Everyone loves a good carnival, so there are few themes that are better for a birthday party than a backyard carnival. Carnival parties are especially good for children's birthdays because there are plenty of ideas for free games, prizes and food associated with a carnival. While there may seem to be many details to take care of for a carnival birthday party, some of the best ideas are free.
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Carnival theme parties are best held outdoors, which makes them perfect for spring or summer birthdays. If your backyard is not large enough for the event, consider using a local park for the celebration. In the event of inclement weather, you can move the carnival indoors to a basement or another large, open space in your home.
The most important decorations for a carnival-themed birthday party are the activity booths because they give the feel of an authentic carnival. String up large, colourful bed sheets to serve as the walls of the booths, and use poster board to create brightly coloured signs for each activity. Set up a brightly coloured umbrella over the food tables to designate that area. If you have balloons and streamers around the house, they can add a festive touch as well.
The appeal of a carnival birthday party is the activities, which makes guests feel as if they are at a real carnival. For a truly authentic feel, consider supplying guests with tickets that can be used to "pay" for each game or reward guests with tickets after they win at a booth. Tickets can be made from construction paper or cardboard that you may have around the house. Even the most basic games can be fun, so consider having booths for ring toss; knocking down tin cans with bean bags or baseballs, whatever you have around the house; basketball shooting; guessing the number of pieces of candy in a jar; and tossing ping-pong balls into fish bowls. Be creative and you may come up with even more ideas. In addition to games, consider having a booth for face painting or balloon animals.
For a carnival birthday party menu, think about typical carnival food. No carnival is complete without popcorn, which most people have in their kitchen already. A homemade cake is a must-have as well. For drinks, lemonade and iced tea are easy and cheap to make, and soft drinks are good choices if you have them around the house.
Entertainment is not necessary for a carnival birthday because the games and activities will keep guests busy, but if any friends or family know a few magic tricks, children may be entertained by a brief show. You can also dress up like a fortune teller and give guests a glimpse into their future for fun. Dressing up like a clown is another option, particularly if you know how to juggle or make balloon animals.
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