Carnival Birthday Party!

A party that’s fun and over the top – the big top, that is. Melissa, of Buckets of Grace, threw this bash for her son Ethan’s fourth birthday.

Melissa began planning almost a year in advance, using online resources for much of her DIY extravaganza. “The photo booth really set the tone for the party – fun, whimsical and silly,” Meliisa says. “The kids had a blast dressing up for the camera and hamming it up.” Props for posing, and carnival party printables from Anders Ruff and from Dimple Prints catapult the photo booth to dizzying heights of adorable.

Tying the red/blue color scheme into the dessert table, Melissa used matching tablecloths she sourced from Target ($5! Score!) for the background. The tie-backs for the linens are from the Dimple Prints collection. Treats include a variety of novelty sweets, cotton candy, sugar cookies, yogurt covered pretzels, and cupcakes.

“The centerpiece of the table was, of course, the beautiful cake from The Tasteful Cake, but also, my favorite frame from Ikea, that I spray painted light blue.  I removed the glass, wrapped the cardboard backing with red and white polka dots, and then attached with a hot glue gun a cardboard 'E',"Melissa says.

Whirling pinwheels mark each carnival game: “I used the invitation template from the Dimple Prints printable package and made signs for each game, hot glued the signs to the sticks, and added red pom poms to keep with my subtle ‘clown nose’ theme.  They worked perfect!” Melissa says.

Anders Ruff designed the labels for the tin can toss; Melissa printed them on a sticker sheet and cut them to size. The biggest draw? An inflatable bounce house. “All of the kids – even some big ones – had a great time in the bounce house.  If you are debating having one for your little one's party, I highly recommend it.”

A carnival just isn't a carnival without prizes. Old-fashioned bubble gum dispensers, bubbles, animal crackers, and clown noses were among the big ticket items winners could choose from.

“Ethan's favorite food is chips and salsa – I know, pretty normal for a four year old, right?” Melissa says. “I wanted to incorporate his favorites into the menu.  I thought that a build-your-own carnival nacho bar would be a great way to do that.”

Paper fans in red and white, from a Party City 4th of July décor kit, make for a pretty background. Centerpieces are bedecked with colorful pennants, ticket stubs, lollipops, clown noses, and pinwheels. “I really wanted to have a party that celebrated Ethan and his sweet, kind, warm heart,” says mom, Melissa. “And let me tell you, it was! When he looked at me with his dimpled grin and gave me the thumbs up, I knew I did good.”

See more details at Buckets of Grace, or learn how Melissa turned an old refrigerator box into an a super cute old-timey ticket booth!