Monday, September 19, 2011

Carnival Time!

Ok, so maybe I'm a few months behind in posting this, but better late than never right? My kids birthdays are one month and one day apart so I have been throwing one joint party for them for the last few years. It was hard this year as they each wanted their own party so this'll probably be the last. I had to think long and hard for this one and finally came up with a carnival theme. They were letting me do one party so I figured I better make it worth their time.
For the invitations I used a template I found online (can't remember where, sorry!) and just filled out the inportant stuff. I needed about 80 of these so I had to find a DIY way to do these. I was able to fit about 8 per page and used cardstock so that they would be more durable.

I knew I wanted to have various games for the kids to play, so I chose a bean bag toss, a ball toss, and a pick-a-ducky game. David sprained his ankle really badly in May so my budget for the party was severely limited and I wound up making most of the games myself. I already had a bucket for the ducks, so I just bought rubber duckies at the Dollar Tree and colored the bottoms different colors for different prizes. For the ball toss, I used a package of plastic cups and a bag of small plastic balls, about the size of golf balls. I had some scrap wood on hand and had David cut one down to a rectangle for me. After I painted it white I just hot glued the cups to the board. I layed it flat at the end of a long table and had the kids stand at the other end to throw the balls.
The only game I have a picture of is the bean bag toss. I just happened to have a square board on hand, about 4'x4'. My dad cut out 5 holes for me, added a stand on the back, and painted it white. Once I got it I just painted a large star on it. You can tell that I am not meant to be an artist, lol!

For prizes, I did spend a bit of money, but I knew I had to have a lot of prizes or I would be in trouble! I wound up in the dollar aisle at Michaels and found quite a few things for the kids to color and make. Then I got a few party favors at the Dollar Tree, you know, stuff like noise makers and small toys. Pinata stuff really. That still wasn't enough, so I tried my hand at making play dough, which was super easy!! I think I just Goolgled play dough recipe and found so many options. I think I wound up making two large batches and that got me something like 20 bags of play dough. I tried to do bright colors and I used glitter in about half of it. I got absolutely no pictures of the whole prize/candy table and I am so mad at myself for that.

I decided to do a red/yellow/blue color theme for everything. I bought several 8x10 frames at the Dollar Treen (love that place!) and painted them all with a different design, then used them as my table signs. I used a circus font and my program and made signs for everything. One for the goody bag table, one for the food table, and one for the prize table. I then used card stock and, using the same color/font combo mde signs to tape to the games. Again this is the only pic I took.

I also made sucker stars. If ever I could really kick myself for not taking a picture! At least you can see them without the suckers in them. Just picture them with suckers stuck every which way in the tops. I used dum dums and blow pops, about 100 of them! These were on the candy table. I wound up buying about 18 bags of cotton candy, and split those up into something like 40 bags. I used plastic cups and filled them with smarties, jaw breakers, and strawberry candies.


I bought a bunch of brown paper sacks for kids to use for goody bags and to keep their prizes in. I even went so far as to buy stickers and markers so that they could decorate them. Then I realized that some of the prizes wouldn't fit in those bags, so I did some stash busting and made the goody bags instead. I think I made about 30 all together.

I used the brown paper sacks for popcorn instead. We popped about 10 bags of popcorn and split each one into two bags so that everyone could have a snack. We did simple hot dogs, hamburgers and chips for the food, which worked really well. Then there was the cake. Cake is the most important part of the whole party and I really wanted it to be awesome. I did tons of searching, trying to find a cool themed cake that I could do. I found a few hot dog cakes, a few hamburgers, and a few popcorn cakes. I settled on a popcorn cake and got to work. I made a red/blue/yellow cake. I just used a white cake mix, spilt it into three, colored each bowl, then poured it all together to bake. It came out really neat. I found a recipe online somewhere for marshmallow fondant and thought I would give that a try. I am by no means a cake decorator and wanted something reletively easy. While this was indeed easy, it was really hard to color. We must have added an entire bottle of red food coloring, kneaded for about an hour, and all we got was this pink color. Not the best but the kids absolutely loved it and it did taste great!

Then, the best for last. I wanted to do a photo booth for the party. I can't even tell you how much searching I did online for how to do this. I couldn't figure out a way to allow everyone to take their own pictures. I only have one camera and I wanted to have it on me at all times, so everyone just took their own. I would stop for a few minutes and snag a few kids. My sister-in-law is a great photographer so she would man it most of the time. I found some chalkboard stickers at Michaels on clearance and stocked up. I wound up sticking them to foam board and then cutting them out with my Xacto knife. After hot gluing posicle sticks to the backs I had about 20 signs for people to write on. I bought a few pairs of funny glasses, printed out some glasses and mustaches and lips, glued to sticks, and instantly had props. For the booth itself, I have my dad to thank. He works for a carpet cleaning/fire restoration business and once upon a time they did mold restoration. They would have to set up a little containment area to change into their special suits before going under the houses. Back then my husband worked for them and, since he is 6'4", they had to make it extra tall. It was a simple PVC frame, not exceptionally big, but just the right size for a photo booth. I bought a twin sized sheet at Walmart for $2 and a queen sized sheet at Value Village for $2, opened up the top hems, and threaded the top pipes through to make the sides of the booth. The kids and adults had lots of fun posing and being silly.

Me (in blue) and my SILs

Two of my nieces

Amelia and her best friend

This was by far the best party I've ever thrown and I am slightly bummed that we probably won't do one again. We all had so much fun and, while I have no pictures of all the things I made, I do have tons of pictures of everyone there, and they all have smiles in them.

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