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REAL PARTIES: Carnival Caper Birthday

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Carnival Birthday Party Dessert Table Ideas

This contemporary “Carnival Caper” birthday party looks like so much fun – it makes me want to jump right into the pictures!

Commissioned and organized by Bianca of Peekaboo Magazine (an Australian publication) and designed by Sharnel of Australia-based Sharnel Dollar Designs, the fabulous sweets table is filled with lots of bright colors and an aura of whimsy that’s conjured up through fun touches like vintage wind-up toys, creative “risers” created from rolls of circus tickets, and wooden spoons and labels that read “Eat Me!” and “Drink Me“.

Carnival Birthday Party Dessert Table Ideas

Carnival Birthday Party Dessert Table Ideas

Read on for more fun pics and all the details, as told by Sharnel

Carnival Birthday Party Dessert Table Ideas

“We wanted to recreate the vibrant color and fun feeling that is evoked when at a carnival or circus!

The sweets table consisted of ice cream cups with chocolate topping, cupcakes and bags of popcorn. For take home treats the children were giving a big top favor box (from Favor Makers) that they could fill up with giant freckles and smarties, gummi bears, fantales, choo choo bars and redskins.

Carnival Birthday Party Dessert Table Ideas

To add a touch of whimsy to the table, we placed replica vintage wind up toys on top of entry ticket “risers”. Our custom backdrop replicates a big top tent and the oversized balloons add visual interest and a strong pop of color.

Carnival Birthday Party Dessert Table Ideas

Carnival Birthday Party Dessert Table Ideas

Carnival Birthday Party Dessert Table Ideas

Carnival Birthday Party Dessert Table Ideas

We set up a mini sideshow alley with a childhood favourite – the laughing clowns.  Traditional games like sack races are a great way to get the children involved.  It’s an inexpensive game and has them up and moving!

Carnival Birthday Party Dessert Table Ideas

Carnival Birthday Party Dessert Table Ideas

Photo Credit: The beautiful images were captured by Naomi V Photography

Thanks again to Bianca and Sharnel for sharing this fun party inspiration with us! You can check out more creative ideas from Bianca’s publication: Peekaboo Magazine and from Sharnel’s blog: My Life – My Loves.

Vendor Credit
  • Amazing cake from Jen at A Little Slice of Heaven
  • Tin wind up elephant and clown from I Love Parties
  • Striped baking cups from Paper Eskimo available at Details, Details
  • Custom backdrop by Sharnel Dollar Designs
  • Bamboo spoons from Details, Details (custom stamping available too!)
  • Circus tent favor boxes from Etsy shop Favor Makers
  • Popcorn bags from I Love Parties
  • Oversized round balloons from Sharnel Dollar Designs
By |2018-02-12T10:26:42+00:00October 11th, 2010|Kids Birthday, Parties for Boys, Parties for Girls|

About the Author:

Jennifer Sbranti is the founder of Hostess with the Mostess®, a creative living and party planning resource established in 2006. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Sonny, and daughters Macy (8) and Rylie (6). Sbranti’s work has been featured in media outlets such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, Real Simple, People, InStyle Weddings, and Extra! TV. She has designed creative content and unique live events for several well-respected brands, including Mattel, Coca-Cola, The Hershey Company, Toys”R”Us, Pottery Barn Kids, and Starbucks.


  1. Amy @ Blowout Party! October 11, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Sharnel is sooo talented, her parties are incredible! Love this one!

  2. Katie October 11, 2010 at 6:58 am

    OMG I’m in love with this dessert table! The presentation of every single elements from the cake to the ice cream is amazing!!!

  3. Rowaida Flayhan October 11, 2010 at 7:01 am

    wow so colorful and beautiful!

  4. Sarah October 11, 2010 at 7:03 am

    Wow! This is amazing. The risers made from ticket rolls are so inventive.

  5. HerBOLD Events October 11, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Wow, what a beautiful party. I’m not usually a circus fan, but this was done so thoughtfuly and elegantly! Love it!

  6. Louisa - FLIPAWOO Designs October 11, 2010 at 7:40 am

    I love the colors and everything about this! I’ve always been drawn to big, round balloons as well.

  7. [email protected] By Tammy October 11, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Great job! Everything is so colorful and fun. I love the sweet table the most. Well done.

  8. Latisha Horton (Eccentric Designs) October 11, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Love, love, love this party! Love all of the details and the splashes of color all over the party – excellent job Sharnel!

  9. [email protected] October 11, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    WOW! So simple yet so captivating. Stunning and oh so much fun!!

  10. Custom Wedding Labels October 11, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Love the stickers on the jars and popcorn bags! Get the Look here! Custom labels Great customizable stickers that are great to stick anywhere!

  11. Notes from Holly St. October 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    how cute…i love this idea!

  12. Sharnel October 11, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Thank you everyone for your comment about this party. I had alot of fun pulling it together.

  13. dora taylor October 12, 2010 at 11:47 am


  14. [email protected] Pink Frosting October 14, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Gorgeous! The big bulbous balloons are gorgeous. I’m so glad they’re back with a vengeance!

  15. julie October 24, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Gosh, this is a stunning party!

  16. Immy April 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    What an awesome birthday party. Loved your dessert table. How did you keep the ice cram from melting in the cups? Really liked the ice cream cups.

  17. Immy April 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    If you don’t mind me asking, where did you get those laughing clowns?

  18. Katie August 11, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    I am wanting to find some of the cute old fashioned beverage bottles but I really want to stay away from glass since we will have a lot of young guests, any direction on finding some cheap (we have a large guest list) plastic bottles???

  19. EventTrender February 20, 2012 at 6:40 am

    We just love this take on the Big Top Theme! We had to feature this party and a few other Circus theme ideas http://www.eventtrender.com/blog/2012/02/the-circus-is-in-town.html

  20. Ann March 21, 2012 at 11:05 am

    This is so cute!!!! I love everything about it! Where did you get the super cute glass bottles?

  21. jane @ ledingham October 5, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    I love this carnival style party theme, I just started stocking the cupcake cups on my website, and they are so popular!

Comments are closed.