop hung from a swing set.  

Photo Booth - We used a photo board we got from a framing store, and used permanent markers to decorate it like a box of popcorn, with a hole cut out for their head. Then each of the girls had their photo taken with their face in the center of the yellow popcorn. This photo was then included in each of their thank you notes. Balloon Darts - Used a square of thick cardboard, and stapled about 30 small balloons to it. Kids used darts from a dart-board game (use these with care with children!). Bean Bag Toss - Had one of these from a previous year's birthday party.  Cut-throat Game - Often seen at Holiday parties. Had nine gifts worth about a dollar each (one for each girl) that I wrapped ahead of time. Had the girls sit in a circle. Then one by one (again, in the order they arrived, to make it simple), they took one gift from the pile in the center and opened it. Then the second girl to go either could take the opened gift from the first girl, or select a wrapped gift from the pile. This goes on with either a gift from the pile being selected, or "stealing" one from another girl. Look up the cut-throat game online for more specific rules.  

CRAFT: Since it was a sleepover, we purchased nine white pillowcases during a white sale at Ollie's. Then we "stuffed" a piece of white cardboard inside each of the pillow cases in preparation for the party. This prevents marker ink from bleeding to the other side of the pillow case. Also purchased a pack of fabric markers from Wal-Mart. The girls used the markers to design/sign their pillow cases, and each others'.  

CAKE: Balloons and primary-colored icing on a DQ Blizzard Ice Cream Cake. 

FOOD: Dinner consisted of three choices. The typical pizza, hot dogs, or tacos in a cup (use clear plastic cups, and build your own taco in layers in the cup). It's easier and less messy to eat tacos this way. Also provided sodas - decaf for the sleepover! Water and milk. Customary chips, cheese curls, etc. also provided during meal and later. Breakfast was mini donuts, cereal (we were going to get the mini individual boxes, but opted for large boxes later). Also had fresh bagels and cream cheese. Hot chocolate, milk and orange juice were also available.  Girls left at 11 a.m. with treat bags.

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