This playful, bright theme turns the party into a circus.
Everything in this slideshow
Set the mood with bright, festive invites featuring colorful party pennants or circus-theme illustrations like show elephants and big-top tents. (Toss a few tickets inside the envelope along with the invitation to give it a playful touch.)
Create your own pennant garlands using scrapbook papers that match the party colors. Purple, lime green, and yellow, or red-and-white striped papers are fun choices.
What You'll Need
12-inch sheets of card stock or scrapbook paper
Yarn, cut to desired length
Cut the 12-inch card stock into two 6-x-12-inch strips.
Fold each piece into a 6-inch square with the folded side at the top. Starting in the center of the bottom edge, cut diagonally to the right edge of the folded side at the top. Do the same for the left side, and you should be left with a triangle or "pennant" shape.
Cover the inside of the triangle with glue, then fold it over part of the yarn so that the yarn lies directly inside the fold and the two sides of the triangle are secured together. Repeat until you have a pennant garland at your desired length.
After the garland is done, embellish some of the individual flags with adhesive felt letters to spell out words and phrases like "baby," "mom," "big top," "step right up," "family," or baby's name (if you know it).
Another fun idea? Watch a few how-to video clips (YouTube is your friend) and whip up some homemade balloon animals -- then use them as cute, colorful centerpieces for food and gift tables.
Forbidden Word Ticket Stubs
Colorful carnival tickets serve as both napkin holders and props for a game. Tear off a string of 10 tickets, loop it tightly around a rolled napkin, and secure with tape or a staple. Then take another string of five tickets, ripping the first ticket along the perforated line halfway from the top and ripping the fifth ticket halfway from the bottom on the other. Link together over the taped ring of tickets, making a ticket "bow," and place one napkin at each place setting.
Once all guests have arrived, announce a list of words that partygoers are not allowed to say during the shower -- including during present-opening time. Make them common shower words like "baby," "cute," and the name of the mom-to-be. If one guest overhears another utter one of the forbidden words, she gets to steal a ticket. Give prizes at the end of the shower to the two guests who've collected the most tickets during the festivities.
As a fun surprise for guests, hire a fortune teller to come to the party and tells guests' fortunes as they mingle.
Offer guests a buffet of popular carnival foods, but with a grown-up twist. Good choices include things like crunchy, baked chicken strips made with cornflakes and boneless chicken breasts, French fries with spicy ketchup or garlicky aioli for dipping, veggie skewers, cocktail-size pigs in a blanket (instead of hot dogs), corn on the cob, and apple slices served with mini cups of caramel dipping sauce.
For snacking beforehand, set out big bowls of popcorn and let guests choose their toppings -- plain butter, a spiked chili-butter, a sweet butter, etc.
Crunchy Chicken Fingers
Makes: 4 servings
For a sweet treat, serve individual portions of cotton candy in simple white cups. Make sure to purchase the candy no more than a day in advance, since cotton candy deflates over time. Put a plastic bag over your hand and use a knife to separate the cotton candy into small bunches to place in the cups (the bag prevents the heat of your hand from meeting the candy). Serve immediately.
A "big top" party calls for b-i-g treats. Giant lollipops are the perfect grab-and-go favor for a day at the circus. Embellish the treats with a bright tag that reads "Thank you for coming" and follow our instructions for an oh-wow way to display them.
What You'll Need
Styrofoam or floral foam
Using a serrated knife, cut two circles out of Styrofoam or floral foam, one an inch or two smaller than the other. Push a few toothpicks into the center of the larger circle to sturdy it, and stack the smaller round on top (like a wedding cake), pushing down so the layers are flush.
Push the lollipop sticks into the foam evenly around the bottom round.
Spray the entire structure with spray adhesive and then completely cover with popcorn to create the illusion of lollipops standing in a cascade of popcorn. Voila -- you've got an amazing favor display that can also be used as a centerpiece.
Jennifer Sbranti is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of HostessWithTheMostess.com, and author of the HWTM Daily Blog.
Copyright © 2008 Meredith Corporation.
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