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Vintage Carnival Birthday Party {Nostalgic Fun!}

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carnival birthday party dessert table

Carnival/Circus inspired themes hold a special place in my heart, so this incredibly stylish Vintage Carnival Birthday Party has me smitten… not to mention craving french fries and caramel corn! ;)  From fabulous paper details and nostalgic decor to creative treats, costumes, and activities, Lyndsey from LuLu’s Party Designs did a great job bringing this “backyard carnival” to life for her oldest son and daughter, who happen to celebrate birthdays just 3 days apart.

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

  • Felt “Hanging Monkey” felt dessert table decoration
  • “Patches the Clown” cookie jar, straw flags & a magic show from Patches himself!
  • Watermelon, hot dogs, french fries, caramel apples & other “carny” style eats
  • Matching birthday outfits (including an adorable little bow tie!)A petting zoo and photo booth for classic state fair style fun

clown straw flags

carny love sign

clown and petting zoo carnival birthday party activities

carnival birthday party invitation

carnival birthday party with outdoor arrow signs

carnival party dresser

carnival theme food

carnival party stripe bags

carnival fruit lattice pies

caramel apple food label

caramel apples

carnival party candy labels

carnival theme photo booth

PARTY DETAILS, as told by Lyndsey


Our two oldest have birthdays that are only three days apart. So we have a combined birthday every year. Developing a theme that works for a boy and girl can be a little tricky. But this year we had no problems! Each year in early October, we take the kids to the county fair and have the most memorable and sweet times. Since these are some of our favorite memories, we decided to create a party that had a carnival feel.

We (LuLu’s Party Designs) designed a custom suite for our sweeties. We knew we wanted to stay away from the expected carnival/circus themes and color palettes that are floating around. So instead, we incorporated traditional carnival images of ferris wheels and pinwheels with muted and vintage-feeling colors and patterns, resulting in a retro, old state fair appeal that had our two hobbits and all of our guests falling in “Carney Love”!


After we developed the Carney Love suite, I knew that I wanted to find vintage pieces and unusual items that would make a statement on our tables and add pops of color. I ordered the antique Fisher-Price Carnival set and Jalopy the Clown on Etsy. And perhaps one of my favorite finds was the hobo Patches the Clown cookie jar (that looked exactly like the Patches the Clown that performed the magic show for the kids at the party). I also wanted something to feature the kids so my husband designed the amazing Sideshow Extraordinaire Poster that described our kids’ quirky traits perfectly and made a great keepsake! We also added a custom made striped fabric backdrop for a pop behind the food and draped handmade popcorn bag banners around the petting zoo. To complete the county-fair feel, we used hay bales throughout for seating.


In keeping with a carnival theme for the food, our guests had carney dogs and french fries followed by some state fair favorites: homemade caramel corn, prize-winning mini pies, and crunchy caramel apples.


The kids’ favorite part of the party was (of course) the entertainment! We had Fair Haven Farms bring out some small animals to create a mini petting zoo for the kids. And Patches the Clown put on a silly magic show where at the climax of the show, he pulled a kitten out of his hat for our daughter! And we couldn’t go without a funny photo booth! All in all it was such a sweet party that gave the birthday boy and girl (as well as all the guests) a good ole” carney time!


And of course as a mother, one of my favorite parts is creating the perfect look for the birthday girl and boy! I knew I wanted something retro and a little funky to make the kids stand out. So I contacted Anna of Amelie Jo Vintage Inspired Kids and she created the perfect custom dress with accents of the retro black and white stripes we used in the paperie. And because I wanted the boys to match, she also made matching bow ties for the birthday boy and dad! And Ashley of Punkee Monkee created the coolest houndstooth pants to top of the birthday boy look!

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  1. Ricka August 21, 2012 at 9:15 am

    One word: WOW!!! I’ve often told my friends that I want to throw my kids a joint carnival party one of these days. This party is AMAZING!!!

  2. mary ivyirizarry August 21, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Amazing!! Im in love with this! it looks like a great party!

  3. Aimee August 27, 2012 at 10:52 am

    What a beautiful birthday and the kids looked so happy..

  4. Teri Bauer Taylor September 1, 2012 at 5:48 pm


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