The circus is in town with this party theme!
Roll up! Roll up! The circus is in town! This fun theme is perfect for both boys and girls. With this theme you can go wild with colour, costumes and decor. Check out some of our ideas for the perfect circus party.
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Get the circus feel!

When it comes to parties, like journeys, “getting there” is half the fun. These party décor ideas are easy and fun to make, and the children will love to help out in the days running up to the party.

Invitations

Introduce the circus theme by issuing each guest a “ticket” to the circus. We attached ours to a pencil decorated with ribbon and feathers, as a pretty keepsake.

Placemats

  • Use different papers – scrapbooking paper, coloured card, or wallpaper off-cuts are good – decorated with ribbons, beads, buttons, paper flowers and feathers. 
  • Your old sewing box might yield some interesting odds and ends.
  • Mix and match colours, textures and designs so that each place setting is different. 
  • We used the same papers to make popcorn cones.

Flags

  • An easy, inexpensive way to create a festive feel is to make strings of flags to festoon the birthday venue. 
  • Again, assorted papers of different patterns and colours look great. 
  • Simply cut them into triangles, fold each one over the string, and staple.

Circus party games

Balancing, juggling, tumbling and throwing games are perfect for a circus party. And it’s easy to revitalise family favourites to suit the theme. Here are some to try:

Pin the tail on the elephant

  • Draw a circus elephant’s rear view on a big sheet of paper, and provide each guest with a cut out tail and a piece of Prestick. 
  • Each child writes her name on the tail she’s been given. 
  • Tie a scarf around the child’s eyes, turn her around 3 times, and let her try and place it in the right spot!

Clown throw

  • Draw a big clown’s face on a large piece of heavy cardboard or hardboard. 
  • Cut out a big mouth (the younger the children, the bigger the mouth should be). 
  • Children take turns to try and throw balls through the clown’s mouth – there’s a prize for anyone who manages.

Musical noses

  • This works on the same principle as musical chairs. 
  • Place a pile of clown’s noses on a small table – one fewer than the number of children. 
  • The kids walk in a big circle, and when the music stops they have to rush to the pile of noses, grab one and put it on. 
  • The noseless one leaves the game.
  • Remove a nose from the pile each time, so that there is always one nose too few.
  • Give the nose to the child who leaves the game.
  • They should all end up with a nose as a fun gift.

Tightrope relay races

  • Divide the children into four teams. 
  • Set up 4 “tightropes” – each one made of a plank of wood balanced on bricks. 
  • Each child has to balance on the beam holding an umbrella above his head, walk to the end of the beam, and hand the umbrella to the next person.

Party packs

  • Ditch the usual bag of sweets (the moms will thank you), and give each child an inexpensive gift that he can use and enjoy, such as hula hoops, with homemade thank you tags.

Need some food ideas for this circus party?

Mini toffee apples

(makes 6-8)

Ingredients

  • 1 tin baby apples with stems
  • 2 cups castor sugar
  • wooden skewers

Instructions

  1. Drain the apples and dry them to remove any syrup.
  2. Insert a wooden skewer through the middle of each apple, using 2-3 apples per skewer.
  3. Make a caramel sauce by placing the sugar in a dry saucepan over low heat. Allow the sugar to melt and dissolve completely.
  4. Dip the apples into the caramel and place on a greased non-stick baking tray until set.

Tip

Colour the skewers by painting them with liquid food colouring.

Cheese and biltong popcorn

(makes 4)

Ingredients

  • 15ml oil
  • 125ml popcorn
  • 60ml finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 60ml powdered biltong
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat a large pot over high heat and add the oil.
  2. Add the corn, cover with a lid and cook until the popping slows.
  3. Remove from the heat.
  4. While still hot, add the cheese, biltong and salt to taste. Shake well to cover evenly.
  5. Serve in paper cones.

Jelly clown hats

(makes 8)

  • 100g white cooking chocolate
  • pink food colouring
  • 8 marie biscuits
  • 8 dome shaped moulds (the base should be smaller that the width of the biscuit)
  • 1 packet jelly powder
  • 1 packet jelly tots
  • wooden skewer
  • 8 candy strips

Instructions

  1. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. Add the food colouring, mixing it thoroughly before adding more to deepen the colour.
  2. Spoon the chocolate over the top of the biscuits until completely covered. Allow to set.
  3. Lightly grease the moulds. Dissolve the jelly powder in 150ml boiling water. Add a further 200ml cold water and pour into the moulds. Place in the fridge for about 10 minutes or until jelly just starts setting.
  4. Remove moulds from the fridge and place 8-10 jelly tots into each mould. Gently push them down into the jelly with the skewer. Refrigerate until set firm.
  5. To make the hats, turn out the jellies and place each one on top of a chocolate-covered biscuit. Wrap a sweet strip around the base of the jelly and decorate with flowers on wire.

Tip

If you don't have  moulds, small yoghurt tubs serve the purpose perfectly.

Juggler’s juice

(makes 4)

Ingredients

  • 225g strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 300ml milk
  • 400ml yoghurt
  • 30ml honey

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. The yoghurt shakes keeps well in the fridge and can be made a day or two in advance.
  3. Variations: Replace the strawberries with mixed berries, granadilla pulp or peaches. 

Tip

To brighten  the colour of the shakes, try using carrot juice or beetroot juice instead of food colourant, to keep it natural.

Other ideas:

Ice cream parlour

Set out different, delicious toppings and let guests help themselves.

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