You’ve decided to throw a carnival theme party, but you don’t have to hire a carnival barker to get your guests to attend. Send out invites that will have them ready to step right up and enjoy the party! Then, create a party full of amusement. Here’s how:
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Planning and invitations
Make your invites unique with personalization. Add in some DIY ideas and your guests won’t want to miss it. Include special activities on the invite. And it’s not a bad idea to include details about what food will be served or suggested clothing if things might get messy. These clever ideas will help get you started.
- Popcorn bag invite
- Mini banner invite
- Carnival tickets invite
- Tent shaped invite
- The works
- Circus theme supplies set
- Red and white striped table settings
- Include Confetti and a personalized sticker with a fun message
Be creative with the wording of the party details.
Helpful invitation text:
Come one, come all
To Amy’s 7th birthday carnival!
There will be food, games and lots of fun
And a special surprise for everyone
Gates open at noon on May 13th
at 1234 Carnival Way
RSVP for your VIP pass by contacting 555-1234
Traditional red and white stripes with a contrasting blue are always a good choice and creative centerpieces for the tables can make party decorations really stand out.
- Red and white striped banner
- Giant popcorn bag balloon arch
- Circus tent from streamers
- Carnival treats centerpieces
- Carnival party attraction signs
- Vintage circus themed centerpieces
- Circus tent pinata
Top the party off with a personalized Happy Birthday Banner! You can get the banner, party favors and even custom labels for your water bottles. Customizing your party is very easy and makes a lasting impression.
- Personalized Birthday Banner
- Personalized Gift Tags
- Custom drink labels
- Personalized photo frames that can be filled with a picture from the party later on
POPCORN! If you aren’t planning a full meal, think about serving movie theater style popcorn and you can even serve it in these special bags. Check with your local high school, they might have a commercial sized popcorn popper they will rent out to you for your party. Some churches and schools also have cotton candy machines that they will lend out as well. Some other carnival party food suggestions include:
- For a meal, try hot dogs, cotton candy and corn dogs for a real carnival feel.
- For the ultimate carnival treat make fried Oreos. Dip the cookies in funnel cake batter, deep fry and dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Some other carnival party food suggestions include:
- Hot dog bar, Burgers, Corn dogs & Chicken fingers
- Carnival theme cookies
- Sno-cone cupcakes
- Cotton candy
- Paper straws
- Vintage Milk bottles
- Swirl Lollipops
- Funnel Cake Cupcakes
- French fries
- Soft pretzels
- Lemonade in a circus theme plastic stadium cup with a silly straw
- Caramel apples
- Popcorn machine and popcorn bags
- Snow cone maker
Here are a few additional ideas for dessert:
- Clown Cupcakes: Bake cupcakes and top with white frosting. Make each one look like a clown’s face using a red gum drop for a nose, M&Ms for the eyes, a bit of red licorice for a mouth, and cotton candy for the hair.
- Circus Cake: Bake a cake and cover it with white frosting. Use tubes of colored icing to add balloons in red, yellow and blue. Place toy animals around the edges.
- Clown Ice Cream: Make clown heads using scoops of bright orange or raspberry sherbet topped with sugar cone “hats” surrounded by rings of icing “ruffles.” Make faces using round, red candy for the noses (try gumballs), M&Ms for the eyes, and red licorice strings for the mouths. Make these ahead of time, and freeze them until you’re ready to serve them to your guests.
From knocking down cans to popping balloons with darts, there are many options for games with a carnival theme. Set up a ticket booth and hand them out as guests arrive. Have them turn in tickets to play the games for prizes. Small party favors even premade bags of candy make great prizes. Check out these suggestions for games:
The most popular idea for entertainment at a carnival party is hiring a clown but it is certainly not necessary. Birthday In A Box offers a vast amount of birthday party supplies and activities. You can mix and match ideas from carnival and circus themes to make the entertainment suit you.
Here are some suggestions for entertainment at your party:
- Photo booth with Chalkboard Props
- Big Top Piñata
- Balloon artist
- Petting zoo
- Face Painting
- Bouncy house
- Rent a Dunk Tank
- Bubble Machine
Personalized party favors are a huge hit. You can get personalized bag tags or stickers that you can attach to the gift bag for your little guests.
For an easy solution, pre-made kits that contain an assortment of favors are readily available.
From bags of candy with personalized names on them to keepsake circus tent shaped drink cups, there are many ideas for party favors including:
- Striped Gable Boxes favor kit
- “Fish” Prize (jello and Swedish fish)
- Balloon Animals
- Clown noses
- Carnival stickers and tattoos
- Circus sipper cups
- Pencils and notepads
- Fun shaped candy and lollipops
- Cotton candy
Thinking about making your carnival party a costume party? Take a look at these ideas for your little “carnie” to wear to the party! The photo booth pictures could be amazing with everyone in costume! Here are some great costume ideas:
- Baby Lion costume
- Toddler tiger costume
- Teen Mad Hatter costume
- Baby Strong man costume
- Adult Ringmaster costume
- Child clown costume
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Party Planning Toolbox
Use the links below to quickly find related theme party supplies, planning tips, printable checklists, and advice from our party planning experts.
- Carnival Party Supplies: Includes paperware, invitations, personalized items, favors, and decorations for your party theme.
- Carnival Personalized Items: Check out our exclusive personalized items including invitations, bookmarks, stickers, and more!
- Party Planning 101: Our useful party planning guide includes cake ideas, party etiquette tips, a printable guest list, and much more.
- Birthday Party Decorating Ideas: This guide will tell you how to decorate for your party theme, what to do with balloons and streamers, how to decorate with food, how to set the table, and how to make your own party decorations.
- Parties Under $100: Use this guide to celebrate in style without breaking the bank!
- Party Budget Estimator: Download this guide to help budget your expenses.
- More Birthday Theme Ideas: Browse our list of over 130 themed party guides to find tips for your child’s next birthday! Each guide includes ideas for invitations, decorations, food, favors, games and more.