Whether planning a carnival-themed birthday celebration for an adult or child, you can create a bizarre experience for everyone at your "Over-the-Big-Top" event. From the invitations to the carnival booth games, recreate the aura of traveling carnivals for your party guests. Plan the event weeks ahead so you have time to prepare a memorable event everyone will be talking about for months to come.
For an easy invitation idea, purchase carnival-themed invitations and attach a box of animal crackers to each invitation before you hand-deliver to the party guests. Other invitation ideas include writing the party details on a clown mask or on a balloon. Inflate the balloon to write the invite, then deflate it before mailing; guests will have to blow up the balloons to read the event details. Another idea is to print admission-style tickets on the computer; print one per guest and ask them to bring the tickets to the party for admission to the carnival.
If budget allows, rent a large tent. Set up several booths for games and activities under the tent. Other ideas include hanging large sheets and blankets from clotheslines and trees as dividers for booths. Create a ticket booth and give each party guest tickets to use for the games and activity booths. Tickets are available online and at most party supply stores. Make balloon centerpieces using popcorn boxes and large circus toys. Decorate the party area in bright-colored balloons, streamers and tableware. Clown decorations will also work for a carnival-themed party.
Ask adults or older teens to help run a few activity booths for the guests. Face painting and a temporary tattoo booth is a must for any carnival party. Guests can trade in a few tickets to have their faces painted and get temporary tattoos. Other booth ideas include balloon animals, hairspray coloring, candy apples and a dunking booth, which you can rent or borrow. Make the candy apples fresh so the guests can add nuts and sprinkles to their apples. Purchase a variety of colored hair spray at your local beauty supply store, as well as colored hair extensions for guests to put in their hair.
Plan a variety of lucky games, such as a lucky duck pond or lucky lollipops. Mark stars on the bottom of rubber ducks and put them in a plastic pool with water. If a guest draws a duck with a star, she wins a prize. Mark dots on the end of lollipop sticks before sticking them into holes in a cardboard box. If a guest draws a lollipop with a marked stick, she wins a prize. Other game booth ideas include basketball shooting, balloon darts and ring toss.
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