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creepy carnival - feature

How to Host a Creepy Halloween Carnival Party

Host a creepy carnival-theme Family Halloween party full of fun food, games, and decorations. You don’t need a big top to throw an epic creepy carnival-themed Halloween party. With yummy carnival fare, simple, inexpensive decor and fun party games, your creepy carnival is guaranteed to be a smash hit! 

creepy carnival

Our Family hosts an annual Halloween Party every year, and we plan the event for months before, making sure every detail is just right. Our whole family comes together and helps out making props, cleaning, cooking – it’s a family affair, and it’s an event we look forward to all year! This year we hosted a Creepy Carnival Party. If you are throwing your own Creepy Carnival party this Halloween, read on for tips, freebies, and inspiration galore!

How to Host a Creepy Carnival Party

*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience



As with any party, you have to set the mood from the get-go – it all starts with the invitation. We manage most of our guest list through Evite, but I always like to work up a paper invitation for those guests that are new to the party. A date-less version is available to email list subscribers on my Get the Goodies page. If you aren’t a subscriber, you can sign up here for free! If you’re looking for something even scarier, these Carn-evil ones are also a great option.


When planning food for a Halloween Creepy Carnival think midway treats like popcorn, corn dogs, caramel apples and cotton candy.

Keep the dinner menu simple and serve carnival fare with a Halloween twist – adorn with spiders and creepy crawlies for an extra spooky meal!

Creepy Carnival Halloween - Dinner
A hot chocolate bar, served from a 45-cup coffee carafe,  is a yummy hot beverage treat that stays piping hot throughout your entire event. Even better, make enough for the whole party – one less thing to monitor! Of course, a hot chocolate bar wouldn’t be complete without all of the toppings:

  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Whipped Cream
  • Cinnamon

I almost always serve a signature, themed punch. This party was no exception! The kids loved our Witches Brew Punch! An assortment of canned sodas, bottled water, wine and beer rounded out our cold beverage selection.

creepy carnival - caramel apples

Creepy Carnival - Dessert Table
Load your dessert table frightful treats – chocolate cupcakes, frosted brownies, caramel apples and sugar cookies. Pumpkin shaped Peeps are a fun addition!


Begin your night of fright by entering through the mouth of a DIY Jack-o-Lantern arch – It’s almost like entering a haunted carnival ride!

creepy carnival - enter if you dare

Inside, a creepy ticket master waits to stamp your ticket – there’s no turning back now!

halloween creepy carnival - ticket master

For less than $5 you can have your very own Indoor Big-Top!  Purchase inexpensive plastic tablecloths and cut them into 30″ strips.  Find a central point in your room and tack alternating color strips with thumbtacks.  Let the strips bough slightly and tack the other end to the edge of the room.

creepy carnival - big top ceiling

Find both the strange and macabre in a  Cabinet of Curiosities. You can find ideas for filling your own in this post on how we made our Cabinet of Curiosities.

curiosities - doll head

curiosities - Halloween Display

curiosities - printed ouija board

Creepy Carnival - Fireplace Bunting

Guests can tap into their mystical side by visiting our fortune teller. Dressed to tell you all in bohemian pieces, a flowy skirt and colorful scarves, all topped off with a heavy dose of gold and silver jewelry, she offers personal tarot readings. Or, if playing the game of chance is your thing, take a spin on the DIY vintage-looking Spin-a-Fortune teller! (Tutorial to come)! See the activities section for more on Spin-a-Fortune.

halloween creepy carnival - fortune teller

creepy carnival - fan decorations



Be mesmerized by the talents and the danger of our resident Snake Charmer. The snakes are an easy DIY using spray painted pipe insulation tubing! Look here for directions.

creepy carnival halloween - snake charmer

creepy carnival halloween - snakes
A hall of mirrors is a must for a creepy carnival. Tape pieces of aluminum to the walls in a fun pattern or make mirrors from mylar or thin plexiglass and mirror spray paint. Attach to the wall with a slight bend using 3m picture strips to give the gazer funny reflections. Will they be tall and thin or short and wide?

creepy carnival halloween - carnival mirror and foil

creepy carnival - hall of mirrors foil




Fortune Telling

If playing the game of chance is your thing, take a spin on the vintage-looking Spin-a-Fortune teller! (Tutorial to come)! Each spin corresponds to a number. Each number relates to a family-friendly fortune teller saying. My fortune – “If you take a bath once a day folks will think you’re all okay!”. Good to know! You can download a list of the kid-friendly fortunes here.

halloween creepy carnival - spin a fortune

Carnival Games

Carnival games are so fun and will ensure a successful Creepy Carnival!  Have guests earn tickets to win prizes – we gave inexpensive Halloween toys and treats. Our carnival games included:

Creepy Carnival - carnival games

We also played a fun game of donut bobbing – always a HUGE hit – you might remember that game from our 50s Sock Hop! Our younger guests played games over and over again for two hours straight!

Pumpkin Sugar Cookie Decorating

Crafts – Treat Bag Decorating

Photo Props


This party was a HUGE hit and fun was had by all. We are already thinking ahead to our theme for next year!


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Camping party favors flashlight

Indoor Camping Party and Minute to Win It

This indoor camping themed party will have your guests feeling like they’ve spent the night in the forest, without ever taking a step outside! 

Can I just say that I love summer?  I may not be saying this tomorrow, but today, having my kids home all day, all the time is so FUN! We’ve been following a pretty relaxed schedule. There’s been swimming, and having friends over to play, going to the library, hanging at the zoo, and.. partying!

How to host an Indoor Camping Themed Party

We planned this slumber party for my girls, to celebrate the end of the school year and the start of summer. Both girls LOVE camping, so sharing some of the things that we like to do with six of their nearest and dearest made planning this party easy and the actual event a huge hit with the under ten crowd.


camping themed party - 2

*This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.

We started things off by making and sending out these super cute invites in the shape of a tent. If you’d like to make your own, the pattern is available to my subscribers and can be found on my Get the Goodies page.


camping theme party - 4
Decorating was a cinch – just think camping! I put together this super cute banner at the last minute using Get the Goodies, tissue paper, a glue gun and a bit of Get the Goodies.
camping theme party - 5
Mini cooler decor camping party
The camp name is a combination of both girls names – Kyla and Bekah and is also a name we used to tell them stories when they were little. Princesses Kybekah and Byla were always up to some mischief!
For the dessert table, again, think camping – I used a lantern, a mini cooler, a vase of blue spruce branches, decorative pine cones, gingham paper napkins and fabric, a red dutch oven and various tin dishes and wicker baskets. For dinner plates, we used aluminum cake pans.
camping theme party - 5


Food couldn’t be easier for a camping party – anything goes! We served:
  • Grilled hot dogs
  • Mac and cheese fruit tray, and various other crackers and snacks.
  • Cut Fruit
  • Various other crackers and snacks

Dessert was cupcakes, s’mores, and various other treats, as well as a make-your-own popcorn/trail mix bar.  The popcorn trail mix bar included craisins, raisins, peanuts and almonds, pretzels, peanut butter and regular m&ms, mini marshmallows, granola and honey nut cheerios. They could also add “fishing bait,” otherwise known as Swedish fish and gummy worms.

camping theme party - 7
Later in the evening, we served oven s’mores!
Camping Party Smore Snacks
  1. Preheat your broiler.
  2. Assemble your s’mores on a cookie sheet – graham cracker, chocolate piece, and marshmallow.
  3. Place the cookie sheet under the broiler.
  4. Watch your s’mores carefully. The marshmallows will puff and brown quickly!
  5. When the chocolate is melty, and the marshmallow browned, remove the sheet from the oven.
  6. Place a second graham cracker on the stack, pressing down slightly.
  7. Cool before eating.
camping theme party -8
 The following morning each guest made a personal lumberjack foil packet, our favorite camping breakfast. My girls LOVE doing this and look for every opportunity to make their entire meal in a foil pack! Everyone had a great time choosing their ingredients, and the best part? No dishes!
Camping party sleepover breakfast ideas


To kick off the party, we started the night with an ice-breaker scavenger hunt. Our girls are only a year apart but go to different schools. As a result, their friends rarely mix, so, this was an opportunity to have everyone together.

camping themed party - 3

After finding everything on the list, everyone met to share their treasures and to introduce ourselves. I had each girl tell us their name, their favorite color, and their favorite food. It was a simple activity, but they all had a good giggle, they found some commonalities! I adapted the scavenger hunt I found here, printed off the list of items to find, along with the labels, and attached both to a paper lunch bag. Easy, cheap, within the theme, and so cute!

For an easy craft, we had the girls select and decorate a flashlight using letter stickers, that they were able to take home the next day.
The biggest hit, though, was a competitive game of Minute to Win It! We divided the girls into two teams. Once divided, each team came up with a name and competed against the opposite team and each other.
The three top scores received a prize – the latest Bop magazine.You’d have thought we’d given them a gold bar.

Minute to Win It Games for Camping Party

There were five opportunities to earn points:
  • Face the Cookie: Using only the face, move cookies from the forehead to the mouth.
  • Breakfast Scramble:  Prep for the game by cutting a cereal box front into sixteen equal pieces. Be the first to put the pieces into order to recreate the cereal box front.
  • Separation Anxiety:   Sort a pile of 25 multi-colored candies into piles by color. We used Laffy taffy. 
  • Tweeze Me: Have players use chopsticks to move 10 Tic Tacs from the table to a bowl.
  • Bucket Head:  Catch three balls in a bucket on top of your head

Who knew watching a cookie roll down one’s face could be so challenging and funny? For game instructions and more game ideas, you can visit the NBC Website.

Late night entertainment was a movie. Here is a list of tween appropriate movies. Many of these are available in the $5 bin at Walmart. All of the movies are rated PG.

  1.  Oz the Great and Powerful – new, but a great movie!
  2. Mirror, mirror
  3. Legally Blond


Our playlist is made of old campfire favorites and new hits.

Cup Song – Anna Kendrick
Uptown Funk feat. Bruno Mars – Mark Ronson
Happy Trails – Van Halen
Honey, I’m Good – Andy Grammer
American Pie – Don Maclean
Kick the Dust Up – Luke Bryan
Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
Mandolin Rain – Bruce Hornsby
Time of Your Life(Good Riddance) – Green Day
If I had $1,000,000 – Bare Naked Ladies
Every Rose has its Thorns – Poison
Wonderwall – Oasis
River Bank – Brad Paisley
Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
Best Day of My Life – American Authors
Free Falling – Tom Petty
Rather Be feat. Jess Glynne – Clean Bandit
Stand By Me – Ben E King



To thank our guests for coming, the girls handed out party bags simple paper lunch sacks containing the following:


camping theme party - 9
camping theme party - 9

We had a great time, and the girls got to spend some quality time with friends they were missing. I hope everyone will have fond memories of this one for a long time!

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birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - FEATURE

How to Host a Fabulous 50s Themed Party for Cheap

My daughter’s love of the 50s started when her school had a 50’s day earlier this year. And then she saw the movie “Grease” – Or at least, a modified version of Grease! She was hooked. So, it was only natural that she would want a 50s Sock Hop for her birthday party.


How to Host a Fabulous 50s Themed Birthday Party for Cheap




When you throw a themed party for a child, you want it to be unique, but no parent wants to spend said child’s college fund to make it so! The best way I’ve found to avoid excess cost when planning a party is lots of planning and lots of DIY.

There are SO many items you can use for inspiration for a 50s sock hop! For our party, I started with the color scheme – pink, turquoise, black with shots of red for contrast then, including things that make me think of the 50s – pink Cadillacs, cherries, and diners. And, of course, it wouldn’t be the 50s without mid-century modern props and DIYS in rounded shapes, black and white checks, jukeboxes and poodle skirts!

SUGGESTED: All kinds of Party Props and DIYS!

To keep costs low I designed a set of printables – everything from invitations to photo props –  to perfectly coordinate with our 50s Sock Hop. Even more fun? I’m sharing the guide and pattern to make an adorable 50s Pink Cadillac Photo prop with you for FREE!  I hope you’ll find just the inspiration and budget-friendly ideas you’ll need to make your 50s themed birthday party a huge success!


Pink Cadillac Photo Prop



Must-Have 50s Party Prop Amazon Find




A pink Cadillac convertible, with fuzzy dice,  is the quintessential 50s car set the theme for our party.

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - invitations_update



birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - full scene

Pink Cadillac Cut Out

SUGGESTED: How to make a Pink Cadillac Cut-Out Photo Prop 

To make it interesting, we matched polka dots of different sizes and colors with the black and white checks in the fringed backdrop and laid out faux marble shelf paper on our buffet to mimic a diner Formica counter. Various other prints with retro, mid-century modern style woven into the accessories helped to carry the theme after the invitations.
birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - banner
Pink flamingo mini lights helped to bring attention to our birthday banner. The cheery (cheesy) flamingos look so retro and fun against the DIY black and white fringed background! I’ll share the tutorial on how I made the fringe shortly (hint: it cost me $5).
birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - fringed backdrop

The cupcake topper centers and retro-shapes were quick to put together with a circle punch, a hot glue gun, and lollipop sticks. I paired red and white polka dot liners to add interest and contrast.

What says “Diner” more than a menu board? These can be found pretty much everywhere these days!

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - diner menu board and desserts


Other elements I DIY’d included this oversized jukebox painted on kraft paper and a fun “Diner” sign on posterboard.


birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - jukebox

birthday party 50s sock hop Drive-in sign

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - fab 50s printable

Fabulous 50s Sign


Then, the garage transformed into a 50s dance hall through liberal accents of pink, fuchsia, and teal! These “poofs” hid our “billiards” lamp hanging over our pool/ping pong table.
birthday party 50s sock hop set the scene


birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - diner menu


To keep costs low, and make it easy to execute, we served a simple “Diner” food menu. Sliders and Veggie “Fries,” Coca-Cola and Root Beer Floats, served in fun containers and snack boxes.


birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - all the food

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - burgers

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - small snack box veggie fries

Small Snack Boxes

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - rootbeer float

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - large snack box and cherries

Large Snack Boxes

Fun cherry treats and fruit add to the 50s theme.


birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - cherries


Chocolate pudding “malts,” topped with piped cool whip and a cherry,  round out our diner-style options! Tip: Although you may be tempted to use Redi-whip, it tends to deflate. Cool whip will hold shape throughout the party. Fill a Ziploc bag with Cool whip, snip off one of the closed corners and pipe through the hole directly into a store-bought pudding cup. Top with a cherry – voila! Super cute and easy peasy!

A wee bit of a splurge, pink flamingo straws make everything more fun.


birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - chocolate malts

Flamingo Straws


After blowing out the candles and our girl making her wish, guests had their choice of angel food cake with strawberry icing or vanilla, and chocolate cupcakes topped with retro shaped toppers.  The cake and cupcakes were both store-bought. I purchased an un-iced angel food cake – you can get them at most grocery stores for under $4 – and added strawberry icing. A light sprinkling of nonpareils and a grocery store bouquet of over-dyed daisies is the perfect, custom topper for the cake!


birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - cake and cupcakes

Cupcake Toppers



Pink Ladies T-Shirts made out of a stencil, a sharpie and plain, cheap pink t-shirts, poodle skirts and neck scarfs in pinks, teals, and polka dots made the event! Everyone came dressed in their 50s best and danced the afternoon away. I made my girl’s poodle skirts following this tutorial, and used Walmart twin sheets for the fabric – they were inexpensive, and I could cut the patterns out in one piece.

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop pink ladies costumes

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop poodle skirt


Amazon Finds: 50s Womens Costume sets and accessories

1950’s Womens Costume Accessories – 50s Chiffon Scarf,Cat Eye Glasses,Bandana Tie Headband,Drop Dot Earrings
50’s Vintage Dot Skirt Scarf Headband Earrings Cat Eye Glasses for Party
Retro 1950s Pink Polka Dot Style Headband Ladies Jacket Costume Accessories
Retro Poodle Print High Waist Skater Vintage Rockabilly Swing Tee Cocktail Dress


No party is complete without a fun playlist. Fortunately, the 50’s era offers much to choose from!

birthday party 50s sock hop play list


The girls had a great time with the games we planned! Some ideas include:

  • A Hula Hoop contest
  • Limbo fantastic (even backward!)
  • Hand jive lesson
  • A bubblegum blowing contest
  • Donut bobbing. It’s a tradition at our home to ALWAYS have donut bobbing at our parties.

Donut bobbing – A game in which you suspend three donuts from the ceiling. Each player stands in front of a donut, put their hands behind their backs, and must be the first to remove the entire donut from the string using only their mouths. Very, very un-ladylike. Awesome. Trust me.

Other activities included photo ops taken in a DIY pink Cadillac Cut-out. You can download the pattern and tutorial on how to make the fun car cut-out here if you’re interested in making your own!

birthday party 50s sock hop pink cadillac car cutout propprintable pattern and guide logo


Amazon Finds: 50s Party Games and Activities

The Everything Big Book of Party Games: Over 300 Creative and Fun Games for All Ages!
Toy Hoop Bundle Pack | Snap Together Detachable Adjustable Weight Size Plastic Hoops | Kids Hula Rings for Sports Playing, 32-Inch (Pack of 6)
Dubble Bubble Berry Blast 24mm Gumballs 1 Inch, 3 Pounds
48″ Lighted LED Limbo Wand Limbo Stick Limbo Pole




birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - goody bags

After three hours of non-stop fun, we sent our well-sugar-fed friends home with pink goody bags embellished with a poodle that contained:

A polka dot neck scarf
Cat Eye Sunglasses
Roll-on Lip Gloss
Mini Nail Polish
Glow Sticks
Coke Bottle Gummy Candy
A pencil



birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - blowing out candles


My daughter’s 50’s dreams realized, our 50’s themed party was a huge success, with fun had by all!


This post contains affiliate links, which means that I make a commission when a sale is made by clicking on the link. I value you your trust and only recommend products and brands that I love. 

If you like this resource, I’d really appreciate it if you’d share it with others by pinning it!

50s Sock Hop Party


birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - PIN





You’ll find everything you need to throw a fabulous 50s theme party in this customizable at-home Printable Party decorating pack!

50s Party Pack Printables – $6.00

This PDF file includes:

  • 4″x7″ Double-sided, customizable 50s Party Invitations
  • Large and small patterned snack boxes
  • Retro-shaped Customizable Printable Banner
  • Four different cupcake/snack box circles (Not Shown)
  • Four different customizable cupcake/snack box circles
  • Retro shape patterns for cupcake and snack box embellishment
  • Fabulous 50’s Pink Cadillac Subway Art; sized 8″ x 10″
  • Cruisin’ 50’s Pink Cadillac Subway Art; sized 8″ x 10″ (Not Shown)
  • 2 Different patterned customizable food card sheets


This file is a digital download, print-at-home product. There is no shipping charge; nothing will be shipped to you directly.

You will be able to download your files immediately after purchase.

All images are for personal use only and are not to be resold, repackaged or used for any commercial purpose.

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