Circus-Themed Birthday Party

Here’s a random story for you:

Once upon a time I had a friend help me buy a used camera on the internet (about 7 years ago). This spring, when I was in search of a new-to-me DSLR camera, I contacted this same friend. That friend talked to a friend of hers, Nanette, who was selling her Nikon to upgrade and so the original friend put Nanette and I in contact with each other. I had no idea that this connection, to buy a camera, would result in such fun in my life. I did buy Nanette’s Nikon, but I had no idea that it would come with “tech support.” Nanette is a camera wiz and an excellent teacher. I have spent hours on the phone chatting with her and I even got to meet her at her house where we stayed up until 3:30am talking! Not only is Nanette wonderful, but so is her sister Kate. I now have new friends, a new camera, and something else – party pictures! These women throw amazing parties and they have allowed me to share their hard work and talent here with you.

Did you follow me through that mess of a story?

This party was planned and done by my friend Kate, who was kind enough to let me use her pictures. I fell in love with the party as soon as I saw it and thought you’d like a little inspiration too.

Welcome to the Circus!

Elephant balancing a ball… cake! So fun and really set the stage for the party, made by Kate’s sister-in-law.

An elephant birthday cake surrounded by a table of circus-themed decorations

An elephant birthday cake on a table with circus-themed decorations, party hats, cupcakes in front of a brick wall with circus-themed signs


One of the things that I love about this party is how everything plays on the theme perfectly. The font and patterns for her signs and decorations were spot-on circus. Kate used a projector to blow up circus pictures and then copy them onto poster board which she colored.

A collage of three circus-themed party decorations and signs

Party hats with cartoon circus animals on a yellow table

Circus-themed happy birthday flag banner in front of a red backdrop

Things To Do:

Photo booth with props (hand painted!)
A circus-themed outdoor photo booth with polka-dot background, bench and props

Three people in a circus-themed photo booth with props and a polka dotted wall backdrop

Uncle turned clown:
A person in a colorful clown costume making balloon animals

Face painting (with giant mirror to look into) and balloon everything (pretty handy uncle!):
Two girls with clown face paint and red balloon swords

Guess how many:
A clear glass vase filled with layers of different colored candies

Kate truly brought the circus to her backyard with all of the games she hand-crafted!

Balloon darts, bounce house, box of curiosities (had creepy things in colored jars) look if you dare!, pin the tail on the monkey:
A collage of four different circus-themed party games, including a bounce house and balloon pop game

Ball Toss:
Clear glass bottles on a table with yellow tablecloth for Bottle Toss game

World’s Strongest Man (Styrofoam on PVC pipe):
A little boy holding up a pretend 500-lb weight barbell

Prize Dive (shredded paper in a pool with Dollar Store prizes):
A little girl with a blindfold in an inflatable pool filled with shredded paper


And, if you thought that was all she had to offer, no no, there’s food! Kate went all out with the food. She had corn dogs, nachos, popcorn, Cracker Jacks, peanuts, cotton candy, and just about any other delicious treat that you can think of.
A buffet table filled with circus-themed foods and snacks, including Cracker Jack, peanuts and candy

Bright cupcakes with adorable toppers that matched the party hats:
A cupcake tower with colorful circus-themed cupcakes

And of course, we can’t forget the Birthday Girl! Kate designed her shirt in Photoshop and then printed it out on iron-on fabric. A cute tu-tu and a feathery birthday hat in just the right colors completed the outfit (of course the little lady didn’t want to wear the hand-crafted birthday hat!)

A baby wearing a blue tutu and circus-themed shirt and party hat sitting on the ground eating birthday cake

Amazing, right? I had hundreds of photos to choose from and these were just the tip of the iceberg. Serious planning and love went into this first birthday party and the outcome was fabulous.

Don’t worry friends, these photos are old and I have this little girl’s second birthday party to show you too! Be excited; it is the cutest party ever. My goal is to be invited to this year’s shindig to witness it for myself *wink* *wink*. Thanks for all your hard work and for letting me share it, Kate.

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about me

About Melissa

I have a lot going on, and I’d much rather spend my time enjoying my messes than fretting about what I’m going to make for dinner. Over the past few years, I’ve nailed down a few strategies that helped me keep my kitchen running like a well-oiled machine, so I started Bless This Mess to help other mess-loving parents solve the nightly dinner delimma—no stress, no drama, just really great food your whole family will love. Read more...

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Hi Melissa,
I love your ideas but I can’t seem to find the Minnie Mouse door hanger saying “Welcome To Ryelle’s Clubhouse” I saw the image on Google and the link led me to your site. I so wanna know how you made it or where you bought it from. My daughters turning 2 this July and I would love to have that for her Minnie Mouse themed party. Thanks 😉

I am throwing a Circus themed 1st birthday party for my son. These are some great ideas! Thank you!

Hi Melissa! I’m so glad that worked out so well – totally what we call a win/win. Nanette and Kate are so great, they totally rock.

Kate, can I be adopted? Amazing. Best. Party. EVER!

Thank you SO MUCH for featuring my party and saying such nice things! I’m happy to share it. Hope people can look at it and get their own creativity going.

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.