Step Right Up! It’s a Circus Party Theme

I have been so eager to share this circus party theme with everyone! I am going to share all the creative {and simple} circus party ideas with you….are you ready? There is a lot to look at!

This circus party theme was held for a very special one year old’s birthday. When his mom decided circus was the theme she wanted, I got to work on creating a circus themed invite.

Invitations for a Circus Party Theme

This is the front of the invite I created using my computer. I got the idea from Caroline Armelle from Armelle the Blog. I printed them onto red cardstock and they looked just like hers {thanks for the inspiration!}. The back of the tickets had more pertinent party info for the guests to read.

Two design elements that were carried through the entire party were 1. The red tickets and 2. The circus font {I downloaded for free and used on everything}.

This party had many DIY elements that cost virtually nothing. And since birthday parties can become very costly, this was a must–spend less without loosing the “awe” factor! Greeting guests was a welcome sign that was made out of old cardboard and some craft paint….simple right?

At the entrance was a table filled with party bags for each child. The labels read “Step Right Up” and were each personalized using that fun circus font I mentioned. Inside the bags were bundles of red tickets that each guest would use during the party. The bags were large enough {and easy for the little ones to carry around} that they fit all the goodies and prizes that were to come.

Throughout the party space was this handmade paper pennant. This is my favorite party decoration because it is simple so versatile {plus inexpensive}. Made with cardstock and ribbon, paper pennants are my go-to party decor item.

Decorations for Circus Party Theme

More signs made out of cardboard and paint to decorated the party space. Not only where they a fun decoration, but they let little ones know how many tickets they were required to forfeit for each activity. I was so surprised that the tickets themselves seemed to be the biggest hit of the circus party. The kids just loved counting out and handing over their tickets!

Oh and this is the birthday boy…rocking his “1” tee matching the circus party theme of course! A personalized tee is a perfect party accessory. Order in your party colors and with with the age of the birthday child or their initial. Of course the birthday boy needed a wardrobe change {boys get dirty after all}. He went from his “1” tee to a “Ring Leader” tee {you can see it below}.

Many games, activities and fun…. all “big top” themed (like circus bean bag toss). The kids loved “paying” for the games with their circus tickets!

Party Food for Circus Party Theme

The “concession” stand was a brilliant addition by the fabulous caterer, Laura. She whipped this mock concession stand up using tables, milk crates, zip ties and table clothes. Brilliant… and a huge hit! She served pizza and homemade corn dogs (which were to die for). Of course, payment for the concession stand snacks were made by little red tickets.

As simple as centerpieces get.

We made these cupcake toppers, but I love the idea of classic circus balloon toppers (you can get them here).

Cupcakes for Circus Party Theme

My new favorite cupcake stand decorated with mini paper pennant flags. {Thanks to Kim from Tom Kat Studio for the cupcake stand info. Read about “the stand” here}

Before the birthday boy’s highchair become covered in big top birthday cake.

There was a circus tattoo station. A popcorn machine, popping fresh kernels all afternoon that was scoped into cute popcorn sacs. A fun circus pinata {of course} and many other circus”y” details.

Make a photobooth for your Circus Party Theme

And my favorite part of this circus theme…the photo booth!

DIY Photobooth Circus Party Theme


Just a couple more photos, I promise!

Photobooth for Circus Party Theme

Just place a coat rack or basket near your booth with fun props. We made this booth out of a refrigerator box, fabric and paint. So simple!

Circus Party Theme Favors

And for a party favor, what else but circus cookies? Tied to each was ribbon and a red ticket with “Thank You” written on it.

Believe it or not, there were many other details…I could have gone on and on :). Thank you for reading and I hope I inspired your next circus party theme in some small way.


66 Comments on Step Right Up! It’s a Circus Party Theme

  1. Kim
    September 26 at 11:01 am (10 years ago)

    So cute, Tori!! Great job! I love the photo booth!! Thanks for the mention, the cupcake stand looks fabulous! Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. silvana
    September 26 at 1:05 pm (10 years ago)

    So great. So creative. I love it. The photobooth is amazing and the invites came out perfect.

  3. Sarah
    September 27 at 8:29 am (10 years ago)

    By far the best party! Thanks for all the great ideas!

  4. Richa
    September 27 at 11:59 am (10 years ago)

    Such a wonderful idea…and so cost effective too.

    Loved the photo booth with the fun props. The cupcakes are so colorful.

  5. Chris
    September 27 at 4:55 pm (10 years ago)

    This idea was very cute. Great ideas I would never thought of this. I will pass these ideas on.

  6. Can Can (Mom Most Traveled)
    September 27 at 8:13 pm (10 years ago)

    This is a fabulous idea; I already have a roll of tickets that I could use! Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Priscilla
    September 27 at 10:48 pm (10 years ago)

    Great party…my kids had such a great time. There was so much to do and so easy for a one and two year old. They loved the tickets and the photo booth the most. Cambria had so much fun using her tickets to buy food and still has her little brown bag from the party. I’m definitely passing this info to all my friends in the OC.

  8. Vickie
    September 28 at 1:05 pm (10 years ago)

    Oh! My! What an adorable party!! So creative, yet simple and inexpensive! I am definitely going to bookmark this page for a future party for my Girls…LOVE IT! Thanks for all the links on where to order things, what a huge help!!

  9. Your Hostess
    September 28 at 1:24 pm (10 years ago)

    You are more than welcome Vickie, glad I can help to make your party planning a bit more simple!

  10. Alexis
    September 30 at 8:12 am (10 years ago)

    What a great party! So many fun details. The simple, thoughtful things like the goldfish, signage, etc. make it so special. I love the ringleader shirt!

  11. Stacey
    October 1 at 8:18 pm (10 years ago)

    I am wondering where you got your three hole photo banner? I love it and would love to get one for my daughter’s circus party.

  12. Your Hostess
    October 1 at 8:30 pm (10 years ago)

    Hi Stacey, the banner with the three holes for your face– it was from Michael’s (a craft store). I checked their online selection ( and did not see it. It was purchased from the store itself.

  13. Kim
    October 23 at 9:30 pm (10 years ago)

    Do you have a template or instructions on how you made the ticket invitations?

  14. Your Hostess
    October 24 at 7:46 pm (10 years ago)

    Hi Kim, you know I don’t have any template or instructions. I got the idea from Caroline Armelle’s blog (link above) and just took her visual inspiration and played around in Adobe Photoshop until I got the “ticket look I wanted.” Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  15. Kim
    October 29 at 7:47 pm (10 years ago)

    Do you have a template or instructions on how to make the ticket invites? Thanks so much for the help!!


  16. karina minauro
    January 14 at 3:44 pm (10 years ago)

    Hi there,

    Thank you so much for some great ideas!.. I actually wanted to know where you found the banner with the face cut outs.. I cant find them anywhere. Could you help me… Thanks so much in advance

  17. Hostess Tori
    January 14 at 3:51 pm (10 years ago)

    Karina- it was from Michael’s Craft Store. Hope that helps!

  18. Brandy
    February 18 at 12:43 am (10 years ago)

    Thanks for all you ideas…Im using most of your ideas plus some of my own for my son’s first birthday party this weekend. I cant wait.

  19. April
    April 1 at 3:47 pm (9 years ago)

    Great Ideas!! I’m having my son’s 1st birthday this summer and it is going to be a carnival/circus theme. I was just wondering, how did you get the font? I seen you said it was downloaded for free on that site. But when I go to download it..i don’t know where it ends up? If you can help I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

  20. sara
    June 18 at 2:10 pm (9 years ago)

    I am planning a carnival theme for my daughters 5th birthday and although I already had some ideas, you’ve given me some fantastic extras. Cant wait to put them into action Thanks

  21. Desiree
    June 26 at 12:00 am (9 years ago)

    im having a sweet 16 this coming july, and i wanted a photobooth but with everything being so expensive,i thought the photobooth you posted up would be simple and cheaper to have,yet it would still have fun to have at my party!
    Any ideas or tips you can give on how did you make it?

    Thanks so much,

  22. lenin
    July 8 at 2:27 pm (9 years ago)

    how did you do the old style letters

  23. Christina
    July 13 at 2:02 pm (9 years ago)

    Hello, I am having my son his 1st birthday party in Oct and we are doing the carnival theme, I am just curious of any of your other suggestions.. Thank You!

  24. lenin
    July 16 at 11:17 am (9 years ago)

    Does anyone know were to get the animal mural with face cut outs? i would really appretiate it thank you

  25. Katherine Roudabush
    May 15 at 9:00 am (8 years ago)

    How do you make the flag banners? We are throwing a circus baby shower and they would be great to tent the ceiling with.

  26. Katherine Roudabush
    May 15 at 9:00 am (8 years ago)

    How do you make the flag banners? We are throwing a circus baby shower and they would be great to tent the ceiling with.

  27. Margaret Lloyd
    June 6 at 1:46 pm (8 years ago)

    your projects are all so simple & achievable. i do alot of fundraising work plus iam starting up my own party business. i can’t thank you enough for sharing these inspirational ideas.

  28. Your Hostess
    June 6 at 1:51 pm (8 years ago)

    @Katherine – the flag pennant banners are simply triangles of card stock paper stapled to a ribbon (nothing fancy!).

    @Margaret – thank you so much for your kinds words. Happy to hear your thoughts and a big congrats on starting your own business!

  29. Nicole
    June 18 at 4:47 pm (8 years ago)

    Hi there, I’m throwing my daughter a carnival theme for her 5th and golden birthday in Sept. I have a lot of ideas I’ve found looking on different websites…but I really like your concession stand and photo booth (what did you make the photo booth out of?) I also love the flags, great idea! I was wondering what other things you did, so I can have more ideas to help me! Thanks a bunch!

  30. Amy
    July 3 at 8:55 am (8 years ago)

    What a cute party! I love the goldfish prize!

  31. Cher
    September 14 at 3:30 pm (8 years ago)


  32. India
    March 8 at 10:52 pm (8 years ago)

    Great Ideas! Thank you for sharing!

  33. Jamie
    May 4 at 12:04 am (7 years ago)

    Thanks so much for the great invite idea…. can you PLEASE tell me how you made the ticket “border” with the inverted corners? I was able to recreate all of the invite except for that part. Thanks!

  34. Tori
    May 4 at 10:25 am (7 years ago)

    Jamie, I played around with some of the frames offered in Adobe Photoshop Elements to get that border. You can try Googling “photoshop frames” and see what images come up?

  35. Cassey
    July 12 at 5:56 pm (7 years ago)

    This is so great. I especially like the photo booth. Do you happen to know where the red and white polka dot bow tie is from? I’ve been looking for something just like that.

  36. Devan
    July 31 at 8:03 am (7 years ago)

    How did you do the actual photos in the photo booth? Did you have someone standing there taking each picture? Adorable party!!

    • Your Hostess
      August 1 at 7:01 pm (7 years ago)

      Hi Devan, we actually had a teen volunteer (aka big sister) taking the kids’ photos. Then, during cake and ice cream, she printed them out inside and they got to take them home.

  37. Tiffany
    August 8 at 1:22 pm (7 years ago)

    Where did you get the cute little “ringleader” shirt! Love the party by the way! Having a circus theme for my soon to be three year old in September! :)

  38. Hostess Tori
    August 20 at 4:47 pm (7 years ago)

    Tiffany, you can search for cute shirts like this. Also … Zazzle (which I think this one was from). Good luck with your party!

  39. Msyellow
    March 8 at 9:22 am (7 years ago)

    Hi. What font do you use for your “photobooth” picture?

  40. Your Hostess
    March 17 at 9:50 am (7 years ago)

    It’s called “Circus!”

  41. Mel
    April 8 at 6:46 am (6 years ago)

    Love the whole party……Esp Love the fabric photo cut out. Where did u get it?

    • Your Hostess
      April 10 at 1:31 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks Mel! It was from Michael’s Craft Store — but it was a few years back.

  42. yari
    July 16 at 12:10 pm (6 years ago)

    hey where did you get the fridge box and how much would you say was spent on the party i have pne of the same theme due in days help with ideas

  43. Your Hostess
    July 16 at 12:16 pm (6 years ago)

    Hi Yari — the box was actually from a refrigerator someone had just purchased. You might be able to ask your local appliance or furniture store if they have a similar sized box they would give you. Worth a shot! This party was not too expensive as you’ll notive the food was pretty simple and most all of the decor and games were DIY projects. Good luck with your party!

  44. Chrissy Bender
    August 6 at 11:02 am (4 years ago)

    I Love the goldfish label! Can you share your printable? :)


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