Carnival Party

Backyard Carnival 1yr - Clown Bean Bag




Amy in Poplar Bluff, MO  USA


June 2002


Special Mention

Backyard Carnival  Our fifth child, Scott was turning one!  And what an event!!  I  wanted something very special as he was my first child born in the  summer when you can have REALLY cool outdoor parties!!    I opted for a backyard carnival.  I got many ideas from this very  site, and thank the contributors!!   

First of all, the planning.  We started the planning process in  April. The party was this past Saturday, June 8th. We ended up  not sending out invitations, but just calling those we invited.  The planning is a big part of the fun for me.  Writing down every  idea and reviewing it is the way to go.  

The games we included were:  Bowling- empty 2 liter soda  bottles with a little water to help them stabilize.  We used a  basketball to bowl with, and just sat it up on a piece of scrap  lumber. 

Game 2- Make a shot, win a prize!!  The boys already  had an adjustable basketball goal so we used that with a small,  soft plastic ball. 

Game 3- Throw the bean bag through the clown's mouth!  I didn't have bean bags so we used a small ball.  The  clown head I made out of a piece of cardboard, just drew a clown  face, decorated it with markers,  glued cotton balls on for hair and  used a blow pen (borrowed from my daughter)  to make color on his  "hair." We cut out his mouth for them to aim at.  We had a clown  Halloween costume that we stuffed with empty plastic bags from  the grocery store and then stapled "clowny"  to the head.  We  then propped up two scrap 2x4's and stapled "clowny" to them,  one on each side. 

We also had a face painting booth that was  manned by my eldest daughter, Lydia, who is 12.  We got the  recipe off of the internet for homemade face paint.(water,  cornstarch, food coloring and cold cream-real simple!) 

The other  booth was operated by daughter number two, Tori, age 9.  She had  a "hair salon."  We bought colored hair spray, found in the toy  dept. for $1.50 per can.  We used blue, green, and pink. 

The  "booths" were fun to make.  I got empty appliance boxes at a local  furniture store(FREE) and painted them white with red stripes.  (We  already had the white paint, and we found the red on clearance for  $4.50!)  We then cut out windows and split the box down the  back.  This way the back was open so there was room to work.  We put two chairs and a little table behind the "booth" for her to  work from.   We stapled other scrap cardboard on the top to create  a roof. 

One side of our yard is on the street side so to add to the carnival flavor we bought ten yards of white fabric (Wal-Mart has  a whole section of dollar a yard fabric!)  and one yard of red.  The  white we put over the fence and used clothes pins to attach it, top  to bottom. (clothespins on the outside of fence) the red fabric I cut  into strips to use as stripes and then using the same clothespins,  added them to the fence!  We rented a helium tank ($19.99 for  about 120 15inch balloons) so we put bunches of five balloons on  each fence post. 

For my prize signs, I simply used pieces of  cardboard and a box of markers!!! I had one with sunglasses for  prizes (pkg. of 10, $1.97) I made my sign and then cut slits for  the glasses- looked like a real sunglass display!  I also had candy  filled watches for another prized display(8 per pkg. for $1.97!) I  colored my sign and then taped the watches on.  The other prize  sign was another cardboard leftover colored with markers.  I stuck  small nails in it and hung gold medal necklaces from it. (Pkg. of 24  real cute necklaces- red, white, and blue ribbon with plastic gold  medal!!!  $3.50 for the bag!) 

For the kids prize bags to collect all  of their goodies in, I took brown lunch sacks that I already had and  wrote each child's name at the top. Now for the tricky part- my  husband is a graphic designer, so that came in handy here- we  scanned in a picture of Scott, and a picture of balloons, and had a  poem that read-  This bag is for your prizes, I'm sure you'll win a  lot.  Thanks for coming to my party!  With love, Scott!  My  husband arranged it in an attractive way, printed out enough  copies for my bags, and I just used a spray adhesive and attached  them!  (I think that glue would make the picture gloppy, so that's  why we chose the spray.)   

Next, lets talk about the food!  My husband grilled the hot dogs,  we opened big bags of chips and just put them on the food table  (buffet style), all the condiments for the hot dogs, we borrowed a  popcorn popper from my husbands employer(real carnival style  popcorn- smells yummy!) and we purchased bags of cotton candy  from our local skating rink. ($1.25 per bag)  We made up a lot of  lemonade and had a cooler of ice right below it. 

For the cake and  ice cream-  I made cupcakes and bought a big bucket of vanilla ice  cream.  We bought little plastic cups and scooped the ice cream in  those ahead of time so we could just grab it from the freezer,  throw it on a plate with a cupcake, and they are good to go!  I  made the kids each a name place card that I taped to the kid's table  (which we borrowed from our church- two tables for the grown ups  and little kid size tables for the little ones.  Chairs, too.  Another  FREEBIE- borrow when you can!)  I made the name cards out of- get  this- the side panel of empty cereal boxes. I used the front and  back of the boxes for additional decorative signs.  They are great  to color on with markers, and look wonderful!  Of course we  bought red and white streamers to use in different places in the  yard. 

OH, yeah, we also had "pony rides" on our big bouncy  horse!  I thought it might be a little hokey, but the kids loved it!   We also added a small ziplock baggies of misc. candy to their  prize bags.  We had an empty peanut butter jar filled with jelly  beans for a "Guess how many, and win!" prize.    As I am sure you have noticed, I was trying to do this on a very  small budget!!!  My wonderful older children were fabulous  helpers, and my husband was an absolute peach!  He hates the  heat of summer, but worked like a dog to please his "birthday party  crazy" wife!  This party didn't cost much as far as money goes.  It  did take time to put together, but it was so much fun that it can't  really count as work!!! ANYBODY could do this and have a blast!

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