My (LITERAL) Three Ring Circus!

 I don’t know about you, but in our house, it’s never a birth”day“.  Birth”week”, Birth”fortnight”.  In all honesty, it’s really more like birth”month”.  With us, it works.  Especially when it’s your birthday month.

If you child is anything like mine, once you have made the decision to attend the circus, every morning until the event will be greeted with “how much longer?”  Apparently I must not be alone in this matter, as Ringling Brothers has a fantastic website!  Not only do they have a ‘Fun Zone’ page with circus themed games and activities, but they also have a desktop train you can download which counts down the days until your child sees the show.  It helped the waiting time pass very quickly in our house.

Bentley’s 5th Birthday Bash

Ring (Part) I: Trains and Elephants – Does Life Get Any Better?

My son has always had an infatuation with anything that has wheels (wheelchairs included).  Trains + circus animals + up past bedtime= lots of fun!  (Peanuts, popcorn, and cotton candy in the car didn’t hurt either.)  It was a fun family night sharing a unique experience, and the best part: it was free!  Days left till party: 3

Ring (Part) II: Lunching with the Elephants

The road between the Sprint Center and the Power & Light District was closed off – tables and chairs set up.  Eating on a what is normally a busy street, watching clowns, and entertained by elephants made for an amazing afternoon.  Not only was this event free, but I also scored party favors too!  (No, I didn’t steal them!  Ringling Brothers passed out promotional stickers and clown noses.  I asked to purchase some for the party, but they were very generous and gave them to me!)  Days left till party: 1

Ring (Part) III:  Rangling Circus Chaos!

Yes, my family are a bunch of goofey goobers in our intentional attire to party coordination!

Of course, no birthday party is complete without (cup)cake!  Since this was a bit of an unusual party, we had all the guests meet up one hour before the start of the show.  Weeks prior, were to lucky to have stumbled upon the most enchanting park!  Brand spanking new, built atop a parking garage, and only a two block walk from the show – does it get any better?  The only snag I encountered was the ability to reach anyone regarding use of the facility.  The parking garage tenants knew nothing, nor did leasing businesses – located in the same building!  Apparently the company that built it was not from the area.  Plus, it was so new nobody even knew about it (including the businesses directly beneath it).  So fingers crossed, we continued forward with intentions of using it for the party.

All went well, no issues encountered over usage (whew!).  I must say it was so nice for the kids to be able to run around without parents concerning themselves regarding a nearby road (never mind the fall to the ground!  Just kidding!).  Just enough time to run around, eat popcorn cupcakes, open gifts, grab goody bags and go!

 We arrived at our seats just as the show was about to begin.  The kids were engaged, parents (somewhat) relaxed.  Tigers, elephants, and various other oddities entertained the children the entire time!

When it was all over, the children mustered any last amount of energy (is that even possible?  Children – run out of energy?) for a quick pic – at this point, happiness was optional.  Remember – they are (about) 5.  Sugar crashed, run ragged, still processing what they saw, tired 5 year olds.  Mission accomplished.

I must say this was quite possibly the easiest birthday party I’ve had – it’s also the first that hasn’t been hosted either at our home, or my parents home.

Invitations: traditionally I am very opposed to e-mail invites.  I love to make the invitations, and send them.  What kid doesn’t love getting their own mail, and what adult doesn’t love getting any mail that’s not a bill?  But this was a bit different, and e-mail was more of a must.  We sent an e-mail out to each family stating that we would pay for the ticket of the child invited.  The parents were welcome to join if they chose, if not we would pick up and drop off.  We gave a very narrow window for response so we could reserve the tickets as soon as possible.  Each family paid for any additional tickets needed.  I was a little worried about this whole set up, but it worked out really well.

Goody Bags: easy peasy!   Small popcorn boxes were filled with goodies wrapped up in cellophane wrapping.  The popcorn boxes should be available at your local craft store, and they are super cheap.  I purchase mine at Hobby Lobby.  Peanuts, cotton candy, and circus animal crackers were evenly distributed among each box.  They were purchased from Deal$ at $1 a piece.  Each container of cotton candy, peanuts, and animal crackers was enough to stock three goody boxes.  (Not to forget the previously scored Ringling Brothers Circus clown nose and stickers too!)

Cupcakes:  Popcorn cupcake recipe is in the book Hello, Cupcake!  If you do not already own this book, it is a must!  If you love to bake, have kids, and like to decorate your kitchen concoctions, this book is for you!  I arranged the cupcakes in three large theater popcorn tubs with some tissue paper placed underneath to prop them up.  The kids devoured them – cupcakes and marshmallows, what’s not to like?  Again, the popcorn tubs are available at your local craft stores.

Greenroof Park: free, and best of all not at my house.  Saves momma much energy pre and post cleaning, and more time with the birthday boy!

Circus Tickets: They were $12 each. (And, you may be able to get away without having to pay a service charge on all those tickets by contacting your events center and reserving as a group.  No guarantees, but no harm in checking.  Worked in this case.)  Considering the fact that it seems near impossible to host a children’s birthday party for under $200 by the time you rent a facility (maybe), purchase a cake, pizza, soda, goody bags, invitations, and thank you cards, this party was actually far more economical than you would think.

Invitations: $0 (e-mail)

Tickets 8 kids @ $12 each: $96

Goody Bags: $10 (or less)

Cupcakes: $10 (made at home, so I’m guessing)

Picnic Blanket: $5 (fabric purchased at JoAnns with one of their fabulous coupons!)

Popcorn Containers, Plates, Napkins, Cups, and 2 Liter Soda: $10 (or less)

Park Facility: $0

Thank You Cards: $10 (or less – we used a picture of one of the elephants from the lunch and placed it on a larger piece of cardstock inside a clear vellum envelope.  We made and addressed these the day before, so all we had to do is have Bentley write them.)

Total: $141  (ish)

Getting to actually enjoy your childs birthday: priceless! 😉

There you go.  Having a birthday party at the circus.  Just make sure you have lots of good friends with you to help rangle all the children in the direction they are supposed to go.  (I know, you could handle this without help, but why?  Enjoy your kids birthday!)

Hey!  Check out more inspiration for your next par-tay here.

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