Circus-themed Birthday Party Ideas

Circus-themed Birthday Party Ideas

Get creative ideas for food, activities and décor to throw the perfect circus-themed party.

By: Grace Mitchell

Make your child’s birthday party the greatest show around this year by trying out our circus-themed party ideas. Your guests — both young and old — will have a blast under the big top.


You can’t enter the big, colorful circus tent without a ticket. So create cute ticket invitations for the guests to bring to gain entrance to your fun-filled fete. Cut some cardstock in long, rectangular strips, and decorate them to look like tickets (don’t forget the time and date details!).

Popcorn, peanuts, cotton candy and hot dogs are all classic circus foods, so get creative with your recipes and displays:

  • Set up a popcorn party table complete with a variety of flavors in colorful bowls.
  • Hand out red-and-white-striped popcorn bags to partygoers so they can collect a little bit of each of their favorite flavors.
  • Serve mini hot dogs and have all of the standard fixings, like mustard, relish and ketchup, on a condiments table.
  • Rent a cotton candy machine and put someone in charge of rolling out cotton candy treats for the guests.

Tip: Make sure to also provide some smaller snacks, such as bowls of peanuts and animal crackers, for the kids to munch on.

Get inspired by your favorite circuses and stick with a red-and-white-striped theme:

  • Create a party banner by printing or stamping your child’s name — as well as the word “circus” — on lettered cards. Attach each lettered card to a colorful ribbon and string it up so guests can see the sign when they enter the party.
  • Cluster groups of bright balloons all around your party area and hand them out as favors for your guests at the end of the evening.
  • Cover tables in red-and-white-striped fabric and set out a few bowls filled with playable items like pinwheels and plastic clappers.
  • In each doorway, tape up long strips of vibrant streamers for the kids to have fun walking through.

Tip: Take the party outside by renting a large tent from a local party supply store.


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Tip: Get inspired to throw the best birthday on the block with our ideas for sciencerock starHollywoodsafari, '80s and superhero parties!

Activities and Games
Take some ideas for activities from carnivals or the state fair for your party. Purchase a few bags of inexpensive prizes for the games’ winners.


  • Ball Toss: Set out a few rows of jars or plastic cups and table tennis balls. Have guests stand back a few feet and try to toss them in.

Tip: Try the same idea but with plastic bottles and rings!

  • Ring and Bottle: Attach a plastic ring to 2-3 feet of string tied to the end of a stick. Lay a plastic bottle of water on its side. The players will have to try and stand the bottle up using the ring on the stick in under 20 seconds.
  • Tic, Tac, Toe: Cut nine circles into the top of a cardboard box. Have players stand 3-5 feet away and toss plastic balls on the holes to form straight or horizontal lines.


  • Stage a circus animal puppet show and use animal puppets created by guests.
  • Make a fun photo booth area where guests may get their pictures taken, complete with props like top hats, baggy clown pants, wigs and animal masks.
  • Have an area set up with a “put the red nose on the clown” game where children are blindfolded and try to put the pin in the correct place on the clown’s face.
  • Set up an art area with small bowls of googly eyes, colorful yarn and funny nose and mouth shapes where kids can create their own silly clowns.
  • Your party may feel like a circus, but that’s exactly the point! Enjoy the fun and silliness that ensues!

Grace Mitchell lives in Texas with her husband and four little wild animals. She writes the interior design/DIY blog, A Storied Style, where she focuses on her interior design work, home decor ideas, and the renovation of her own 1921 home.

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