Carnival Theme Party/Circus Party

Carnival Theme Party Ideas 

Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth!

A carnival theme party or circus party is a fun party to plan because the decorations are creative, vibrant and fun. A good starting point is fun party supplies.

Include lots of colorful balloons and streamers.

If the budget allows, having freshly made circus treats is a crowd pleaser.  Rent a snow cone maker, cotton candy machine or popcorn maker.

When thinking about entertainment for a carnival theme party of course a clown makes sense, but also consider some of these:

  1. If you have the space animals are a smart addition such as pony rides.
  2. Face painter
  3. Balloon animal maker
  4. Magician

For an indoor carnival theme party create the illusion of a circus tent.  This is actually simple to do.

  1. Take very long streamers and tack one end to the middle of the ceiling,tack the other end to where the wall meets the ceiling.
  2. Then go back to the middle and take another streamer and do the same meeting the opposite wall.
  3. Make sure the streamers are long enough to leave some give on the ceiling and also flow down the wall.
  4. A second idea is to set up a camping tent and decorate it with streamers and balloons. Then put lots of toys inside for the kids.

Decorate the party area with pictures of clowns and circus animals.

Put a sign on the front door that says "Step Right Up". Put signs in the party area that say:

  1. "Welcome To The Greatest Show On Earth"
  2. "Welcome To The Fair"
  3. "The Circus Is Coming To Town"
  4. "The Big Top"

Arrange activity stations around the party area such as a tattoo station (fake tattoos of course, with parents permission), game stations and food stations.  Give the children tickets when they arrive. They then have to use their tickets at the stations to get food or play any of the activities.  Be sure to give the kids enough tickets to do everything and have extra's on hand.

Balloons and pinwheels is a simple but fun centerpiece.

Provide a clown wig and nose that all the kids can take turns taking pictures wearing. Using a Polaroid camera or some other device that allows you to print the pictures. This way the kids have a cool memory to take home.

Decorate the path leading to the party area with pinwheels stuck into the ground.

Handing out animal crackers when the children are leaving is a fun and inexpensive surprise that the kids can eat on the way home.

Play carnival theme music or circus music.


Use popcorn boxes as your favor box and fill with fun carnival items such as bubbles, bouncy balls, clown noses, tattoos, paddle balls and yo-yos.


What Animal Am I

  1. Cut out pictures of animals you see at the circus such as horses, elephants, monkeys, lions and tigers.
  2. Pin a picture of an animal on each child's back.
  3. Have the children ask each other "yes" and "no" questions in an attempt to guess the animal pinned on their back. For example: "Do I eat peanuts?" or "Do I climb trees"?
  4. As the kids guess their animal they get a prize.

Guess the Number of Animals

  1. Put animal crackers in a jar. Count how many crackers you put in.
  2. Have the kids guess the number of animals in the jar.
  3. Whoever comes closest without going over wins.

Bulls Eye

  1. Hang a hula hoop from the ceiling or a tree.
  2. Have the kids stand a distance from the hoop and try to throw a football through the hoop.

Surprise, Surprise

  1. Place an item in a box. Something that would be possible to identify by touch such as a toy car.
  2. Have the kids put their hands in the box and try to identify the object.
  3. To make the game creepier put something squishy in the box along with the object such as cooked pasta or rice, mashed potatoes or jelly. Don't let the kids see what's in the box prior to putting their hands in.

Bob for Apples

  1. Put apples in a bucket of water and have the kids try to pick up the apples using only their mouths.

Duck Pond

  1. You will need a wading pool, a small net (a fish tank net works well) several rubber ducks (as many ducks as you have guests) and as many prizes as you have ducks.
  2. Put numbers on the bottom of each duck using a waterproof marker and number each prize.
  3. Have each child use the net to try to catch a duck. Once they've caught a duck they get to open the prize that corresponds with the number on the bottom of their duck.
  4. To make the game more exciting you can have a golden egg. Use a gold marker (waterproof) to draw a golden egg on the bottom of 1 duck. Whoever gets the duck with the golden egg gets the "Golden Egg" prize. This prize should be a little more exciting then the other prizes.


  1. Using a child’s basketball hoop and a small ball give the children 3 chances to throw the ball into the hoop.
  2. They get a prize for each hoop they make.


Hotdogs, Corndogs, Hamburgers, Chicken Strips, French Fries, Candy Apples, Funnel Cake, Popcorn, Soft Pretzels, Snow Cones, Cotton Candy, Lemonade

Easy To Make Carnival Booth

Refrigerator Box Booth


Cardboard Refrigerator Box

Scissors or Knife (strong enough to cut through cardboard)



  1. Ask your local appliance store for a refrigerator box.
  2. Cut a door in the back of the box. Cut a window in the front of the box. This is where you serve food, sell tickets, etc. 
  3. Paint the booth. Decorate the booth with signs and carnival decorations.

Share your Carnival or Circus Party Stories and Tips!

We would love to hear about your Carnival or Circus Party! Share ideas, tips, stories, pictures and more.

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