Everyone loves a carnival, so we hosted our very own in our backyard to celebrate our son's fourth birthday.
It is such a classic and enjoyable theme!!
We did need to stick to a budget so we started planning early: scavenging for items at thrift stores, dollar stores, and yard sales. We bargain shopped on Ebay, and Oriental Trading Co..We went to consignment shops, borrowed items, made many decorations ourselves, we searched the net for free printables and we also found ways to re-purpose items that we already owned.
It is amazing the things you can do with a little imagination and creativity! We couldn't afford hiring any professional entertainment, so I bought twisting balloons at the party store and sat in front of the computer for a few hours watching tuturials on balloon art and my husband perfected some juggling techniques. AKA: Clown Class!! Several weeks later I found a friend who was much talented than I with balloon art and she took over the job, leaving me free to host our guests and spend time with our son instead.
With friends volunteering their time only, our party included a clown, a balloon artist, AND a face painter! Yay, FREE!!!
As guests arrived at the front door "Ticket Booth" my nieces greeted them and handed out the "Carny Starter Kit" the kit included a black self-adhesive mustache, chewing gum, and a tattoo. We also added admission tickets and game tickets too!
Every game had it's own prize for each player to win, and at the end of the party, the children were also able to turn in their tickets at the prize table where they were able to choose from a wide variety of larger party favor prizes. We offered midway games, battery operated train rides, wooden pony rides and we set up a small bouncehouse. (another borrowed item) We also constructed a photo booth and placed a wardrobe chest nearby filled with fun costumes.This party really had it all!!
We served concession style food. Hot dogs, Corn dogs, Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Corn on the Cob, Individual serving chip bags, Popcorn, Dill Pickles, Peanuts and Watermelon on a Stick. We also offered a candy buffet and a separate dessert table with iced Animal Cookies,Cracker Jacks, Pop-tarts, Cotton Candy and Cake Pops and the other crowd favorite: Cupcakes!!
The children received an additional favor bag as they said their goodbyes that was joyfully customized with their name though no one was in a hurry to leave!
Not only was his party a magnanimous success, we got to be "The cool parents" at least for the day!!