Budget-friendly Backyard Carnival

Three years ago I threw an epic carnival party for my two boys, but I got busy, forgot about it, and never posted about it on this blog. The party was full of fun DIY details and ideas... so I'm sharing it today. Take a look at this budget-friendly backyard carnival, and let me know what you think. (I've even included a three minute video highlighted some of my favourite parts of the party!)

GAMES -- Carnival parties are all about the games, and I made a bunch of simple games using things I had around the house and a few purchases from the dollar store.

One game I made was "Straw Draw". I put little bits paper inside short pieces of straws. Some of the papers were blank and others said "small", "medium", or "large". The kids picked out straws, opened up the papers, and claimed their prizes.

I also set up a little "guessing booth". I set a couple of dollar store jars in a cardboard box, and filled them with candy. Then, the guests guessed the number of candies in each jar and wrote their guesses on the clipboard. The closest guess won the candy!

I also made a ring toss from an empty paper towel roll and duct tape. I made rings for it with pipe cleaners. Simple and fun!

And I made a bean bag toss from plastic bowls I had in my cupboard.

And I made a ball toss from an old skate box.

PHOTO BOOTH -- In this age of social media and selfies, I love a photo booth at a party, and they are easy and inexpensive to make.

For the carnival party, I filled a dollar store jar with foam clown noses.

And I filled a basket with photo props from the dollar store.

And I covered foam boards with wrapping paper to make a photo back drop.

Check out how cute my little clowns were using the photo booth. 😁

FOOD -- Every party needs good food, and carnival food is really fun to serve. Of course, you'll need carnival staples like popcorn, cotton candy, and chips. 

You can also add fun elements like this "kissing booth" (chocolate kisses in a jar).

And this "pick a pop" treat... where one sucker stem has a hidden coloured stem... and the person that picks that sucker gets a special prize.

And I love displaying small bags of chips on a piece of twine with clothes pins. Get creative with the food and have some fun!

CAKE -- Every party needs a cake. It's simple to make, it looks great on a table, and everyone loves dessert!

Cakes don't need to be elaborate to be festive. For my boys, I made plain cakes and decorated them with sprinkles and their favourite colourful candies. Then, I finished them off with a little banner I made using paper straws.

PARTY FAVOURS -- Everyone loves a free gift to take home, and my favourite party favours are simple, inexpensive, useful, and fun. For our carnival party, I added cute notes to bags of microwave popcorn. The notes said, "Thanks for POPPING by!" 

I made the labels 4x6 so I could print them like regular pictures. They were cheap and easy!

For a closer look at our budget-friendly backyard carnival, take a look at the three minute video I made here.

What do you think of this fun little party? I absolutely love all the easy and inexpensive DIY party details.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

You might also be interested in the fun DIY party ideas here.

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