One of my favorite memories as a child was ridding the merry-go-round with my parents. There is something so magical about the beautifully painted horses as they glide through the air with riders on their backs gleefully giggling with delight. Even as adults when we ride a horse, a bunny, perhaps even a lion or a giraffe carousel animal, we are instantly transported back into some of our sweetest memories of childhood.
We have a wonderful park in our city that has stunningly maintained a beautiful carousel that was the theme for our party. I love how versatile a carousel theme party can be. From bridal showers and baby showers to a child’s, or even a sweet sixteen birthday party, and everything in between anyone who loves whimsical parties can host a beautiful carousel themed party!
I’m sharing some of our favorite design tips and how to DIY almost everything you see here! Including how I created stations around the house to keep the party guests flowing from room to room with different points of interest.
Our show stopper pieces were these huge mylar happy birthday balloon letters. There was no doubt you had arrived to a children’s birthday party. (If you were doing a different theme- you could easy change out these letters for a different party celebration.) We also kept the big toys like this fun ball pit and our daughter’s new rocking horse here so the adults could lounge on the sofa, recliner and chairs placed in the room while the children played together.
A team of helpers makes every party to be more successful, and these handmade carousel horse silhouettes and the larger than life number two are the perfect example of this.
Each decoration is made from items you can easy purchase at your local craft store! Here’s what you’ll need to make a large number for a birthday party:
▪️ X-acto knife
▪️Ruler & Protractor
For the number we measured 8cm from the bottom of the board to make the bottom of the number two. Then measured from the top of the foam board a radius of 17cm for the circle of the 2. We made it a bit like one would make a cake by following the shapes. The only cutting we did was the outside shape. For the tissue paper we cute 2 inch squares and using the modge podge glued them onto the foam board.
To create these beautiful carousel horse sillouets we made them in stages, and the paint we let dry overnight.
▪️Yellow paint (can be spray paint)
▪️ X-acto knife
▪️Carousel Horse Templet
▪️Empty gift wrapping paper tube
▪️Container for the Base
I drew free hand the horse design modeled after these coloring pages we printed out for the children. This was by far the most challenging decoration and will have to be followed up with its own separate post. Please send me a message directly if you have urgent needs and we can discuss further!
DIY Balloon Arch
This was so much easier than I thought it was going to be! If you’re interested in trying it- I would highly suggest do it for your next party!
▪️Balloon Arch Tape
▪️2-3 packs of 12” balloons
▪️3-4 packs of 5” balloons
▪️ Helium tank
▪️Push pins or command strips
I chose several colors of balloons as my base for this arch, then added pops of accent colors. I followed this tutorial online, I think it was super helpful!
Note: This should not be made in advanced. Latex balloons have a short life and if you want this to float- be sure you build it as close to party time as possible.
The children had their own special area set up including their own kid-sized table and chairs and this cute buffet table!
We ordered these Paper Mini Candy Pink Striped Popcorn Boxes to match our carnival theme and filled them with kettle corn! Most definitely a must have food for a fun carnival party! I also filled a fun flower pot with fruit snacks, and each child had their very own fun birthday cup with lid and straw at their seat at the table! (That was the cautious mom in me, ha!) When it was time to go home, everyone took home a goodie bag. I added the little gold horses to look like they each had a merry-go-round horse on their bag!
At each seat was a coloring sheet and lots of crayons. Our birthday girl had a crown and special birthday pin! The balloon flowers were made same day, but the blue paper flowers happen to live up on our wall year round.
Food and Drinks
What type of food might you serve at a carousel themed party? Let’s start with the fun stuff! We already talked about the kettle corn, but there were also colorful jelly beans and yogurt covered raisins! I absolutely love macaroons. They’re on a later photo placed next to the cupcakes and cake. I love freshest strawberries in the spring and made a platter of the plumpest ones I could find. The favorite carnival type dessert was most definitely the amazing white chocolate dipped apple slices with sprinkles. I don’t have a photo of them because they were all eaten before I could take their photo! They were a huge hit!
For those that might actually be hungry and not want to dine on sweets only, I couldn’t resist making delicious tea sandwiches like these to go with our party theme. We also made our own super easy ranch dip by mixing a packet of hidden valley ranch seasoning packet with sour cream. Also, I have a new obsession with cocktail tomatoes. Have you ever tried them? They’re a little sweeter than cherry tomatoes and have a slightly thinner skin. We also had carrot chips and baby carrots with more cucumbers for dipping. For the main part of the meal my wonderful husband grilled four pounds of chicken seasoned with Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning. We offered guests the option to build their own chicken sandwiches- yum! For the kids we ordered a party platter of chick-fil-a nuggets with the chick-fil-a sauce because they really do it best- yum!
This birthday cake might just be my favorite part of this party. Our little girl just loves to ride the carousel horses and I knew this theme would make her so happy. The cake was the center of the party, and my inspiration. I’m blown away at the talent at our local Whole Food store. The entire cake is made from vegan-buttercream! This is their black and white cake, without the chocolate ganache on top (which is amazing if you haven’t tried it!). The Cake Topper took me the longest to find. From the angle of this last photo, you can see there is some clear wrapper on the bottom and there is a slight gap, that’s because this is a musical cake topper! And will make the sweetest keep sake for years to come!
The cupcakes were perfect for all the little hands. Every child could easily help themselves when we placed them on the kids table! And the whimsical horses on top were the same ones I used on the gift bags! I was so fortunate to find them at the ThePinkPapermill and the owner Randee was such a pleasure to work with! The cupcakes are entirely home made using a Southern Living Magazine recipe! My daughter and I baked these ahead of time and I made the frosting the day before. Doing as much prep-work ahead of time can help you keep your sanity!
Party Planning Tip: How do you get a bunch of kids to come sit down to sing happy birthday when they’re so busy playing? Well, cake usually does it, but we wanted to have everyone sitting and what better way than to read a story aloud! Children love to hear stories, and this one happens to be our daughter’s favorite! We read On the Night You Were Born and all the children loved it!
Here’s my favorite photo of the birthday girl ready to blow out the candles!
In addition to the party bags, we also gave away the ribbon wands we made in advanced that were on the dessert table. And on their way home, each little girl also got to pick a pretty little Party Ring to take home!
I really hope you enjoyed our tips for hosting your own carousel themed party! Please let us know in the comments if you tried any of these decorations or delicious food ideas!