A party planning timeline for a Backyard Birthday Carnival
6 to 8 Weeks Before the Party
1. Select a date and time for the party.
2. Decide how many guests to invite and make a guest list.
3. Decide what your budget is for the party.
4. Consider renting or purchasing one of the following to give your carnival the feel of the real thing:
- Bounce House
- Popcorn Machine
- Candy Cotton Maker
- Snow Cone Maker
- Dunking Tank
5. Reserve one of the following entertainers to make your event really memorable:
- face painter
- stilt walker
- balloon twister
6. If desired, order Prizes online from Amazon.
7. Decide on what the rain plan will be (rescheduling or moving the event into the house).
3 to 4 Weeks Before the Party
1. Plan some carnival booths to entertain children at the party:
- Face painting (do it yourself, ask a friend, or hire a professional)
- Beanbag Toss Game
- Can Toss Game
- Putt Putt Golf Game
- Ring Toss
- Duck Fishing Game
- Guess the number of jellybean/m&m's/peanuts in a jar
- Photo booth with Props
2. Make your shopping list for party supplies and start shopping. Make it easy on yourself by purchasing your supplies online.
- Carnival party decorations
- Carnival Party Tableware
- Carnival favor bags
- Toys for favor bags and prizes
4. If desired, make a Ticket Booth and "charge" tickets for each activity or food.
2 to 3 Weeks Before the Party
1. Prepare Carnival Circus Invitations and mail or deliver them.
2. Keep your guest list handy by the phone or computer to make note of RSVP's.
3. Purchase any supplies you need for the booths and activities you have decided on.
4. Plan the food for the party:
- Hot dogs from the grill
- Cotton Candy
- Snow cones
- Bottled water and soda
- Assorted Candy for favor bags
5. Order a cake or cupcakes (unless you plan to bake it)
1 Week Ahead
1. Contact any invitees who have not responded yet.
2. Write out an agenda for the party: what order activities, entertainment, cake, and opening presents will be in.
3. Draw a layout of where activities will be in the backyard.
4. If the rain plan is to be in the house, write out the plan of where each activity will be located.
2 to 3 Days Ahead
1. Purchase groceries for the food you plan to serve.
2. Put the favor bags together.
3. Charge your video camera/ digital camera.
4. Prepare any booths that can be set up ahead of time.
5. Have lawn mowed if needed.
6. Place order for pre-filled balloons or pick up filled mylar balloons if you have a place to store them.
The Day Before the Party
1. Clean the party area and put away any items that may be dangerous.
2. Bake or pick up the cake or cupcakes.
3. If ordering food such as pizza, arrange a delivery time.
4. Confirm the helpers you have asked to attend.
5. Touch base with the entertainment you have hired.
6. Discuss your expectations for the day with your child(ren).
4 to 5 Hours Ahead
1. Set the table and decorate.
2. Put the candles on the cake/cupcakes and place matches/lighter nearby.
3. Pick up balloons if needed, or fill your own balloons.
4. Set up carnival booths and place prizes near them.
5. Tie balloons to booths, as well as to mail box or front porch to mark place of party.
6. Locate paper and pencil to record gifts and place near gift-opening area.
1 to 2 Hours Ahead
1. Consider putting your pets in an area away from guests.
2. Get the birthday boy or girl and all siblings dressed for the party.
3. Set up the food.
4. Get your camera ready.
5. Inflate the bounce house.
6. Direct your helpers and hired entertainers where to set up.
Enjoy the party!!