This is such a bobby dazzler of a theme for a birthday celebration as you can create real wow factor for very little effort. Boys and girls seem to love the sounds, sights and tastes of the circus in equal measure so it’s a great party for siblings sharing their big day. In fact I think it’s such a fabulous theme for a party, I chose it for Bonker’s Boy’s 2nd birthday.
My husband was tasked with the job of creating the invitations as I’m not such a whizz at graphic design. He based the invites on the magnificent vintage posters that travelling circuses used to use to advertise their arrival in town. He did such a terrific job, I couldn’t decide between the two options so ended up sending out both. However if you’re not feeling creative there are a multitude of circus inspired invitations available both on the high street and online.
We had opted to have the party at home and transformed the main party area into the circus big top by hanging spotted bunting from the ceiling and pinning up lots of brightly coloured circus posters all around the room. The fireplace was adorned with circus themed toys and my mum was responsible for creating some simple circus animal decorations from coloured card.
Guests arrived to traditional circus tunes we’d downloaded from I tunes, and were greeted by Bobbo the clown who we’d hired to keep the guests entertained with his magic tricks and balloon modelling. For those that wanted to dress up we’d put together a box full of fancy dress bits for the guests to help themselves to.
I loved creating the party tea as there are just so many things to serve that conjure up the feeling of the circus. Sandwiches were cut into the shapes of circus animals. Babybels, cherry tomatoes and bowls of red jelly were presented as clown noses. Big bowls of popcorn were dotted across the red and white striped tablecloth (which was made from some very cheap Ikea fabric and has since been transformed into a cosy beanbag for Bonker’s boy.) There were mini cupcakes decorated with rainbow coloured sweeties for the smaller children and full sized clown cupcakes for the older ones. Chocolate animal biscuits and candy peanuts completed the party spread. If I was doing this theme for older children I would definitely serve up hot dogs in retro cardboard trays and have an abundance of candy floss and ice cream on offer.
One of my favourite details from the party were the marshmallow weights reminiscent of the ones used by the magnificent strongman of days gone by. They were created by simply putting a shop bought marshmallow on each end of a striped paper straw that had been cut in half.
The birthday cake was an (ever so wonky) circus big top. I baked a huge swiss roll mixture in a giant cupcake mould and decorated first with butter icing and then with strips of striped sweets readily available at most supermarkets. Sugar circus characters I’d purchased from the internet, distracted from it’s imperfections. Topped with a number two candle and a bunch of balloons, the cake was complete.
All the guests were reluctant for the party to end(apart from one daddy who had a fear of clowns who couldn’t leave soon enough.) However all cheered up when handed their going home gifts consisting of popcorn boxes filled with a homemade ringmaster moustache, a giant swirly lollipop, a foam red nose and a tub of bubbles.
Over the next few day I will be featuring the recipe for the clown cupcakes. Not just great for a circus party but also as an after school treat.
If you are short of time, fancy a more professional looking cake or are looking for party entertainers do check out the Tunbridge Wells Kids on the Go party section.