The twins turned five this month, and for the first time we hired a village hall to hold a proper party for them. Keen to save our pennies, we decided against outsourcing the entertainment, cavalierly deciding to go DIY all the way. We hadn’t planned to theme the party (my theme preference was ‘birthday party’), but the kids picked up on the fact that the other parties they get invited to have themes, so we couldn’t get away with it after all. After our trip to the Just So Festival, the twins decided a circus theme would be fun, and we ran with that.
We opted for a fairground-style approach with a few activity ‘stalls’ set up: tin can crash, hole in one, skittles, facepainting (they could choose from a clown, elephant or lion) and temporary tattoos. We also had a corner of the hall for circus skills with a couple of diablos, plate spinning sets, juggling balls and a ‘tightrope’ to balance on (a simple length of 2×4 timber, made to look stripy with the addition of some red electrical tape).
When I saw the tutorial for the DIY circus party hats (pictured above) on Oh Happy Day, I knew I had to give them a go. I’d originally planned to make one for every guest, but I ran out of time, so I decided to make them for the birthday boy and girl instead. The tutorial was easy-to-follow, and I just added a number 5 (cut from my Cricut mini) to the front of each hat. I brought them out when the kids sat down to eat and they were a huge hit with the twins.
After the mini activities we played all the old favourites – musical bumps, musical statues, and pass the parcel was a must. Rather than fill each layer of parcel with a sweet, I bought a pack of foam clown noses on eBay, and each child got one as they unwrapped the next layer. Then they could wear the noses so I could tell who’d had a turn! We finished up with a game of popcorn relay – the kids were divided into teams and then they took turns to transport popcorn from one bucket to another at the other end of the room using a cup. The winners were the team to empty their bucket first.
I wanted to avoid filling party bags with all the usual plastic crap that clutters up your house after a party and actually costs a lot when you have to fill 20+ party bags. I’ve wanted to make these storage jars with animal lids for years (I saw them in a mag pre-Pinterest), so I thought I could do those, and fill them with popcorn with sprinkles. I glued the animals onto the lids (tip: use superglue, not a hot glue gun) and sprayed them with silver or orange paint. Unfortunately for some reason the paint on the animals didn’t dry, and stayed really tacky. I was stumped until a friend suggested covering them with glitter and actually we all thought they looked even better with their added bling.
I’d been saving a huge box that our new garden table came in for months, thinking it would come in useful, and decided to make a strongman photo prop. The kids had fun popping their heads through the hole and posing for pictures!
You’re not getting any pictures from the party itself because it was two hours of wonderfully chaotic carnage (both in how it looked and the general organisation)! My camera didn’t make it out of the bag, and this shot of the twins was all I managed to snap on my phone after all the guests had left and when their facepaint was all wonderfully smudged. But I’m pretty sure everyone had fun, and I know the twins had a total ball, which is all that really matters. I had planned to finish up the party by letting the children throw wet sponges at my head, but I chickened out at the last minute. I’ll save that for another year.