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Ella and I love throwing mini-parties with friends and we’ve been having fun this year partnering with some sponsors to bring you some cheap & cheerful party inspiration!
Today, we’re partnering with Walmart and Goldfish® crackers to bring you an easy DIY Carnival Party that works equally well indoors or outdoors.
Before we get started, here are some tips for planning your party:
- A month before the party
- plan the theme and guest list
- brainstorm activities, food, decor and DIY projects – if you are outsourcing anything, contact those people now
- Look around the house for items that can be repurposed for the party and make your shopping list
- 2 weeks before the party
- start the decor and DIY projects
- 1 week before the party
- Deep clean the house and plan your party space based on guest list, weather, etc.
- Assess your plans and make adjustments – cancelling DIYs, changing the menu, etc.
- 1-2 days before the party
- Grocery shop and start prepping as much food as possible
- Set up any decor that won’t get in the way
- Any cleaning touch-ups (especially in the party space and bathroom)
- Day of the party
- Break the day into 2-hour windows; finish the food prep, set up the party and spend some time relaxing and preparing yourself and your kids for hosting
Carnival Party Decor
Party decor can quickly eat up your budget if you’re not careful!
To keep things simple, we went with bright, bold colors with a predominant red and white striped pattern throughout to pull off the carnival theme. Balloons and a few fun items that we already had around the house helped pull the theme together.
- Red and white striped bunting banner
- Red and white star-shaped balloons
- Rainbow tiered tablecloth (a red and white-striped one would have been more on theme, but we already had this on hand)
- Silver platters (found with oven drip pans – $1 each!)
- Pretty cake pedestals (already owned)
- Carnival cupcake holder
- Gumball machine (filled with giant pompoms)
- Red and white crepe paper
- Colorful confetti (to tie in the rainbow tablecloth)
Carnival Party Food
While carnival foods are tons of fun, they tend to be unhealthy and not necessarily the type of food that you want to feed kids before you hand them plastic balls in your home. Instead, I tried to stay on-theme while offering mostly smart choices that the parents of our guests would be happy with.
- Dipped marshmallows with Cheddar Goldfish® crackers attached for a salty-sweet taste
- Chocolate cupcakes topped with Chocolate Brownie and Vanilla Cupcake Goldfish® crackers
- Crudites served with homemade spinach dip and Goldfish® crackers
- Dessert popcorn mix – kettle corn drizzle with chocolate and sprinkled with color sprinkles and Goldfish® crackers
Carnival Party Activities
Before I got started on this party I looked around for carnival games and experienced a bit of sticker shock! So, I decided to stick with making 5 DIY Carnival Party Games that each cost less than $5 each. We also set up one of our playpens with a bunch of plastic ball pit balls – a small wading pool would also be good but I liked that the high sides of the playpen kept the balls contained!
- DIY Skeet Shoot Game
- Can Toss (replaced with toilet paper rolls to be indoor-friendly)
- Ducks in a Barrel
- Fish Bowl Ping Pong Ball Toss
- Guess Jar filled with Goldfish® crackers
We purchased our bulk size packages of Goldfish® crackers at Walmart, along with many of the decorations and materials seen within this post!
For more cute parties and gametime ideas, check out Goldfish® crackers’ collection here.
I hope you loved our Cheap & Cheerful Carnival Party and I’d love to hear if you use any of our ideas to throw your own carnival-themed party or playdate.
For more party inspiration from us, be sure to check out our Mermaid Party on a Budget.