Birthday Carnival Party

We ended up throwing FOUR birthday parties for our two kids last year (two each) and before they were even over we vowed this year there would be just one. No matter what. ONE PARTY.

Of course, since one party sounds so much easier than four we went a little crazy and decided to have a carnival in our backyard. We didn’t go so nuts as to have a petting zoo, but Thomas did build carnival games. I went my usual amount of crazy with decor and coordinating plates/serving dishes and we loved how it turned out.

see url We had seven stations: bean bag toss, tin can throw, sidewalk chalk/hopscotch, hula hoops, bubbles, squirt gun race, and temporary tattoos.


One of the favorite attractions (mine, at least!) was candy row. I bought throwback candy (necco wafers, whistle candy, peanut chews, peppermint lozenges, jawbreakers, peanut butter bars, and bug bubblegum) from the bulk candy bins at the grocery store.

see All of the signs, including the labels on the candy jars, were printed on newspaper in Tightrope font. I got the newspaper end rolls from the local newspaper office after reading this post about a year ago. We’ve used them for SO many things. Thomas cut out cardboard for each sign, which I wrapped in cellophane. The newspaper was glued on with glue sticks.

The tables I also wrapped in cellophane and decorated with paper pinwheels made from this tutorial.


Thomas built the squirt gun race (we intended to cover the sawhorse with wrapping paper, but time got away from us!). As you can see from the middle pic, Margaret discovered it was easier if you two-hand it and get really close.

The main attraction ended up being the kids’ big (huge) gift: a new playset.


I made labels for the food with clothespins after not being able to find anything exactly like I wanted. (I very nearly bought these mini chalkboard clips, which I LOVE but wouldn’t have clipped on to the food dishes.)

Not pictured: hot dogs and 50 hamburgers Thomas mixed and shaped by hand.

Carnival Party

My mom gave me some train cupcake molds last year and I decided to go nuts with the cake and create a train pulling up to a carnival tent. We had a lot of fun decorating it, even though you can easily tell we’re not pros.


Food & decorations:

Napkins, big top bunting, temporary tattoos & pennant banner from Oriental Trading.

Red & blue serving dishes, tablecloths/cellophane, red white and blue table edging, & cotton candy from The Dollar Tree.

Water jugs and paper hot dog baskets (not pictured) from Target.



Tin can toss & squirt gun race made by Thomas.

Bean bag toss: borrowed

Squirt guns, hula hoops, sidewalk chalk & bubbles from The Dollar Tree


  1. Wow. Way to go.

  2. I hope Paul was more impressed than that last picture would suggest. 😉 It looks awesome!

    • We couldn’t get one picture of him smiling with the cake! I think he was overwhelmed. He enjoyed the rest of the party, though!

  3. Everything’s so cute, but my favorite is the cake (and not just because I love cake).

    • Aww, thank you! It was our favorite thing, too, and we just hoped it didn’t look too DIY.

  4. What a great theme for a birthday party. Everything looks INCREDIBLE.