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Birthday on a Budget: 3 Ring Circus Party

I am starting a new series on birthday parties - how to have super fun and festive parties on a budget. All of the parties I will be sharing in this series are birthday parties that I have planned for my children and the entire party cost is under $100 {including food}>

I love planning parties, but also need to keep my spending to a minimum. With more children and more parties to plan, I now spend even less. The first party I am sharing was my daughter, Evelyn's 3rd birthday party - 3 Ring Circus theme (2.5 years ago!).

Evelyn's 3 Ring Circus
Place: Church {free - perk of being the Pastor}
Month: March
I found the table cloths, hanging lanterns, streamers, cups, silverware and party hats at Party City on clearance. I usually start looking and picking items up at least two months before the party. 

I found the popcorn containers at Target in their Dollar Spot ($1 each). The stars on the wall were from my preschool stash. 

I used small brown paper bags and made my own labels for the kids to fill with popcorn. 

I ordered the plates and napkins online - both on clearance. Be sure to shop around and find the cheapest prices and do not be afraid to minx and match (these were from 2 different collections).

I filled the popcorn container favors with $1 playdough from Target and lollipops from Party City. 

I also bought bags of cotton candy for $1 each at Target. I divided it up into ziploc bags and made my own labels. 

I bought circus peanuts and animal crackers (grocery store) to place on the tables.

My mom made the cake - just a simple tier with licorice on the side and 3 circus rings on top.

My mom bought the animals in a zoo kit at Party City.

We (my mom and I) made three different cupcakes - I made the labels for the liners
(just super glue onto liner!).

Balloon cupcakes: Vanilla cupcake with buttercream frosting
Use toothpicks and jelly beans to make balloons.

Popcorn Cupcakes: Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
Use mini marshmallows - cut in half and create imprint using a tooth pick. 
My mom had some edible gold dust that we sprinkled on. 

Cotton Candy Cupcakes: Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing
Pink and blue sprinkles with cotton candy on top.
*Place cotton candy on cupcake right before party - if it sits too long it will shrink up*

I bought a face painting kit at the dollar store for $3 and made the sign.

I will admit that this was a little expensive (I think it was $15) but we actually bought it to use for a church event - and borrowed it for the party :)

We served corn dogs with condiments :)

And popcorn...

My in-laws brought a "Sno-Kones" machine from their church.

The kids colored circus pictures I printed and my brother made balloon animals!

Guests enjoying the party

The birthday girl had a blast!

How do you save money on birthday parties?


  1. How cute! I love thrifty birthday ideas:) The cake is just adorable (and so are the cupcakes!)!

  2. What a sweet party for that precious girl! You really put a lot of love and effort into that! I have a weekly Homemaking Party and would love to have you join up, if you haven’t already. Here’s the link to this week’s party:

    Mrs. Sarah Coller

  3. I am trying to view your 3 ring circus post on both Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, however I am unable to view any of the photos. Would it be possible for you to email those photos to me? I am planning a circus party for my 3 year old in March and really need some inspiration! Thank you in advance.
    Vanessa Jones


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