SIDESHOW CARNIVAL PARTY
This October, Holloways had their second annual Costumes and Cocktails Party themed, "Sideshow Carnival". Last year, we did a Hitchcock theme and this year spiced it up with something a little freakier!
We invite all of our employees and their spouses/significant others and encourage everyone to dress up by giving away a prize for best costume. Everyone at the party votes for the winner. We also do a Yankee grab bag but we provide all of the prizes. We set the mood with themed music, amazing decorations, and food to compliment the theme.
Keep on scrolling to see how we put together our Sideshow Carnival Party!
Here is the invitation I put together in Photoshop! I got the idea from googling carnival poster images and then replicated it the best I could. I was able to download free carnival and circus style fonts for a more authentic look and printed it on Gold Parchment style paper.
DECORATIONSThere are four main areas in my house where the guests mingle and I decorate them differently. The dining room is where we serve all of the food, the kitchen nook held the desserts, the family room housed the carnival tent, and the living room held the fortune teller tent.
In the formal living room, I created a Fortune Teller's Tent.
This is how I created the TENT: I borrowed a Coleman popup tent (commonly used at soccer and lacrosse games) from a friend. We have high ceilings in our living room so it fit just fine. I bought fabric from FabricDirect.com. They had cheap gold mirrored fabric for $1.49/yard and a some light weight red fabric from FabricMart.com for $1.29/yard. 15 Yards of Gold and 10 Yards of Red worked out perfect. I used large safety pins to pin it around the structure of the canopy to give it a rich, flowing look. I thought I would need to cover the top of the tent, but no could really see it anyway. Then I draped some old sheer curtains around the two back sides for a nice effect.
With various side tables and chairs, I set up three seating areas under the tent which look cool and were used to eat at and chat.
This is how I created the fortune teller: Why re-create the wheel when there are other talented people out there sharing their info? I found this link on Pinterest on how to create a fortune teller.
The only things I did different was use ping pong balls instead of rocks in the bucket (that kept the Fortune Teller lady standing up). Also, I happened to have a salt stone globe. My husband was able to shore up the table part with wood scraps so it could handle the weight of the globe.
I added fish fortunes which I found on Amazon.com. Here is the link to the fishy fortunes. You lay the fish in your hand and the movements are assigned a fortune on the wrapper.
In the family room I created the Carnival Tent:
Connecticut Party Rentals hooked us up with the tent pole structure. The didn't have a red and white tent canopy, so I created one with red and white plastic table clothes. You can buy them in 100 ft rolls, which was more than enough. We secured the tent up against the fireplace.
In the kitchen nook I displayed the SideShow Posters:
This is how I created the Sideshow Poster: I went to Google Images, and searched for "sideshow posters". At the top of the screen, there is a button called "Search Tools". You can click that and then select your search to pull up images that are a certain size. I chose to search for posters larger than 1024x768. This was a good enough resolution to create a large poster. I downloaded them and then uploaded them to Staples.com and had them print the posters on vinyl.
The entire menu were all foods you could find at a carnival.
- Hot Dog Bar - I put out ramekins with all the fixings with a hotdog bar sign I created and printed at Staples
- Roasted Turkey Legs - Ordered 12 from the local butcher and roasted earlier in the day
- Soft Pretzels - Super Pretzels in the frozen section of the grocer.
- Deep Fried Pickles - I found a deep fried pickle recipe, but dipped the batter in panko bread crumbs before frying. PANKO IS A MUST or they won't be crispy. I made them earlier in the day, then heated them in the oven before serving.
- Deep Fried Mac and Cheese Bites - Make a basic macaroni and cheese recipe from scratch. Don't bake it and put in the fridge for 4 hours to set. Then cut into bites sized squares, dip in egg wash, dredge in breadcrumbs and fry. These can be made earlier in the day and heated up with the pickles.
- French Fries with Cheese Sauce - Buy our favorite oven back fries. This link has a really easy recipe for cheese sauce without the chemicals of manufacturer made.
- Chocolate Covered Bacon - Thread raw bacon on skewers. Lay them single layered and flat on a jelly pan and bake in the oven until crispy. Make sure they are not fatty. After cooling, dip in a chocolate dipping sauce. The best option is to melt chocolate chips in a double boiler and add some edible paraffin to thin out. The paraffin sets up nice in the chocolate so it isn't soft. If you just thin the chocolate with vegetable oil, like some recipes suggest, the chocolate never quite firms up.
- Chocolate Covered Rice Crispies - Buy or make rice crispy treats. Dip in the chocolate made for the bacon and sprinkle with multi-colored sprinkles.
- Multi-flavored Popcorn - I found these at Costco online!
I found some creepy circus music on YouTube that is a full hour of music. Here is the link. I was able to find an app on my Android phone that loops youtube videos/music. I hooked my phone up the our speakers and had themed music for the evening. Make sure you keep your phone plugged into power or it will go dead like mine did. Oops!
We did one fun game that is just like a Yankee Grab Bag where everyone brings a gift to swap, but I bought all the gifts. I bought 13 items that were all related to sideshow acts. I wrapped each prize, and affixed a picture of the sideshow act to the outside to act as a clue.
During the party, I made sure everyone put their name on a piece of paper and put into a bowl. After eating, we called everyone together to explain the rules of the game:
1. If I draw a your name from the bowl, come up, pick a prize, and open it. It is yours to keep for now.
2. The next name I draw gets to steal an opened gift from the previous people OR pick a wrapped gift. If they steal an opened gift, the person it was taken from gets to pick, again, from the wrapped gifts.
This goes on until all the prizes are taken. It is great fun when the gifts get stolen! Make sure everyone that gets picked stays in the front of the room so everyone can see the prizes.
These where the prizes by sideshow act:
- Bearded Lady - Beardo hat from www.beardo.com
- Strong Man - Ropeless jump rope
- Tattoo'd Lady - Tattoo sleeves
- Sword swallower - Knife sharpener
- Master of Ceremonies - Coney Island Hard Root Beer with mustaches
- Fire Eater - Fireworks
- Siamese twins - "Twin" pack portable wine bottles
- Fat Lady - Halloween Candy
- Mermaid Man - Basket of edible seaweed, Goldfish crackers, tuna, sardines
- Human skeleton - Milk Bones dog biscuits
- Frog Boy - Frog Parking Only sign
- Fortune Teller - Wheel of Fortune board game
- Lady with Apple on head (I had to stretch for this one) - Apple TV