When I was asked to style a Vintage Night Circus Party for a 15 year old at their private home my imagination took flight. I could visualize the whole extravaganza… fire breathers, aerial artists, knife jugglers, stilt walkers, snake oil salesman, fortune tellers, half man half woman, contortionists… it was the Ultimate Circus! However, budget is always a limitation, so with a limited budget the only option is to get creative… So we did! The yard was a good size which enabled us to create a few defined areas – a food stall, side show alley, a performance space, a freak show tent, a candy bar and a fire pit. We purchased meters and meters of red and white striped canvas which we used to dress up these areas. We grabbed some of those flaming bamboo torches from the two dollar store and created a flaming alleyway to connect the spaces. For the fortune teller we set up an area under a huge outdoor umbrella draped in sheer purple fabric to create a mystical vibe.. and then hung big red lanterns and carnival lights around the trees… and IT LOOKED FAB!SIDE SHOW ALLEY: We had classic vintage circus games that guests participated in with the use of their tickets that they recieved on arrival.
Ring Toss – I found some cider bottles on a recent trip to Tasmania that had an old fashioned circusy look… any excuse to down a dozen ciders eh lol ;). We made the rings out of plastic piping from the hardware store and they worked a treat.
Tin Cans – decorate the cans in circus paper, stripes or multi colours and stack them into a pyramid shape. Invite guests to try to knock them all down by throwing a ball with 3 turns.
Balloon dart game – We used a pin board because it has lots of small holes in it which made it easy to pull the balloons through. We inserted a number inside each balloon before tying it off and had the winning numbers displayed on a sign board. The guests threw three darts each to burst the balloons and won a prize if they got the winning numbers.
Bob for Apples – we all know this one! fill a deep bucket with water and float a half a dozen apples, guests have to pull an apple out of the bucket with their mouths.
FREAK SHOW: we organised a couple of talented relatives to act as the freaks.. we hired a make up artist to transform them into a half man half woman and a bearded lady. The guests paid their tickets at the door to enter the freak show and got to encounter the freaks face to face.
PHOTO BOOTH is an excellent fun station.. we had all sorts of disguises on sticks that we bought off eBay: moustaches, glasses, noses, hats etc. We also had an assortment of clowny gear: wigs, noses, hats, props etc. The circus goers had a lot of fun with this, dressing up for the camera and laughing at each other in costume.
FOOD STALL: What’s a circus without the carnival food! We had popcorn in striped boxes, peanuts in shells, corn on the cobb, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, strawberry skewers and home made lemonade served in jars with striped straws.
CANDY BAR: A fairy floss machine is a must! and so are cupcakes wearing moustaches, mini cakes with sugar stars, licorice allsorts, marshmallow dumb bells, caramel popcorn and ice cream sundaes. No one went home hungry!
BIRTHDAY CAKE: The birthday cake was a 4 tier vintage circus cake. The bottom tier was a circus tent with elephant sugar figures and tent ropes, inside was dark to light cake (chocolate, caramel, vanilla) with caramel buttercream between the layers. The second tier was an inverted tapered cake with harlequin patterns made with strawberry layer cake and vanilla cream cheese buttercream. Top tiers were white chocolate mud cake with whipped white chocolate ganache inside. The whole cake was hand painted to give it a vintage look and gold and silver sugar stars completed the design.
ENTERTAINMENT: We had spontaneous aerial performances throughout the night which created an exciting atmosphere, mime artists mingling, a stilt walker greeting guests on arrival and a mystical fortune teller reading the mirror ball. Very cool entertainment provided by www.artdemasque.com.au who also supplied a juggling station so guests could try out their skills.
The evening ended with happy carnies sitting around the fire pit with endless marshmallows to toast..
EAT – CELEBRATE – ENJOY!!!
If you enjoyed this post let me know by dropping me a comment below, tell me how your circus extravaganza turned out, ask me anything questions about this post, or just say ‘G’day’ 🙂