A guide to making a circus theme birthday party for your child. Ideas for circus themed party invitations, decorations, food, games, costumes and prizes.

Circus Fun is a great party theme for a children’s birthday party. Simply choose games and activities that suit the age of your guests and then get ready to enjoy all the fun of the fair.

Circus Theme Invitation Ideas

  • Make a poster just like the ones which advertise real circuses, and send it to your guests in a rolled-up tube. You might like to start with “Hear ye, hear ye, the birthday circus is coming to town.”
  • Cut your card into an ‘Admit One’ style ticket tab, and write all the party details on the back. Each child will have to present their ‘ticket’ to enter the circus.
  • Cut your card into the shape of a circus tent, and attach a flap of coloured fabric to the front. When your guest rolls back the tent flap, the party details will be underneath.

Circus Theme Decorations

Make your room look like the inside of a circus tent by stringing ribbons of crepe paper from the centre of your ceiling – out to the walls. The closer you put the strips together, the more effective it will be. Leave tails of crepe paper hanging down the walls to get a real circus tent look.

Rope off a circus ring in the centre of your lounge. Put chairs and stools all around the edge, and get ready to have your party INSIDE the ring.

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Circus Theme Games and Activities

Side Show Games

Make your own birthday party alley by adapting everyday games. Try:

  • Painting a giant clowns face with a good sized hole cut in the mouth. Kids have to toss balls or hacky sacks through the open mouth to get a prize.
  • Stacking tin cans into a pyramid shape. Children have to knock them all over by tossing a ball from a distance.
  • Making a giant ring toss. Children have to throw hoola hoops over a big cardboard box.
  • Bobbing for apples. Fill a large bin with water and apples, and see who can get the most apples without using their hands.


Let the children make their own juggling balls to take home. You will need a pile of balloons, some scissors and some playdough.

Cut the neck off the first balloon and stuff it full with dough until you can’t fit in any more. Cut the neck off a second balloon and pull it over the first, so that the dough gap is covered. (You will end up with a spot of the balloon underneath showing through.) Keep repeating the process until you have 5 or 6 layers of balloon, and the juggling ball is tight.

You can use store bought playdough, or make your own by mixing ½ cup oil with 3 tablespoons of salt. Add 1 cup of boiling water and stir until the salt is dissolved. Slowly add 2-3 cups of flour, kneading as you go. (If you want to colour your dough, add food colouring at the same time as you add water.)

You could make this activity extra special by having someone come and teach the children to juggle, or by printing out some instructions for everyone to follow.

Other Activities

  • Have a table with paper plates, crayons, scissors, string and tape, and have every child make their own clown mask when they arrive.
  • For a new twist on old favourites try Pin the Nose on the Clown, or Musical Hoola Hoops.

Circus Theme Party Food

  • Use the lids of photocopy paper boxes to make snack trays for every child. Fill them with a hotdog, oven baked chips, some popcorn and a fizzy drink. Just like the real thing!
  • Make clown face biscuits by icing the bikkies in white icing and decorating them with lollies. Red wine gums for rosy cheeks, a red pebble for the nose, raspberry liquorice for the mouth, and marshmallow twists for the hair. With a little bit of imagination you could make a different clown for every child.
  • Make candy popcorn balls by stirring popped popping corn into coloured icing. Once the popcorn is well coated, use your hands to mould the mixture into balls. The icing will set hard and hold the candy balls in shape.
  • Make circus tent cupcakes by icing each cupcake with triangle panels of bright colours. Attach a paper flag to a toothpick, and put it in the centre of the cake to make the top of the tent.

Circus Theme Costumes

  • Clown costumes are easy! Just put together brightly coloured T-shirts, with baggy pants and braces, or oversized overalls. Paint your face, add a wig, a funny hat, big shoes, a plastic flower, and you’re done.
  • Black pants and jacket, a white top, and a red bow tie make the perfect ringmaster costume. Add a top hat (which you can make from black cardboard), and a wand made from dowel, then the circus is yours to present.
  • Take on the look of the jungle with camouflage pants, khaki top and a cowboy styled hat. Add a whip (which you could make yourself), and lions beware.

Circus Theme Prizes and Loot Bags

Instead of using traditional loot bags, try some of these circus styled bags instead.

  • Make circus cones by cutting a large circle out of card, then cutting a slice from the side to the centre. Wrap the card around itself to form a cone, and tape it into place. Attach a cardboard handle and it’s ready to go.
  • Make a ringmasters top hat out of black cardboard. Simply wrap the card around to form a cylinder and tape it into place. Add a flat brim and fill it with circus themed treats.
  • Take an ordinary brown paper bag and decorate it up to look like a circus popcorn box. Fill it with party loot, including a packet of unpopped popcorn, so the children can make it at home.
  • Look for cheap circus themed prizes like stickers, stamps, rubbers and magnets. You can purchase cute clown ornaments from emporium type stores for just a few dollars.
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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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