Vintage/Circus Themed Birthday Ideas

Updated on August 12, 2010
W.T. asks from El Cajon, CA
14 answers

Hi Mamas,

I am having a vintage/circus theme birthday party for my 1 and 3 year olds and need more ideas.

There will be do it yourself game stations with prizes and so far I have a bean bag toss/milk can station and a floating duck (pick a duck with a winning number) station. I would like at least two more stations. The idea is that a kiddo can easily play with their parents help and that all players win a "prize".

Also, I need some snack ideas. I was going to do bags of popcorn and popcorn balls. Of course there are peanuts which I don't want b/c of allergies and shells making a mess. There is also cotton candy, but I don't want that because there will be cake and my goal is to not get the toddlers all hopped up on sugar! :)

So, Ideas please for games and appropriate themed snacks that are semi healthy? This is a non-meal party,

There will be retro style bottled sodas for the adults...ideas beyond juice boxes for the kids?

How about prize item ideas? I thought of bubbles and lollipops so far.

Thanks all of you creative mamas!

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Wow! Such awesome ideas! I am looking forward to the weekend when I have some time to sit down and really start planning! Thank you all for the recommendations and ideas! There are some cute ones out there!

Featured Answers



answers from Houston on

Maybe a bean bag toss game, i.e., into a circle or bucket? Prizes shouldn't be too small, as you will have 1-yr-olds there. Larger balls, little frizbees, and squirt toys (not the little guns with stoppers that can be ingested), but the one piece ones that squeeze/squirt? HTH, mine are teens now, it's been a while :-)

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

When a friend of mine did this she had a ticket booth and face painting too. We used water color crayons they wash off very easy and are non toxic you can get a them individually or packs at art stores or hobby lobby. As for prizes what about mini balls and ducks from oriental trading? You could also do a version of pin the tail on the donkey. My hubby is very artistic so we have pin the tail on tiger, put elmo's nose on, put the jewel on the crown he would the object on a poster board then we would laminate it and make the tails, noses, jewels and we did not cover our little ones eyes either it was still very fun to see elmo with 10 noses. Have a good time.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Go to a party store and you will find tons of little knick knacks that would work perfectly as prizes. Noise makers, bubbles, bouncy balls *not tiny ones of course lol* Funny glasses etc.

If you ask parents you could do a "win a goldfish" kinda game. *i say ask cause the parents might not want a goldfish haha.
But you could set it up with a few GF each in a lil bucket/bowl and have the kids toss balls in there. THey get it in they win a fish! YAY haha

Food...hmmm popcorn, crackers, pretzels, nachos?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

I agree with the other answer - pretzels would be good. What about candy apples and /or snow cones? You didn't ask about decorations - but I figured that I would add my 2 cents worth anyway. My daughter just had a magician at her party - and I wanted vintage magician posters. (We had it at a pizza place) I just googled "vintage magician posters" and came up with TONS - I just copied them to my desktop, and then printed them on regular card stock. I bought some shiny gold card stock stars at the party store, and plastered the posters and stars all over the windows and walls at the party - everyone loved it, the magician wanted to know where the heck I got them, and the pizza place didn't mind because I used blue painter's tape rolled up on the back to hang them so there was no damage to their walls. I bet you could find vintage circus themed images to do similarly with. I would them use basic - red & white streamers, and Dollar Tree has red and white popcorn bags. Good luck! It sounds like fun!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I just went to one of these and it was adorable! I can email you photos if you like! My sis is a professional clown, and I assist her and do the face painting, so it was tons of fun for the kids.

Anyways, she had corn dogs, cotton candy in cute bags as the party favors that she gave out as the children were leaving. Then, in tall glass jars, she had colorful candies, like licorice, m&m's, veggie tray and fruit kabobs. Those large pretzels with nacho sauce to dip in would be good.

For games, you can do bobbing for apples, pin the tail on the donkey (or nose on the clown or whatever).

Prizes, the little bubbles, or little play-dohs or those glow stick bracelets would be cute.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Definitely find some boxes of animal crackers and the iced animal cookies. Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Sounds like a really fun party! I like all the ideas mentioned so far. I also was thinking about the little boxes of animal crackers with the circus images on them. They could be a prize and a snack all in one, and they're something the littlest ones can enjoy too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My mom used to do this for us...I always loved the carnivals we had!

For games we also had stations where you could drop clothespins into mason jars (you had to either stand up or be on your knees and then hold the clothespin at your nose) It's harder than it looks. We also had a station where you had two big bowls and one was filled with cotton balls. You would be blindfolded and given a big spoon. Then you had a certain amount of time to try to spoon the cotton balls into the other bowl (without grabbing onto the bowls --you can only touch the spoon. The cotton balls are so light this game is tricky! Maybe for the little guys just nix the blindfold!?

Just some easy ideas..sometimes she'd give "tickets" (you could buy raffle tickets) and then you got to exchange them for something at the end!

Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

have you done a google search? there are lots of people that have done cute versions of this, you might find some inspiration.

also, have you seen this adorable circus bedroom? inspiration....

games - what about a "guess the number of jellybeans?" or guess the number of goldfish - obviously easy, but you then get entered into a raffle to win one of the goldfish?

or what about a game where you use water guns to knock down empty cans?

what about face painting? or a clown?

not quite circus, but def. old-timey -you could fill small mason jars with lemonade or pink lemonade and add those to the ice bucket of drinks. it's cute to put a little scrap of colored fabric on the top of the lid, too. or animal crackers, in those cute boxes?

you could pass out red foam clown noses, or feather head bands like a female acrobat on a horse might wear...

sounds fun! good luck!



answers from Reno on

A little late on the response (apologies). One thing we always did was the "fishing" game: the little fishing pole they throw behind a curtain or whatever and a prize is clipped to the end of the pole so they always catch a prize. Good game for little ones (like your 1 yr old...).



answers from Los Angeles on

What about candy/caramel apples and animal cookies (the one in the cute circus boxes)? And the Chubbs chocolate milks? nachos?

Games - a table with several batches of Barrel of Monkeys. -pin the nose on the clown. -or pin the tail on the elephant -circus themed coloring sheets -costume contest, have the kids come dressed as clowns -face painting -make a clown mask or hat

prizes -little bracelets for girls, super-bouncy balls, tattoos, stickers

Have a ticket booth - and give the kids tickets to use to play the games
Have fun.



answers from Phoenix on

Sounds like fun! What about setting up a station with face painting and temporary tattoos. Have an adult do simple shapes (ice cream cones, stars, hearts, footballs etc... with the paint). How about a bowling station (they have cheap plastic bowling sets at major retailers), Lollipop tree (get some styrofoam push in the suckers but mark the bottoms with different colors. Each color gets a different prize), or obstacle course.



answers from Los Angeles on

hula hoops! for prizes or activities fake tattoos, bubbles, cheap school supplies like pencils and erasers. You can also serve snacks in fun carnival style holders - I've seen them at restaurant supply stores or even smart & final. and check out for healthy recipes.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions