Carnival Party

Carnival Party 5yr - Midway Balloon Arches




Tonia in Sacramento, CA USA


October 2006


Special Mention

For my daughter, Gabriella's, 5th birthday we had a CARNIVAL themed party.  After months of planning and this awesome web site we had our best party ever and it was so reasonable because I found stuff at garage sales and thrift stores.  Before you start planning make a list of different Carnival Games (Google Carnival games for ideas), and as you go to garage sales and thrift stores you may find things that work for one of the games on your list.   For the

INVITATION I made it look like a bag of popcorn with a carnival ticket.  I purchased some red and white striped scrapbooking paper and folded it in half.  Then I cut the sides so the bottom was smaller than the top.  Then I glued the sides together, trimmed the top into a wave pattern and glued a popcorn sign to the front.  I found a graphics picture of popcorn and copied that onto yellow cardstock and glued it onto the top of the invitation.  Behind the popcorn and inside the striped paper was a pocket that I stuffed a carnival ticket with the party information on it. (I made the ticket using Microsoft Word and used the AutoShapes to insert the ticket shape from the Basic Shapes selection)  I made it look like a real ticket by adding a number down the side (my daughters birth date and age), putting Admit One across the top, and cutting the end with scrapbooking scissors to look like it had been ripped-off. 

INVITATION READ: Step right up and join the fun. Gabriella's Carnival Party will be the best one!  Games, prizes, face painting and more, Cotton candy, popcorn, and treats galore. The festivities can't start until you arrive, so we'll see you Sept. 10th from two  five. We need to know if you are coming so we can plan, so give us a call as soon as you can. Phone # The Nichols Fairgrounds and our address. 

DECORATIONS: I picked up a refrigerator box and washing machine box at my local appliance store.  Then I picked up some mistake paint for $5 a gallon at Home Depot.  (I got very lucky and found a hot pink and lime green so those were the party colors).  I painted green and pink stripes on the refrigerator box and cut out a door and a window to make a ticket booth (www.familyfun.com).  Then I made hot pink letters and wrote Tickets above the window.  Next I made a popcorn box out of the washing machine box.  I found 2 red and white striped shower curtains at the Dollar Tree and I covered the box with them.  The day of the party I filled the box with boxes and other stuff to fill up space and then I tied yellow and white balloons together and stacked them on top to look like popcorn.  I added a popcorn sign to each side and we had a great decoration and photo opportunity.  I also painted a clown in front of a Circus Tent on a large piece of cardboard.  My husband cutout the face with the jig saw and we had a photo opportunity for the kids. 

After the games we turned the ticket booth around and then it became a photo booth.  Above the door I had a Photo Booth sign and each family piled in and I took family photos through the ticket window.  I printed them out like a strip of photos and mailed them out with the thank you cards.  For the midway we had 5 games on each side for a total of 10 games.  We made the booths out of rebar, PVC pipes (we already had these) and 2 rolls of table clothes for $9.99 each from Wishing Well, (hot pink & lime green to go with the color scheme).  We hammered the rebar into the ground, slid the PVC pipes over the rebar and made the walls out of the table clothes.  Each booth was about 6 feet wide and 6 feet deep and the walls only went up as high as the table cloth is wide.  This made it easy for the adult workers to look around and see the other booths and games.

On each end of the midway we had balloon arches.  To make the balloon arches my husband hammered rebar into the ground on each side of the entry then he slid two 10 feet sections of 1 PVC electrical conduit hooked together over the rebar and bent it and slid it over the other rebar to form the arch. We did this on each end and then we twisted the lime green and hot pink balloons together and around the conduit.  This was a time consuming task but it added so much to the midway look.  For directions visit: http://www.birthdayexpress.com/bexpress/planning/balloona rch.asp .

ACTIVITIES: As the children arrived they each got a balloon animal and had their face painted.  I had a master sheet with pictures they could choose from and I bought the face paints at Wal-Mart. (Depending on the time of the year these may be hard to find, so you may have to purchase online).  My husband did the balloon animals; we purchased the balloon animal kit from Oriental Trading Company. After everyone had arrived my daughter and her grandma went to the ticket booth and the guests stood in line to get their tickets (purchased at Oriental Trading Company).  We gave each child 20 tickets, enough to play each game twice or their favorites more than once, and a hot pink or lime green goodie bag.  I also bought poster boards from Wal-Mart to make signs for each game. 

GAMES:  Each game had a big bowl of prizes that I purchased from Oriental Trading Company. Bottle Toss:  I purchased milk bottles and rubber balls from Oriental Trading Company.  Goal: knock the bottles down.  I also had empty soup cans stacked for the younger kids as the milk bottles were heavy.  Ring Toss:  I found a ring toss game at the Dollar Tree for $1 and a friend lent me theirs.  Fishing Hole:  Using a piece of plywood and a fish shower curtain from the Dollar Tree ($1) we made a wall for the fishing booth. My daughter has a toy fishing pole and we hooked a clothes pin to the end.  I used fish toys for the goodies for this booth.  Ping Pong Toss:  I had 10 floating candle bowls from Oriental Trading Company from another party, so I filled these with water and I bought ping pong balls from OTC.  Goal: toss ping pong balls into bowls of water.  Basketball Shoot-out:  Using our Little Tykes Basket ball hoop and a larger one we borrowed from a friend we made this booth.  Goal:  Make a basket. 

Milk Bottle Toss:  Using the rubber balls we got from OTC and a big Milk Jug I got at a garage sale for $4 we made this booth.  Goal:  Toss the balls into the milk jug.  Balloon Darts:  We purchased 4 balloons form OTC and stapled a bunch onto a couple of boards.  I purchased a pack of darts at Wal-Mart and with lots of supervision the kids popped the balloons.  As one board emptied out we put up the next board.  Shoot Out:  Using 2 squirt guns, empty wine bottles filled with water for weight and ping pong balls we made this game.  Goal:  Shoot the ping pong ball off the top of the bottle.  You could make it a race to see who can shoot their ball off first.  Miniature Golf:  My father-in-law found a pop-up-tent golf game at an auction and I found a plastic game with a ramp and holes at a thrift store.  I spray painted the plastic one with green plastic spray paint and we had two golf games.  I found a kid's putter at a garage sale for $2 and we borrowed an adult putter.  Goal:  Make a hole in one.  Bean Bag Toss:  We found the bean bag toss game through OTC.  Bounce House:  We also set up a bounce house for the children to enjoy. 

FOOD:  I used the tiki hut bar and table that we had from another party to make a concession stand.  I made a menu out of poster board and scrapbooking stickers and I served carnival food: hot dogs, nachos and chips.  My daughter made the food tickets before the party and so everyone turned in a food ticket to purchase their food.  CAKE:  My daughter wanted a 3 tiered cake like she'd seen on TV and so I frosted all 3 tiers with hot pink butter crème frosting and then piped lime green stripes onto each tier (like a circus tent).  Then we added balloons and clown toppers to each tier and candles to the top. 

ADDITIONAL SNACKS:  As people were walking around we served popcorn in popcorn bags that I found through OTC.  We filled the bags with popcorn and set them in a soda box from Costco, one that holds four 6-packs and has sides, and I'd painted it hot pink.  Then we went around yelling, Popcorn, Get your Popcorn here.  And as the children were leaving we handed out individual bags of cotton candy that I purchased at Smart & Final (12 1oz bags for $4.99).  There are places you can buy it online and have it shipped to you but this was a lot more reasonable and it tasted great.   The whole party was so much fun that I think we will be doing it again this Spring for a family reunion!

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