The Big Top: Circus Party Ideas
Hurry, hurry, hurry ... step right up to the greatest party in town! Gather around for circus party ideas to create a fun and fabulous circus theme party. You'll be the most popular parent on the block. Here's how to put together circus themed invitations, games, decorations, activities, goody bags and more.
Circus Theme Party InvitationsMake your own invites by downloading an image of an admission ticket (look online for free printables; Ebay should also produce some great finds if you wish for somebody to print them for you).
Have "Admit One" printed across the top and the party information, including the date, time and location, listed below.
Add a teaspoon or so of multi-colored confetti inside the envelope so that when guests open their invites, they receive a festive surprise. You can also include circus theme stickers - think clowns, a strong man, flying trapeze artists, lions, a lion tamer and elephants.
Creating a Carnival Atmosphere: Circus Party DecorationsYou'll want to decorate the party area so guests feel they're underneath the Big Top and right in the middle of the excitement. Here are some of our favorite elements for circus party decorations: Balloons and more balloons.
Circus Party Ideas for a Grand Entrance. At the front door, weight two plastic or cardboard popcorn containers with sand or small rocks and tie balloons to each. Set one on either side of the doorway for guests to walk between as they enter. Hang a festive banner. Make (or purchase) a banner with "It's (X)'s birthday and the greatest show in on earth!" in large lettering. Hang the banner above the party area or above your front door.
Set up a circus tent. Hang sheets around the party foods table; part curtain-style and tie back to make a "big top" tent. Another great idea is to hang and tie back multiple sheets, secured to one another with safety pins, all around the party area so guests can climb on in and create their own fun using the ideas below.
It's Showtime! Activities for Your Circus Themed Party
Hire a clown (or be one). Clowns and magicians are a hit at any child's party, but are a particularly good fit for a circus theme party. Make sure you get references before hiring an entertainer, and shop around for a great rate.
If you can't find a clown (or want to save a few dollars), dress up yourself, or ask a favorite uncle or cousin to do the honors. (On a personal note, make sure it's a circus clown, not a "hobo" clown - a party we went to had the latter, with sad makeup and a slightly scary expression that didn't work well with preschoolers. Oops!)
Have a face-painting station. Be sure to buy non-toxic, washable paints. Look for ideas on the internet; a few balloons, bold silver or gold stars and clown or tiger faces are perfect.
Have kids jump through a "ring of fire." Tape red, orange and yellow streamers all around the perimeter of a hula hoop. Set the hoop fairly close to the ground; you can hold it if you wish. Make sure there's something soft underneath both in front of and behind the hoop in case guests should take a tumble. Line up the guests and let them take turns trying to jump through the hoop. (If the kids are younger, around 2 or 3, they may be more interested in having stuffed tigers jump through smaller toy hoops.)
Play "The Ringmaster Says." You'll play this exactly like "Simon Says." Have on person be the Ringmaster and call out different moves, saying "The Ringmaster says..." before each one. Guests then copy the Ringmaster's movements. When the Ringmaster says "Do (X)" without saying "The Ringmaster says," and a guest follows the movement anyway, that guest is out. Give the grand winner a prize â€“ candy or a small toy (perhaps a stuffed circus animal like a lion, tiger, elephant or monkey; Beanie Babies are perfect for this).
Refreshments: Hurry, Hurry, Hurry to the Party Table!
If you really want to make a splash, hire a cotton candy machine from your local party outlet. These are fun, can be quite reasonably priced and are a tasty, easy treat.
Also try out a circus-style recipe or two. Here's one we love:
Clown Face Sundaes
- vanilla,chocolate, peach or strawberry ice cream
- gum drops
- small, round candies such as M&Ms, Skittles, mini Reece's Peanut Butter Cups or chocolate chips
- red licorice
- pointed ice cream cones
- wax paper
- a cookie sheet or other flat, mobile surface
- an ice cream scoop
Soften the ice cream just slightly (be careful, you don't want the heads to melt out of shape before you're done with the decorating). Line the cookie sheet with wax paper. Using an ice cream scoop, place rounded ice cream mounds on top of the wax paper.
Create a clown face on the front of each scoop by pushing the rounded candies slightly in for the eyes and half a gum drop for the nose and bending the licorice in an upturned fashion for the mouth.
Put the completed cookie sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes to re-harden the ice cream completely and so that the candies will set into the face. Take the cookie sheet back out and set cones firmly and at a slight angle on top of each to make the clown "hats." Place in freezer again until ready to serve.
Circus Party Ideas: Take-Home Treats
Article by Chris Molnar,
editor of Theme a party
See you under the big top!
Written by Chris Molnar, who enjoys his time clowning around with his two preschoolers. He is a blogger and editor of Themeaparty.com, which features a variety of kids birthday party themes, entertaining tips and party recipes. He's currently setting up an Elmo birthday theme for his youngest, who turns two in four days (yikes!)
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