Evan’s First Birthday: Decorations

Although my plan was to save money by making all the decorations for Evan’s circus birthday party, it didn’t take long for things to get out of hand with my budget. (Or at least that’s what WOULD have happened if I’d had a budget to begin with. I’ve never been good with numbers.) I would have been better off ordering a couple banners off Etsy, picking up paper plates and cups at the dollar store, plopping a hat on everyone’s head and calling it good. So don’t come around here looking for cheap party tips because I don’t have any. If you want inspiration, cute ideas or hints on where to find circus themed stuff, then by all means keep reading.

circus birthday party wreath

I decided I needed a wreath for the door at 9 pm Friday night. It’s tissue paper on cardboard.

circus birthday party banner

Banner on the front porch. Craft paper from JoAnn Fabric.

circus birthday party banner

Playbill font on craft store paper.

circus birthday party banner

I pushed our buffet in front of the fireplace to keep the kids out and used it as a cake table. The photos on the mantle were done by Nina Benjamin, a local photographer. Tablecloth is just a couple yards of fabric from Joann’s. Circus tray is vintage from my grandmother, crown is from Michael’s crafts with a little felt badge I made glued on.

circus birthday party banner

I used “Coffee Tin”, a free font I downloaded, and printed on paper rectangles I bought at the craft store. No cutting involved!

circus birthday party decorations

Popcorn boxes from the $1 section of Target, wind up clowns, gumball machines and pin wheels from the dollar store.

circus birthday party decorations

Prizes for the older kids, although the games were so disorganized I just handed them out to whoever I could find.

circus birthday party decorations

Origami circus animals from Michael’s.

circus birthday party decorations

I bought a 50-balloon helium tank from BJ’s for $22 and used ALL of it. Balloons outside, balloons inside, balloons on the ceiling, balloons on the staircase.

circus birthday party decorations


circus birthday party decorations

My proudest and most frustrating decoration – I cut every single one of these tiny triangles out by hand and sewed them together one at a time in a looooooooog streamer.

circus birthday party clown noses

Clown noses ordered from Oriental Trading Co, free circus font downloaded from internet, tablecloth is fabric from Joann’s

circus birthday party napkins

Napkins from Celebrate Express (seriously, they had some good stuff)

circus birthday party games

Games: clothespin drop, pin the nose on the clown, coloring pages of (non-scary) clow faces

circus birthday party decorations

ALL those little circus graphics are actually from favor boxes I bought at Christmas Tree Shops. I cut them up and used them as my theme and color scheme. The silverware holders are actually pencil holders from the $1 section at Target. Tickets from iParty.

circus birthday party guest book

I ordered a photo book from Snapfish with a 30% off coupon code and left a few pages blank in the back to use as a guest book. The photos are a recap of Baby Evan’s first year.

circus birthday party games

Bean bag toss – the cloth was purchased at Target on clearance, E built the backing. Extra bean bags bought at Christmas Tree Shop.

circus birthday party photo booth

More fabric from Joann’s, top hat and mustache from local party store, baby suspenders from Belt Outlet online.

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35 Responses to “Evan’s First Birthday: Decorations”

  1. Natalie says:

    ZOMG. I’m in love with your party! I know I keep saying that, but I just want you to know how awesome it was! :o) I love the backdrop fabric. That’s an excellent idea and I may steal it for our next party ;o)

  2. Amy says:

    Wow! It all looks so great. Between the decorations and the food you did an awesome job.

  3. Audrey says:

    Holy bejeez! I have a feeling Evan is going to have a long future of amazing birthdays each outdoing the last. haha!

    Man, Everett’s first birthday was pathetic by comparison. :D Must start planning for September…. !!!

  4. Sunny says:

    wow….nice photos….Liked all the photos….Did you get that gumball machine for one dollar from Target? This is really great. Also for your gumball machine you can get gumballs from gumball.com. They have really good collections and you can order online too.

  5. Britni says:

    That last picture is so cute that I can’t handle it.

  6. holy smokes, woman!! this party is AMAZING and THEN SOME!! i knew it was going to be cute, but damn gina – all the details you thought up are beyond incredible. i LOVE how cohesive the theme was – all the bright colors, clowns, balloons, circus food & candy – utterly adorable. seriously, this party should be in design/lifestyle magazines everywhere! and maybe in a book too. love, love, LOVE it. fantastic job, lady! and i know you’ll treasure the photos and memories forever!


  7. Other Erin says:

    If you still have that feeling that you posted about from a few months ago about working, you could totally be a party planner. Do you know how many moms would totally pay for someone to come up with ideas/organize like that?

  8. afteriris says:

    Wowser! This is amazing. I think Other Erin is on to something with the party planner idea. I know a parent who paid £170 for some woman in a white coat who called herself “Science Sophie” to do basic chemistry experiments for an hour to a group of 4 year olds. Parents NEED people like you!

  9. Mom2Miles says:

    So festive! So classy! So impressive! Love the origami animals. I went through an origami phase … before I had 2 kids & still had time! Happy Birthday to your little man!

  10. Jonathan says:

    This looks amazing!!! Evan you should totally grow that stache hah! Classic

  11. can i just allow myself to be stalkerish and say that i’ve seriously looked back at this post like 4 times today since commenting earlier? still can’t get over how freaking CUTE and FUN your party turned out. love it so much. LOVE. showed it to the hub and he was thoroughly impressed. and he’s a boy, so i mean, come ON that’s a big compliment!




  12. Londonmum says:

    Wow, you did an awesome job! All the decorations looked so cute and very worthy of being featured on one of those cool blogs which shows great craft or party ideas. Lucky Baby E!

  13. TMae says:

    WoW. Everything looks incredible! And I was thinking I’d get by with a cupcake and the Birthday Song for my little one’s first birthday. :-)

  14. Michelle says:

    Ok, this is GREAT! I LOVE the photobook with the blank pages–great idea that I am totally stealing for Little Man’s big day!! You really knocked it out of the park!

  15. Sarah says:

    I am completely jealous of your crafti-bility and your creativity!

  16. Lisa says:

    Wow – great looking party!!! I’m getting so many fabulous ideas from this – like you can NEVER have too many balloons!!!

  17. Oh my gosh! I’ve been meaning to check out Evan’s b-day party posts for a while, and I’m so impressed with all that you did! Especially love the hand-sewn felt banner. Thanks for sharing all of these awesome tips and ideas!

  18. andrea says:

    I LOVE IT!!!! You did such a great job… everything is beautiful. I think you do have some cheap party tips! I mean, you bought so many cheap things and made them look absolutely gorgeous. The thing with home-made parties is that they take SO much time to craft up that it almost seems better to just go to walmart to buy some ugly birthday party supplies… but, hellooooo… look at your party!! It’s totally worth it!
    Also, you look so pretty!! I love your outfit :)

  19. Joy says:

    Hi, I am planning my daughters 4th birthday and came across details of your party via the Obdeedoh website. You’re party was a great inspiration to me. I’m wondering if you can tell me where you found the clown face picture for the kids to color. I can only see part of it in one of the pictures in this post, but I like the looks of it. Thanks! Joy

    • bebehblog says:

      Hi Joy! So glad you like the party. I can’t even remember where I found that clown face – I think it was just a Google image search, but I will email it to you right now so you can use it if you’d like to. Thanks for stopping by!

  20. Maybelline says:

    Wow!! I loved it.. I read Dear Crissy’ Blog and saw your comment and came to check it out..! you’re really creative!!

  21. […] made everything. To read about it and see a lot more pictures, check out her blog post about the decorations, another about the food, and one about the photo […]

  22. What fun!! I love everything you did! Just found your blog post while searching for pinwheel sources for my daughter’s second birthday party. Kudos to you for such cute, fun decorations!!

  23. Amy says:

    Hi there! Came across your blog as I was searching {Circus} parties for my son….only 11 months early! I am a psycho party planner and once I get a theme in my head, I can’t stop! Anywhoo, Evan’s party was A-DOR-A-BLE! Love all the details…can’t wait to see what you’re cookin’ up for his 2nd! ;-) Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  24. […] Evan's First Birthday: Decorations […]

  25. […] Evan's First Birthday: Decorations […]

  26. Katy says:

    I stumbled upon your blog when I was searching for info about using a shutterfly photo book as a guest book. I want to do this for my mom’s 60th, but I’m curious about what kind of pens you had for guests to sign. I’m worried about smearing on the glossy pages. Thanks for your help!! This looks like an awesome birthday party!

    • bebehblog says:

      I used a regular old ballpoint pen, pretty much the least fancy one I could find, I was afraid something like a sharpie WOULD smear. But a boring old Bic did the trick!

  27. […] out more party posts including circus party decorations and our circus party photo booth. Be Sociable, Share! TweetRelated posts:Reality Strikes […]

  28. […] I remember thinking I was a crazy person when I started planning his first birthday party (Circus party! Still one of my favorites) in January, but I think starting in March is even more crazy. So much […]

  29. Julia says:

    So, so cute! What a great party idea. Love the simple party game ideas, thanks so much for sharing Evan’s special day with us :) Julia

  30. nj says:

    This party is so cute! I just love it. Great job. Thank you for sharing.

  31. Heather says:

    Wow, so adorable! I especially love the bean bag toss and the origami animals, those are such a nice touch! What a fun first birthday, thanks for sharing.

  32. Happy Hiller says:

    I love the decorations! Great job!

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