Option 1: Big Top Invitation
Take a white sheet of paper and add red stripes on one side to make it look like a carnival tent. With the plain white side facing you, fold the top two corners down to make a point at the top. Then, fold the the bottom halves to make two flaps.
Option 2: Carnival Flyer
Download a flyer for an actual carnival.
Add this wording: At the top add “BIG TOP” and then underneath, “Step right up for the greatest carnival party of all time” and continue with the rest of the details.
Option 3: Popcorn Bag Invitations
Purchase popcorn bags (the ones they have at carnivals with red and white stripes. Write the party information on white paper, making sure it will fit on the front of the bag. Add this wording, "Pop on over for food, games and loads of fun. There are lots of prizes to be won."
Use blue, red and yellow color scheme for balloons and streamers and tableware (tablecloths, plates, cups, napkins and plasticware). For table centerpieces, you can use popcorn boxes and place small bags of candy in them for your guests.
For the games, have separate stations with backdrops using colorful plastic tablecloths or streamers. Make signs for each game.
Make a ticket booth out of an large appliance box, paint red and white stripes on it with a sign that says “TICKETS”. Give out a certain number of tickets to each guest to play the games. You can buy carnival tickets at party supply stores.
Games and Activities
Guess How Many—As your guests arrive, let them play this. Take a bag of gumballs, count them and place them in a glass jar. Whoever guesses the closest number to the actual amount wins the jar of candy.
Ring Of Fire
Make a Ring of Fire by wrapping a hula hoop with red, orange and yellow tissue paper. Hang the hula hoop. Have your guests throw stuffed animals through it.
Take a bunch of water balloons and tack them onto a large piece of cardboard. Place the cardboard up against a wall.
Knock Down the Cans
Place small boxes in a line and use as pedestals for empty soda cans. Give out balls to knock the cans down.
Tic Tac Toe
Create nine boxes inside a large box with tape or chalk. Give out three beanbags to each player. They have to get three in a row to win.
Cut fish out of construction paper and attach paper clips to them. Take a toy fishing pole and tie a magnet to the end of the string. Place the fish in a large empty container and let the players “catch” a fish.
Take ten 2 liter bottles, put water in them and use a large ball like a basketball to knock them over.
Have the players run in sacks and beat each other to the finish line.
Three Legged Race
Pair players up, tie the left leg of one player to the right leg of the other player. The object is for the pairs of players to run together without falling over and try to beat each other to the finish line.
Ball Waddle Race
Each player has to run with a ball between their knees to the finish line. If they drop the ball, they have to start over.
Wrap dowel in tissue paper and place them in the ground. Make rings out of two plastic plates stapled together.
Feed the Lion
Download or draw a picture of a lion and attach it to a piece of cardboard. Cut a large hole where the mouth is and hand out bean bags to your guests to throw them.
Carnival Food—Hot dogs, Corn Dogs, Burgers, Chicken Fingers, Mozzarella Sticks, French Fries, Jumbo Pretzels, Popcorn, Cotton Candy, Ice Cream, Soft Pretzels, Cupcakes, Large Swirl Lollipops
(You can rent machines for the popcorn and cotton candy—it can be quite expensive though. A better alternative is to purchase individual bags of popcorn and cotton candy)
Use popcorn boxes for the goody bags. The favors can be the prizes that your guests win. You can have extras for the kids that may not have won games. These can be bouncy balls, yo-yos, bracelets, toy cars, stickers, mini nail polish, individual bags of popcorn or cotton candy, lollipops, animal crackers, etc.