Forget haunting ghouls and spooky ghosts -- fun is in the air at this backyard Halloween party. We've blended the best parts of country fairs, carnivals, and circuses to show a lighter, brighter side of Halloween at this fall party for kids.
Pennants fluttering across this printable invitation set the stage for fun at your circus party. Simply download the pattern for these invites and test-print on a piece of plain paper, printing one side for the front and the other for the inside design. When satisfied with placement, print designs for the invitation, mini pennants, and address labels on cardstock. Print or write party details inside. Assemble as shown, tying the pennants across the invite with twine.
Set the stage for your circus party with a rental canopy decorated with pennants, balloons, and yards of polka-dot fabric. To make your own pennant garland, measure the sides of the canopy tent; cut enough pennant-shape triangles from mixed fabrics to fill the space. Cut matching triangles of iron-on fusible web. Following manufacturer's directions, match the points and iron interfacing to each fabric pennant. Make the garland by topstitching the top edges of the pennants to a length of 3/4-inch wide ribbon with no gaps between the triangles.
Editor's Tip: For more durability, use vinyl fabrics and skip the iron-on interfacing.
Make the buffet table the star attraction of this kid-friendly Halloween party. Layer the table with fabric that fits your scheme (we used an aqua shawl), and hang an awning that adds big top style.
Give any showstopping cake major carnival flair with these easy-to-craft downloadable pinwheels. For each pinwheel: Choose your favorite combination from the downloaded patterned squares. Print one side of cardstock with desired pattern; flip paper, and print other side with a second pattern. Cut out, then cut along faint blue lines.
Cut a small square at the center of each pinwheel. Using a 1/8-inch hole punch, punch holes through dots at pinwheel edges. Punch a hole at straw top. Gently fold dotted pinwheel points to center without creasing paper, aligning with the hole in pinwheel center; secure points with brad. Attach pinwheel to straw with brad.
Our printable blue ribbons proclaim the prizewinning eats at your circus party. Print blue ribbons and center labels (center label templates include both food names, such as "Best Apple Pie" and "Best Cupcakes," and blank labels to customize). Customize blank center labels using an orange marker. Adhere the centers to the blue ribbons using adhesive dots to create a 3-D appearance.
Use our downloadable black cat toppers to turn plain cupcakes into party-ready treats. Print the downloads on white cardstock. Punch hole in center of each tab as indicated on design. Push toothpick through the hole and attach toothpick to back of cat. Cut miniature cupcake papers in half. Push the toothpick through the paper and create ruffle beneath the cat's face by securing the paper edges.
Festive flags and drink labels make these party beverages feel at home at your Halloween party. To make the labels, simply print on 2-1/4x3-1/2-inch canning-jar labels with downloaded scroll pattern and use a black marker to write each guest's name in the center of each label. For the flags, choose desired pattern for back of flags. Print full page of selected pattern on one side of cardstock and individual flags on other side. Cut out flags. Punch holes at top and bottom of each flag's straight side as indicated. Thread straw through the holes so the flag "flies" from the top of the straw.
Fair food is all about portability. Fill your snack table with tricks and treats in bags, cups, cones, boxes -- and of course, on a stick. Our favorite circus-appropriate fare includes lollipops, peanuts, popcorn, and animal crackers.
Work your magic on fresh little faces with a fan-favorite face-painting station. Use a rubber stamp, such as a cheerful butterfly, and water-soluble ink. After stamping, blot the design with a napkin, then fill in details with a face-painting stick or paintbrush. Dip the stick or brush into water before applying nontoxic makeup that's easy to remove with soap and water.
A tub of water and rubber ducks are all you need for this classic carnival game. Provide tickets at each game that can be turned in for prizes -- here, kids check the number on a floating duck to see how many tickets they've won.
Kids toss tennis balls into open-top jack-o'-lanterns set as targets on and against hay bales. Each pumpkin is marked with a number indicating how many tickets the score is worth. To set up this game, cut the tops off of artificial pumpkins (we used Funkins) and decorate them by drilling holes and cutting out stars. Attach downloaded ticket markers using aqua pushpins and arrange the pumpkins on hay bales, assigning point values based on difficulty. Let each child toss three balls; count up the points won and award tickets accordingly.
The downloadable label for this guessing game is generic, making it easy to fill the jar with whatever you'd like. Just have each child pick a number that they think is closest to the amount of items in the jar, and award tickets to the child with the closest guess!
When the games are over, kids can cash in their winning tickets at the prize table. Downloadable ticket "price tags" displayed on photo holders let kids know how many game tickets they need to earn for each trinket or treat.
A toy cash register -- vintage or new -- lets your party guests feel all grown-up as they redeem their tickets for prizes. Let each child take turns checking out their peers' tickets and prizes.
Send your guests home with frosted circus animal cookies. Ours are bakery-bought, but you could frost your own animal-shape sugar cookies or simply opt for animal crackers. To package these oh-so-adorable treats, first download and print the "Thank You!" tags onto cardstock. Cut around light blue pattern using scallop-edge scissors. Punch a hole near the top of the tag. Place squares of aqua or aqua-stripe paper napkins into glassine envelopes as backing. Insert cookies into envelopes. Wrap a doubled length of orange-and-white twine around each package. Slip one end of twine through the hole in the tag and tie twine in a bow.