Monday, March 28, 2011

Carnival Party

So, we had Carter's big birthday celebration.  It was tons of fun and a great party for everyone--the kids were busy and smiling.  Despite months of planning, however, there were two big events that affected the party.  I am sure I was the only one who really knows or cares about these things, but I have to share.

1.  My DSLR camera broke the day before the party.  My pictures of the party aren't as great as I would like, but we still were able to capture most of it.

2.  It rained all week in Southern California and it rained the night before the party.  After I dried off all the patio chairs and tables, I had to do all the set up and decor outside THAT morning and be ready for guests at 10:30.  We ran out of time and didn't get every decoration up, but we did most of it and it still looked great.  The weather was dry for the party, but it was really cold.  However, I was just happy it wasn't raining so we didn't have to put 65 people in our house!

Despite the two setbacks, the party was tons of fun.  We had a bouncehouse, our swingset, carnival games, face painting, a photo booth, a potato sack race, carnival snacks, lunch and cupcakes.  Each family left with smiles on their faces and sugar in their tummies (and in some cases, on their sticky hands and faces).

These were the invitations.  I posted a tutorial on how to make these here.

I always use my stairs as a gift area.  It adds color and fun to the entry and is a great place to store the gifts.  PLUS, it eventually added up and blocked straggling kids from wandering upstairs to our playroom.

This was the goodie bag table.  I had clear bags for almost everyone, which I stuffed with colored raffia, a clown nose and a "winner" ribbon.  Then, I had a sign telling them all to fill their bags with goodies from the bowls on the table--cotton candy, cookies, candy, lollipops and licorice.  I had animal cookie boxes for kids too young for candy and balls for the newborns.  Sorry the burlap is falling off the sides of the table in this picture.  I had to keep taping it back up and I took the pic without looking at that detail.

I used cotton candy from the dollar bin at target.  I opened each package and divided it into two ziploc bags.  I covered the "seal" part of the baggy with cardstock and dollar carnival cupcake holders I found at Michael's.  It was so cost effective and easy!

Cookies for the toddlers who were too young for candy. . .

M&M's, popcorn, peanuts and licorice were out as snacks.  I found the big Popcorn bowls at Party America.

Water and soda for the adults and Capri Suns for the kiddos.

Marshmallow "popcorn" cupcakes.  I got the cupcake sleeves from Oriental Trading Company, and I made the little toppers from scrapbooking paper.

I diluted yellow food coloring in water and sprinkled it on the mini marshmallows in a ziploc bag.  This gave it a lightly "buttered" look.  It also slightly melted the marshmallows and made them stick together slightly, but it still worked.

This is where my 2 year old camped out for most of the party.  He is now made up of 90% licorice.

I got Popcorn bags from Oriental Trading Company and borrowed my nephew's popcorn machine.  The hot popcorn was a nice touch since it was cold outside!

I posted about this banner earlier.  You can read about it here.

We have a bounce house we co-bought with two other families.  We all pass it around and share it when we need it.  It was a nice place for the kids to burn off some sugar.

The vertical picture banners were fun.  People enjoyed looking at the pictures of Carter over the past 5 years.  You can read a tutorial about these here.

We had little carnival "games" spread throughout the yard.  I had face painting, duck fishing, clown ball toss, knock over the cans,  three in a row ping pong toss and we held a potato sack race.  I didn't do tickets or prizes for the games, as they were more just for entertainment for the parents and kids.  Plus, it required fewer adults to "man" the area if it was just open for play at any time.

The swingset was a big hit too!

I made little signs for each game area.  I just used prescalloped cardstock squares and used carnival fonts off to print the names off the computer.  I also used the carnival striped scrapbooking paper.

We had carnival corndogs, fairground fruit salad, and carousel chips for lunch.  Yum!

Enjoying lunch.

I had a photo booth area over my fireplace just inside the house.  We had the camera on a tripod and a remote trigger to take pictures while people posed. 

We bought some "dress up" props from Oriental Trading Company for the photo booth area.

So cute!

There is the big birthday boy--five years old!

Dressing up for the pictures was completely optional.

Of course, we had a LARGE pot of coffee for the moms and dads because it was a very cold day. 

It was a fun day and a great party.  Happy birthday, Carter!

I linked this post to:

The Girl Creative
Keeping It Simple

Sumo Sweet Stuff
BWS tips button
Tip Junkie handmade projects

The Trendy Treehouse


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  1. What an amazing party!!! Loooks like way too much fun! :) It also looks like a ton of work, but I'm sure you thought it well worth the effort. I especially love your popcorn cupcakes! They look really yummy!

  2. WOW…that’s a whole lot of work for you Chiara, but I know it’s your gift and you did a beautiful job!!

  3. Such a great party! I love the cupcake display! I recently posted about our carnival party too if you wanted to come take a look! Great job!

  4. Awesome job!! I LOVE the cupcakes! And the vertical picture banners too, what a unique detail!
    May I feature this in my Soiree Day next Tuesday?

  5. OH WOW!!!! You did a great job on the party! I reeeeeeeeeally want some licorice now! :) I'm visiting from Today's Creative Blog and I love your party! Awesome! :)

  6. Oh my word, I'm such a schmuck!!! LOL! I was actually looking at this thinking, "I need to send this link to Chiara and I wonder if she posted pictures of her Carnival party yet??"!! I seriously need to start paying attention to what site I'm on!! You did a fabulous job!!

  7. WOW!!! I want you to help me with MY kiddos' bday parties!! Everything turned out fabulous. :) I wonder if Carter knows how lucky he is?!?!

  8. You are amazing, Chiara! What a great party!


  9. oh my goodness chiara! that was i love all those decorations! how fun! i love your backyard also, it looks like a park! :) you are so gifted!

  10. I just stumbled upon your site and LOVE it (I'm your newest follower)! This party was SO stinkin' cute! We're right in the midst of getting ready for a train birthday bash for my two little guys this weekend, so I'm loving looking at everyone's different birthday party posts. Love the vertical picture banners--if I get time, I'm so doing that! :) Thanks for sharing!

  11. Such an adorable party! I am wanting to throw a carnival themed birthday party for my daughter's birthday, and this has given me TONS of inspiration! Great job!

    P.S. I'm your newest follower! :0)

  12. I LOVE this! Its PERFECT for you to Link up at my Linky PAR-TAY,

    Whassup Wednesday!!!

    And I have a party button you can grab so your friends can come too:)



  13. So cute!!!! My daughters birthday is on April 9th. Love the cupcakes, I might try them:)

  14. Adorable! Love the invitations!

    I'm a new follower, I would love for you to stop by and check out some of my parties!

    Have a wonderful day,

  15. Chiara despite the set backs the party turned out awesome!! I hope you will link it up!

    -Kelsey :)

  16. Nicely done! And it didn't rain!!

  17. So glad the rain and all didn't keep ya from partying! What a fab party! So awesome, I have such aspirations someday:) Great job!!

  18. what an incredibly awesome party! Well done! I'm stopping by from TT&J weekend wrap-up.

  19. Chiara, your carnival theme was WONDERFUL! What a lucky little boy to have such a creative mama, willing to put so much work and heart into his birthday. I love it!

  20. Fun, fun, fun!! Looks like your little man had a great time! I love the vertical banner... what a cool idea! I'm in So. Cal too and yes, we have gotten a lot of rain lately!
    I'm your newest follower.
    Laurie :)

  21. Wow, that party looks like it was amazing! Thanks for sharing all the tips and tricks!

  22. Those lollipops look really good.


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