First Birthday Circus!

My niece Abigail turned one last week, hooray!!

We threw her a huge circus party & I took plenty of photos to share all the fun details!

I tried weeding through the pictures & still ended up with almost 50 that I wanted to share…oops!

So if you don’t make it all the way to the bottom of the post, I really don’t blame you!

PS- I plan to do tutorials later on some of the things you’ll see photos of.

There were a few things we planned to do or tried to do that did not work out because the wind. It was a rather blustery day for sure. So some of the decor didn’t work out & the bowling game kept blowing over etc. It was still pretty great though!


We wanted people to enter through the side gate to the backyard, so we put out balloons and these log slices to guide the way.


There’s the birthday girl!

[I did a post on her outfit & how I made the tutu here btw]

Everyone entered through a balloon arch- we used pvc instead of helium much cheaper!


My brother did some oh-so-popular chalk art on this chalkboard I revamped to greet everyone.


I gave this old changing table a vintage pink look for the party. I tacked polka dot fabric to the back too. The top shelf had some photos of the birthday girl & containers of party blowers.

The second shelf held all the party hats we dressed up with polka dots & stripes.

The bottom shelf contained prize bags for all the kids. My sister in law went to the Dollar Tree & bought enough boy & girl surprise bags for everyone. They were a really cute way to do their prizes in a circusy way!

By the time I got over there to take a picture, most of the shelf had been taken apart so I didn’t do a full photo. I always regret not giving myself time to take good pictures of everything set up beforehand. I’m going to work really hard on not doing that anymore!


I took apart her welcome wreath & turned it into this bright burlap one.


I gave my little brother the job of making a paper chain from yellow tickets (Dollar Tree) to hang over the gift area. I set up an old red flyer wagon to corral all the gifts in/around, but as you can see it was quickly buried. This girl got so many gifts!!! Definitely more than she got at Christmas!


We tied balloons onto anything we could! The boys set up a large tent to house all the food.


I used a small square table for plates, cups, etc. & some yummy lemonade. We used elephants everywhere, starting with the invitations which you may have caught a glimpse of on Instagram. I’ll try to share more photos of those later. I bought the image in the silhouette store & cut a bunch out of brown kraft paper. Then I tied them around plastic silverware sets wrapped up in a paper napkin with bakers twine. I used a red plastic basket from the Dollar tree to store them.


I set the lemonade container up on top of a red plastic tub from the Dollar Tree. Just turn it upside down & it looks like a circus stand (What are those things called? Anyone?).  I set out little containers of peanuts & M&M’s here & there for easy snacking.


No party is complete without a bunch of pretty paper straws! am I right?


This was the “sweets” side of the tent. I made large signs like this one for all the games too using my silhouette, brown kraft paper, & red poster board (I cut them all in half). Then we punched 2 holes toward the top & attached them to the tent & fence with floral wire.

I made all the small signs real quick using pic monkey then printed them onto brown kraft paper & glued them to some circus themed paper. I found a huge pack of small circus paper at Hobby Lobby for less than $5! We used the paper everywhere.

I originally planned to use yellow tablecloths & make stripes against the white tent backing, but the crazy wind did not allow for that. Oh well! I also wanted all the paper flowers & things to be hung in 2 big bunches with balloons in between; but this job was handed over to boys so I’m lucky I got what I did get!


We ordered these cute little 1st birthday circus themed boxes from Oriental Trading & filled them with animal crackers. They looked really cute sitting in the 2 tier iron basket.


I found a few popcorn boxes at the Dollar Tree & covered up the popcorn label with my own. We made paper cones from the cute circus paper & filled them with store bought cotton candy. We cut holes in the bottom of small boxes & placed them in the bottom. That way the cones could stick out easily. I covered up the box with some leftover Easter grass.

Warning: Cotton candy melts quick in the heat. It will shrivel up & become hard as a rock! So do not take them out of the package until right before serving.


We got all the clear plastic boxes from Oriental trading too. They served their purpose well but are disposable, so do not be fooled.

There was real food too. I must’ve somehow missed getting that picture. We served hot dogs in hot dogs boats (Hobby Lobby), corn dogs, french fries, nacho chips, chili, queso, hot sauce, jumbo pretzels, & fruit.


My sister in law’s mom found this adorable kid’s bench with circus animals on it, so it was perfect for the party! We tied some balloons to it & sat a basket full of popcorn bags by it. The bags came from the Dollar Tree too.


Me & my mom made these dum-dum topiaries for the table centerpieces. The tables were also covered in plain white wrapping paper so the kids could draw on them. I covered 2 tin cans with pink polka dot burlap, blue satin ribbon, & a strip of yellow tickets using hot glue. Then they got filled with crayons.


My Nana has 3 vintage quilts that she often lets us use in the grass for parties, etc. This was no exception. I tossed them on the ground for extra seating & threw some circusy stuffed animals on top for the kids to play with.


You can’t forget the moon bounce either! Abigail was scared to go in at first, but once we got her in it she couldn’t stop laughing! Too cute!


My awesome brother made this beanbag toss from a box! My mom made some polka dot beanbags to with it but it looks like the kids would rather throw the animals!

We also had a spray away game with water guns, golf tees, & ping pong balls. The wind made that one a little unpopular…


The ring toss is always a winner! Especially with old coke bottles & crates. The rings were easy to make too!


Another fun game was the duck fishing. The wind was obviously taking control over the ducks though. We just hot glued round magnets (craft section at Walmart) to some of Abigail’s rubber ducks & glued 2 more magnets to some string tied to old fishing rod pieces. Sticks work too!

There was a plastic bowling set too,  but the wind made that one difficult as well.


The sack race was a hit with all us “older kids.” We made into a 2-legged race/sack race & fell all over the place.


See? Loads of falling fun. Tried to convince all the grandparents to have a race, but they weren’t falling for it.


I made her a cute name banner using my silhouette & patterned scrapbook paper. I used chevron for the background then striped paper on top & polka dot paper for the letters. It got reused after the party & is hanging in her room with clothespins on a line now. Looks great!


Hers the lovely birthday girl in all her goodness! I’m not sure what she thought about everybody singing to her.

I made a tutu for the high chair using the same method as the tutu, just twice as long & with elastic instead of ribbon. We attached it by tying the elastic around some slots in her tray. You could use tape or velcro if your high chair doesn’t have holes like this one. I took off her normal high chair cover & slid on a matching pink pillowcase for the party.


This is her polka dot cake from the local bakery, it was funfetti with yummy cream cheese icing inside. We covered the fence behind the cake area with blue polka dot wrapping paper, which was not easy with the wind & the dirty wooden fence, but somehow we managed.


Favors were animal cracker boxes, of course. I made a mini sign with a cardboard circle (from a frozen pizza), a paper ribbon, more circus paper, & a thank you stamp.


I made three of these little jars to add around. I used bright bouncy balls for a filler & stuck in a paper straw with a wash tape flag, a windmill (Dollar Tree), & a 1 mylar balloon (Oriental Trading). I tied bakers twine, rick rack, & 2 balloons around each. The wind kind of did what it wanted with these & the other 2 ended up on the ground a lot. Darn wind. But they were really cute prior to going outside!

I think this wind ruined my take on outside parties forever. Now some random photos of everyone having a good time!


This girl has always wanted to be on my blog. So here she is- Olivia.


My dad played clown for a while & Abigail absolutely loved it.


Found some colored  mustaches in the Target One Spot, perfect for the Photo Booth!



Don’t those red chucks totally complete her outfit!?


All the tassels hung between the windows designated the photo booth area. I intended on hanging some bright polka dot paper back there but after the struggle with the paper behind the cake table, I decided brick would probably be a lot worse. So we went for the tassels instead, which the wind still ruined, but it worked.


Abigail havin fun with some of her aunties.


Hey there’s us! He was a trooper that day for sure.


On this side of the yard we used balloons for game markers. My brother painted a bunch of yardsticks ($.50 at Walmart) with leftover chalkboard paint & my sister tied all the balloons on.

On the other side we did the same thing but used red & white striped pennants (Oriental Trading). They looked really, really good! Hunt for them in the background of other pics! We strung them from the fence to the sticks. We didn’t use them on the other side because we ran out. I thought 100 ft. would  be enough! We strung it on the backside of the fence on the other side of the yard but the wind got involved again & you know how that goes by now.


She wanted the nose!


We had some fun with the balloon animals too. That’s my littlest brother Nathan.


She was a more interested in the balloons than the cake. She doesn’t know what she’s missing yet!


She really wasn’t good at the whole smashing thing either. She just wanted to get out & get it off her hands. What’s the matter with this kid!


Sooo my sister took over & smashed the cake herself….


Then it got smashed on my other brother’s face…fun times. 😉


After cake smashing was all done we brought out some cupcakes & ice cream toppings for sundaes.

Then it was present time & this girl was happy.


She especially loved her Olaf & will not let him go!


Jackie ( the dog) even got into the circus spirit. Oh I haven’t mentioned we have a horse for a dog have I? She’s an Irish Wolfhound.


I had to get a photo with the birthday gal too. 🙂

Let me know if you’ve got any questions!

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