Circus Party Theme

picture of circus big top                          THE CIRCUSpicture of circus big top

The circus is a magical place, offering excitement & wonder to children of all ages. Whilst television & films may have knocked it off the number one entertainment spot & children no longer wish to run away to join the circus, it is still something enjoyed by everyone. Nowadays you are less likely to see animals performing due to the public’s awareness in their conditions, but these circus themed party ideas use the circus memories of my childhood.

invitation for circus partyKids Party Ideas – Circus theme

Circus Party Invitations

Send out invitations in the shape of a big top or clowns face with the details on the back. Use the clown face template to help you. Alternatively, send out as a flyer advertising the circus coming to town & including the details of the party. Click on circus flyer invitation for our template.

Clown template

Circus Party Decorations

A circus is always colourful, starting from the moment you see the big top & through to all the performers in their costumes.

Start by creating a big top. If you’ve got room in the garden for a marquee, great. If not, use lengths of material to transform an indoor room into a big top. Tie one of the short ends of a piece of material or sheet to a central point on the ceiling such as a light fitting (make sure it’s not so close that it will heat up & burn when the light is on!). Fix the 2 corners of the other end to the wall about 2 foot down from the ceiling so that it makes a triangle. Fix another piece of material to the end of the first so that it covers the wall & hangs to the floor. If the first piece of material is long enough, this can be done in one. Repeat so that the whole of the room is covered.

Decorate the room with balloons, streamers & clown faces on the walls. Print or cut out large versions of the invitations & attach to the walls. Place hoops, diablo & juggling balls around the room for the children to play with. If you know someone that can juggle, get them to come & teach the children.

Circus Party Costumes

Ask everyone to dress as a person or animal connected with the circus such as a ringmaster, clown, strong man, lion, elephant or acrobat.
How about some face painting? Have someone available at the party to paint circus themed faces. Snazaroo do a great range of face paints.

snazaroo face paints



Available from Party Packs


Here are a few ideas:

Lion facepainting for circus themed party

lion – back comb hair or add wig for mane






strongman facepainting

strongman – centre part hair & slick back












clown facepainting

clown – just add wig













For a clown, make elasticated baggy trousers or a picture of clown costumesskirt in colourful material (I’ve used lining material here) using a simple pattern. To make a large bow tie, fold a piece of material 24in x 10in in half so that it is 12in x 10in. Sew up 2 sides and almost to the end of the 3rd, leaving a gap of 2 inches. Turn inside out & handsew the hole. Scrunch the 2 long sides of the material together in the middle & wrap a piece of material 2in x 4in around it & sew in place. Sew onto a t-shirt or make your own top. Some examples are shown below. If wearing a skirt, team with colourful tights. Use a semi-circle of card to make a cone hat & decorate with pompoms. Use pompoms to decorate shoes as well. Use face paints or theatrical makeup to create a clown face.
picture of clown costumes





Image of clown hats









If time is short, check out these costumes at Escapade

picture of clown costumeclown fancy dress costumegirls clown costumeclown flowery fancy dress costume










Circus Party Food image of clown pizza faces

  • animal sandwiches (use animal – shaped cutters)
  • individual clown face pizzas 
  • popcorn
  • safety net attached to bottles full of sand, filled with mini babybel & cheddar
  • horses nosebag (carrots, celery, peppers)

picture of clown juggling

clown picture







  • mini lion bars
  • red grapes on either end of cocktail stick as dumpbells
  • Cadbury’s animal biscuits (available from supermarkets) or make your own ice-cream or candy floss
  • cake in shape of clowns face or big top picture of circus themed plate

This fun range of plates, cups, napkins & tablecover is perfect to compliment your party. Find them at Party Packs





Clown Party Cake

Make a fun & easy clown cake.

Place a Victoria sponge on a board, flat side up. Cover the flat side with jam or buttercream & place another sponge on top  – again, flat side up. If the sponges are too rounded, take a small slice off horizontally to flatten. Spread the top & sides of the cake with a thin layer of seedless jam or buttercream. Roll out the fondant icing so it is large enough to cover the cake & lift on to it using the rollingpin. Smooth the icing over the top of the cake & gradually down the side. Remove any excess with a sharp knife. 

Now the fun part! Use whatever sweets & accessories you could get hold of to create a clown face. Here I have used liquorice allsorts for the eyes, cheeks & buttons; icing for the lips, black laces for the eyelids, brows & mouth; a lolly for the nose & red laces for the hair. I have added a party hat & bowtie & experimented with a piece of material as a ruff. Use some of the remaining jam or buttercream to attach the sweets to the cake or mix a tablespoon of icing sugar with a small amount of water to make a ‘glue’. For the lolly, insert the stick straight into the cake once you are happy with its position.


picture of clown cakepicture of clown cake










Or how about an elephant cake:

picture of elephant shaped cake

Circus Party Games

Horses & bareback riders – the children stand in a circle in pairs, one as the horse & the other as the bareback rider, standing behind the horse. If the person calling shouts horses, all the horses run clockwise round the circle & back to their place where the rider jumps on their back. The last pair to do this are out. If riders are called, they run clock wise round the circle before jumping on the horses back. Chaos reigns if horses & riders are called at the same time!

Pin the nose on the clown – draw the face of a clown on a large piece of paper, including the nose. Cut out a round circle from red paper for each child, the size of the nose & put a piece of Blu-tack on one side & their name on the other. Alternatively, use a round red sticker. Get the children to attach in turn, blindfolded.

Hoop the bottle – put some sand in some plastic bottles set at different distances & with points written on them (ie 5 points if near, 10 points if further away). The children throw 5 hoops each & try to get them over the bottles & gain as many points as possible.

Clown race – split the children into 2 teams. Each team has a clowns outfit laid out infront of them or just an outfit of large clothes. Try to include some large shoes or flippers. On the word go, the first child in each team dresses in the outfit, runs to the other end of the room & back, then takes off the outfit. The 2nd child does exactly the same, until each child in the team has had a go. The first team to finish wins.

Sidestalls – if the party is in the garden or a large hall, how about setting up some sidestall games for the guests to enjoy? These could include hoopla, coconut shy & hooking a duck.
picture of circus big top

picture of circus big top




Circus Party Music

Set the atmosphere with some oompah & circus music such as :

  • Nellie The Elephant
  • Tears of a Clown
  • Send In The Clowns
  • Entry Of The Gladiators (commonly known as The Circus March – it’s the one everyone associates with the circus)
  • Records of brass bands playing circus music are available on the internet.

Circus Party Bagspicture of circus themed party bag

  • juggling balls – Party Packs
  • elephant novelty chocolates – Party Packs
  • colouring book – Party Packs
  • clown shaped box filled with chocolate stars –
  • clown faces jelly sweets – ebay
  • clown chocolate lollipop –
  • stickers – ebay
  • red clown nose – Party Packs
  • mini lion bars
  • clown pencils – ebay

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