Circus Carnival Themed Birthday Party

Circus Carnival Themed Birthday Party

Our children love having birthday parties at home! We try to make each one special and personalised, and planned carefully in advance it can be much cheaper to do a party at home than hire somewhere or get someone else to run it for you. As ever, I am trying to be more environmentally friendly so I am trying to find ways of creating fab celebration events without creating a load of extra plastic waste.

Did you know you can now buy biodegradable balloons? Remember to tie with natural string

This week I have been putting together some Circus Carnival Themed Birthday Party ideas for my daughter’s 5th birthday as we have both has been inspired by taking part in some circus skills and crafts with performers from Mr Montgomery’s Circus Spectacular. I am not amazing at preparing intricate little details, I want food that is easy to make, games that are easy to organise and crafts that are easy to resource! I’ve come up with these ideas to ensure we have some good old fashioned party fun with a jubilant circus carnival theme and thought I’d share them with you in this post. PS. we also decided tickets to Mr Montgomery’s Circus Spectacular would make a great birthday present too!

Mr Montgomery’s Circus Spectacular is live at Yeadon Town Hall, Yorkshire (near Leeds Bradford Airport) from 27th August – 1st September. Expect mesmerising tricks, dazzling dancers and Yeadon Town Hall transformed into a glitzy circus ring as Mr Montgomery introduces you to a world of mystique and circus magic. This fun family friendly show is perfect for all ages and, with family tickets just £32, there’s entertainment for everyone at a great price.



  • Ticket to the party – Vistaprint have quite a few designs but if you want something a little more affordable create your own and print on photopaper. I’ve attached the design I’ve created for my daughter’s invitation just under this point. You might think it’s rubbish but that’s ok, you can make your own. is a good place to start for royalty free images.


  • Red and white striped table cloths, paper plates or hot dog trays and napkins. The red and white colours represent the Big Top. I tend to avoid plastic cutlery because I think its a waste of time, money and plastic – kids eat with their fingers at parties!
  • Multicoloured ballons
  • Multicoloured bunting
Remember to keep bunting to reuse again and again.
You could also make your own bunting out of cotton!

Activity and Craft Ideas

  • Photo booth with Big Top background, lion tamer’s flaming hoop, pretend barbell, clown wig, red nose, cone hat, big glasses, etc.
  • Facepainting – best to get a few adults on standby for this as facepainting tends to be very popular with kids. Make it quicker and less messy by getting some Little Brian Face Paint Sticks.
  • Pin the tail on the elephant – exactly the same as pin the tail on the donkey but with an elephant instead.
  • Balloon shaped piñata made of paper mache. This is super-easy to make yourself with either a flour/water or pva/water mix and newspaper. Tip: paint with acrylic paint if you used pva.
  • Circus bingo game – just Google the phrase and loads will come up. This is good to calm down the mood before food.
  • Guess the sweets in the jar – a glass jar filled with any sort of sweets but remember to count them as you put them in! The nearest guess wins the jar. A Douwe Egberts coffee jar makes a good jar to put the sweets in as it is a good size without being too big and it is air tight.
  • Tin Can Ally – traditional game that you can make yourself by covering empty food cans in colourful paper and throwing tennis balls or bean bags at it. Have an adult to oversee it as it will avoid arguments and the tin cans may be sharp.
  • Hula Hooping – stick on some music and see who can hula hoop for the longest, who can do the fanciest hooping or just have a go at learning to do it. If you are not sure then look for video tutorials on You Tube for tips in advance.
  • Feed the Elephants race! This is cute with real peanuts in shells but unless you can be certain that everyone attending is not allergic to nuts it’s probably safer to play this game with a set of art and craft pompoms. Set the children into teams to race from one end of the hall/garden to the other, pick up a peanut/pompom using two spoons, race back and put it in their team’s collection pot. If you can make this pot a paper cup in front of a cartoon picture of an elephant, even better!
  • Party games and dancing competitions – pass the parcel, musical statues, etc, all go down really well at a children’s party. I saw a DJ do the nicest thing when children were out: he told them they were his first/next winner and gave them a sweet. It avoided so many tears. Remember to play The Greatest Showman for these!
  • Spinning plates – but first decorate paper plates then try spinning them on garden stakes.
  • Juggling – start with learning to juggle chiffon scarves. Older children may like to try bean bags or proper juggling balls.
  • Balloon modelling – Google some ideas and print out photos in advance so children have something to copy.
  • Clown Hats – make and decorate cone-shaped clown hats out of card. Add an assortment of decorations such as biodegradable glitter or recycled lids from milk bottles as buttons.
  • Decorate animal masks – check out for class-size craft sets that are perfect for parties.

Food Ideas

  • Hot Dogs
  • Mini Beefburgers
  • Pizzas
  • Triangular sandwiches
  • Salad and Veg Platter shaped like a clown face
  • Fruit kebabs
  • Popcorn – make sure you put the popcorn in those red and white stripy boxes!
  • Clown Ice Creams – upside down ice creams so the cone becomes the clowns hat and decorate with a few sweets to make the clown’s face
  • Candy Floss

Circus Birthday Cake

It’s lovely to bake your own cake so take a look around Pinterest as there are literally thousands of ideas. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites here:

Sometimes Pinterest ideas can be a little ambitious. I think this is the perfect cake for any birthday theme and it’s super easy to make:

  • Bake a 8- 9 inch cake. I would use a 6 egg mixture in either one 3 inch deep tin, or two shallower tins and bake at 170C.
  • 6 eggs, 12oz self raising flour, 12oz baking margarine/butter, 12oz caster sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • When completely cooked and cooled, spread buttercream around the top and sides of the cake
  • Stick chocolate fingers or KitKat fingers all the way around the circumference
  • Fill the top with smarties or m&ms
  • Add ribbon, mini bunting or a cake sparkler as you desire
  • And don’t forget to add some colourful candles!

Party Bag alternatives

I admit I’m really not a fan of party bags. It is just an unnecessary cost to me. However, I do appreciate a little something to thank the children that have attended your child’s party is a nice gesture. This year I am looking for alternatives to giving out plastic party bags filled with plastic!

I prefer to give one small gift to departing party-goers with a thank you message written on it. With stock at cheaper stores like Poundland, Poundworld, The Works changing frequently it seems silly to recommend too many specific products but here are some ideas to look out for:

  • Animal/circus shaped note pad and pencil
  • Animal/circus theme story book
  • Magic tricks
  • Joke book
  • Magician’s wand
  • Scarves or juggling balls so they can carry on practising
  • Circus Theme Bag Dangler and Keyring or the Circus Scratch Art Magnets
  • Sweets in a small popcorn cup or a paper candy-stripe bag. If you’d like to personalise these with a thank you message you could either make your own stickers or order some fairly cheaply on Ebay.

Or alternatively Amazon do pre-filled party boxes starting from £1.85 each. They aren’t plastic free unfortunately but they are easy to organise.

And don’t forget to present your departing guests with a piece of cake in a candy-stripe paper bag!

Happy party planning!

AD / We were invited to spend time with Mr Montgomery’s Circus Spectactular in return for promotion via our blog. However, all views and opinions are our own.

Why not PIN this post for next time you want to host a circus/festival party?


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1 Comment

  1. barjerow
    July 18, 2019 / 5:36 pm

    This all looks very exciting, a far cry from the boring parties of the past.