My little bean recently turned one--awwww I still can't believe it!!
To celebrate, we threw a carnival themed birthday party. I created all of the decorations myself because the store bought ones were all circus themed. And yes, there is a difference! I don't believe in the cruelty to animals that a circus promotes so I wanted to make it very clear that this was a carnival!
I ordered a custom birthday shirt and hat from Etsy. The hat only stayed on for long enough for me to snap this one pic. They were uber expensive but I figured that he only turns one once! (Hey, it made me feel a little better!)
I made a triangle banner out of scrapbook paper and raffia string. I found a piece of scrapbook paper at Joann's that had "stamped" letters on it so it worked perfectly to just cut out the letters that I needed to tape on the triangles. They were having a paper sale--5 for $1. It was a steal compared to Hobby Lobby's 60 cents a sheet!
I also made a banner for his high chair. I used some old stencils that I've had laying around forevvva and some paint. I like how the letters turned out imperfect and added to the vintage carnival theme. The ribbon banner was made by hot gluing strips onto one long strip that wrapped around his highchair.
I purchased some chunky cardboard letters from Joann's to use during his photo session and they looked so cute hot glued onto some cups on the food table!
I found some tickets at the Dollar Tree and made link chains that went along the "snack" counter and the "drink" stand.
You'll also notice my creative ice bucket in the picture above. I realized the night before that we didn't have anything to use for ice and started to freak out because I really didn't want to spend anymore money. So I took our cooler and wrapped it in craft paper, used my stencil to paint "ice" and wrapped some left over ribbon around the top. It ended up being my favorite little touch!
I picked up a bunch of tablecloths from the Dollar Tree and Hubby attached them to the garage ceiling with a staple gun to make a tent.
And now for the food! The food was fun and super easy. For the main course we had corn dogs and french fries set up in aluminum warmer trays. Then for snacks we had cotton candy, caramel apple grapes, popcorn and cupcakes!
The cotton candy was from the Dollar Tree and unfortunately it didn't last very long once it came out of the bag. At first it looked a little like insulation and by the end of the party it looked like fiberglass haha. But the idea was there! To make the holder I just made holes in a box and wrapped it with birthday craft paper. Then I used a knife to cut a slit where the holes were (I had to feel around to find them) and then popped the cones in. The cones were made with my sale scrapbook paper from Joann's.
The caramel apple grapes seemed easy enough but took forever and day! The also didn't really look as aesthetically pleasing as I had hoped. But they tasted delish and that's all that really matters right?!
To make them, I heated up caramel baking bites with a little bit of whipping cream on the stove and crushed some peanuts with the bottom of a drinking glass. Then I put the grape on the toothpick, dunked it in carmel and then the peanuts. I'm telling you--this process seemed to take forever to make just a small plate of grapes!
I originally wanted to purchase cute little popcorn bags but when the money started running low I decided to just use brown paper lunch sacks. I cut them down with craft scissors so they looked pretty cute at first, but the popcorn grease kind of soaked through. Maybe if I used a plain popcorn that wasn't all buttered up it would have worked better!
I feel like the cupcake Ferris wheel is what really set the carnival tone (other than the carnival music, which I will get to). I ordered it off ebay for $20.00. The little "seats" are small though! I had to maneuver the cupcakes in and frosting ended up getting all over the handles. I just wiped it off with a paper towel after they were all in.
(oh check out the Hubby's little toothpick flags that
I also got some old fashioned ketchup and mustard bottles (I think I got them at Target but I've seen them at Walmart too) and taped some fun paper on them.
I ordered the party cake from Walmart and it turned out okaaaaaaaay. It bothered me that they left off a star and I wasn't crazy about the orangish spray they added to the white trim.
And for the "prizes" hubby put together little sandwich bags full of goldfish (hahah get it?? I sure hope people got it...) with the raffia twine and note cards.
Oh the music! I ordered this awesome CD off of CDBaby.com. It was all instrumental vintage carnival music. It was perfect! Except it was only cute for an hour or so, after that I was over it!
He mildly confused when we all gathered in the garage to sing Happy Birthday and watch him eat cake though. Take a look at that face! Awww! (P.S. yes I know he has a "circus" bib but it's the only cute one I could find so I told myself it was just a cute little elephant and monkey enjoying the carnival haha. Yes I know I'm overly analytical!)
All in all the party was a hit! We planned it perfectly between his two naps so he had a great time. And I was able to pull it all off on a very tight budget.