Come clown around with this carnival theme party that’s three rings of fun! We’ll give you ideas for decorations and invitations, as well as some carnival games, activities, and menu planning suggestions. Step right up!
Carnival Theme Party Invitation Ideas
Ticket Invitations — Create a carnival ticket invitation by cutting a basic rectangle out of colored cardstock. Then cut the corners off with crescent-shaped cuts to look like a ticket. Across the top write, “ADMIT ONE to ________’s Carnival Party.” Click on this link to find free printable carnival tickets. For extra fun you could have your guests present their tickets as they arrive at the party to receive a special prize.
Clown Hat Invitations — To make this invitation, cut a triangle out of brightly colored cardstock or posterboard (yellow works well). At the top, glue a bright pom pom. At the bottom, glue a fun piece of ribbon or contrasting ricrac. In the middle, write out the content of your invitation. You might say something like “Come Clown Around With Us At _________’s Birthday Party.” If there is room, stick small colorful sticker dots around your wording to make a bright clown’s hat!
Big Top Invitations — Cut a piece of red paper and a piece of white paper to look like the outline of a circus tent. Cut away the inside of the red paper to look like the open curtains of the tent. Glue the red paper on top of the white, and write your party information on the white inside of the party tent. On this invitation you might write something like, “Step Right Up for the Greatest Carnival Party of All Time.” For an extra touch, make a small yellow flag for the top of your tent.
**General Invitation Tips** — If you choose to make your own invitations, don’t forget to include the date, location, and time of your party. It is also helpful to put the host’s name, RSVP by date, and either your phone number or email.
Here are some carnival theme party invitations that we love:
Circus Show Invitations
Elephant Circus Invitations
Circus Tent Invitations
Carnival Party Decorations
Carnival theme party decorations should be all about bright primary colors and lots of whimsical touches. Here are some ideas to help inspire you:
Make a Crepe Paper Carnival Tent — To make a carnival tent over your table, connect different colored crepe streamers from the center of your ceiling to the walls (about a fourth of the way down from the ceiling) to make it look like the top of a circus tent. You might choose to hang streamers in loops from the ceilings, or in the doorways between rooms to continue the circus feel throughout the house.
Balloon Place Setters — A fun way to designate seats at the table is to write each child’s name on a different colored helium balloon and tie one to each of the chairs at the table.
Carnival Games Party Supplies
Carnival Decorating Kit
Make a Carnival Photo Booth — Hang a large piece of polka dotted fabric on one wall and over at the top write, “Photo Booth”. Have your guests wear clown noses or other clown accessories and take their pictures in front of the backdrop. These make great mementos to send in your thank you notes.
Candy and Goodies — Decorating with candy is a colorful way to make your carnival theme party feel authentic. Fill a large glass jar with jelly beans for both a decoration and a fun activity where the guests try to guess the number of beans in the jar. Use popcorn boxes filled with giant swirly lollipops , animal crackers cotton candy and other favors at your table as place setters. Set out a candy bar with bowls of different colored treats like those you might find at a real carnival.
Carnival Party Games and Activities
Musical Clown Noses – Have the children sit in a circle. Choose one child to be “it”. Hand each child but one a foam clown nose. Have the child who is “it” play music while facing away from the circle. As the music plays, the children must pass their noses around the circle. When the music stops, whoever is left without a nose is out. Remove one nose from the game and start again, until there is only one child left. Then that child can become “it” and play the music for the next round. At the end of the game give each child a clown nose to wear or put in their goody bag.
Burning Rings of Fire – Set up activity hoops (or other targets such as laundry baskets or buckets), and give each target a different point value depending on its level of difficulty. Have the children take turns each tossing 3 beanbag animals to try and get the highest score possible.
Balloon Squish Relay —Divide the children into two even teams. The object of this game is to have the children run a relay while having a balloon squished between their leg and a partner’s leg. If the balloon drops, they must stop and reset it. You can make this as easy or as challenging as you wish. A simple race would be to have the teams go from one end of the hall and back. You could make it more challenging by putting obstacles for them to step over, things to pick up along the way, or even having them go up and down the steps. Now that requires teamwork!
Multi-Block Relay Race – Wrap about 4 to 6 boxes with fun wrapping paper (shoe box size and smaller). Put them in a stack. Have children line up and try to pick up the stack of boxes and race to a designated place and back to their team without dropping any boxes. If the boxes drop, they must stop and restack them. You can either time the children to see how fast they can each complete this race, divide the children into two teams for a traditional relay race (each team needs its own stack of boxes), or set up two teams facing each other and have the children take turns carrying the stack to the team on the other side for a game where everyone wins.
Clown Makeup Area And Tattoo Parlor – Set up and area where the kids can either decorate their own face, or you can have an adult volunteer make up all your little clowns. Then have them move over to the photo booth for some fun snapshots!
Do you have any special memories of particular carnival party games? Chances are that with a little imagination they can be replicated in your home!
Carnival Theme Party Menu Ideas
After all of the activity of game time, your guests will probably be ready for some refreshments. For a carnival party theme, you can serve anything that you might find at a circus or fair, such as:
- Corn dogs, burgers, french fries, and corn on the cob
- Soft Pretzels
- Peanut butter and jelly Sandwiches cut into animal shapes with cookie cutters
- Liven up your drinks by putting a few drops of food coloring into your ice tray for colored ice cubes.
- For dessert, you can make ice cream clowns by putting a single scoop on a plate (or a large cookie base). Then top with an ice cream cone hat. Decorate your clown with frosting and small candies.
Carnival Theme Party Favor Ideas
Inflatable Circus Lion
If you enjoyed these carnival theme party ideas, you might also enjoy these parties: