Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Circus Posters! And other good stuff!

*** Find out how to win a FREE party at the bottom.
Decoration Ideas for your

Just print them out, enlarge them, hang them wherever to create the buzz!!!!

{CLICK HERE to download all three designs!}

Create your own circus posters. Find a circus coloring book or print off circus coloring pages here. Enlarge the pictures at your local office store. Paint in the pictures with colorful paint. Hang in your party area.
Here are a few online circus coloring pages:

Authentic Posters:
We found this book of 48 vintage posters online for less than $10. At 48¢/poster, that is quite a deal!

Traditional Circus sayings you can have printed out and about:
“Welcome to the Greatest Show On Earth”

“Step right this way…”

“Ladies and Gentlemen! Girls and Boys! Children of ALLLLL Ages!”
“If you will direct your attention to the center ring…”
“Come one! Come all!”

Admission Tickets: Have a ticket booth at the entrance to your party. As your guests arrive, hand each an admission ticket. You can purchase rolls of admission tickets or make your own. If Finley Fiscal is coming to your party, you will want that guest to hand out the tickets! 
Fill your party area with colored pennants. These are great for outside and in! You can make them easily with felt, or purchase them from a hardware store or internet.
We found these very cool ones on Etsy.

Creating the Big Top tent: 
• Use brightly-colored streamers to form a canopy over the center of the your room, simulating a circus tent. The streamers should cascade from a point in the middle (i.e. the center of the ceiling or a chandelier), down and out to the sides of the room. You can also hang red, blue, and yellow plastic table covers or sheets from the ceiling down over the walls of the party room to make it look like the inside of a circus tent.
•  Cover the walls with red, yellow and blue plastic tablecloths on the walls to make it appear as if the guests are inside a tent.
• Create a 3-ring circus by adding three rings (or simply a “center ring”) in the middle of your party area. You may want to outline it with colorful duct tape.

Hungry anyone? Create a concession stand by mounting a concession sign and a number of clothsespins on a board. Snap each of your concessions on one of the clothespins. 

Consider renting a vintage popcorn maker, a snow cone make or a cotton candy maker. Not only would a popcorn maker look cool, but it provides food and smells that add to the ambiance of your party. OR, you can package your cotton candy in bags and hang them as a decoration as well. You can send each guest home with a bag or use them as prizes.  

See also our food ideas for ways to dress-up and decorate your food!

Sometimes the best decorations can also be props:
Bring in the clowns: A child's car can double as a clown car. Try seeing how many people you can fit in it!
Trapezes: Create flying trapezes by stringing rope though empty paper towel tubes or pvc pipe (can spray paint them black or silver) and hanging them throughout the party space.

Strongman's Barbell or Dumbells: Make a fake barbell or dumbells by gluing a plastic ball to each end of a wooden dowel or pvc pipe. Spray paint the whole thing black. For the barbell, add "500 lbs." to each end with a white paint.

Don’t forget the animals!!!  
  • Have out ropes, bull whips, tubs placed upside down, hula hoops, over-sized balls, etc. arranged in and area for the animals.
  • You may consider making cages out of boxes and placing stuffed animals in them. 
  • If you have access to hay, you can accent the animal area by placing hay in or around it. 

Bull whip: To make a bull whip out of duct tape, follow this instructional video or this website.

The Midway is a MUST!

Well, not really, but if you want to go the extra mile, a midway would be a fun addition to set up to the party. You could run simple, yet traditional games. Pictured below: Duck Pond, Balloon Darts and Bottle Toss.
Now, you have heard what we have to share, so let's hear YOUR ideas!

***Here's Your Chance To WIN***
Become a follower of this blog (don't worry, there are no obligations, no email reminders, nothing) by clicking here  and then leave a comment below on some decoration ideas YOU would have for your circus party. We will pick the best recommendation for food ideas and award them a Murder Under The Big Top party! We will pick the winner Friday, September 23, 2011. ** Note, this is a new date.

We hope this helps with the planning of your Murder Under The Big Top party! Please leave comments below on if you like these ideas, how to enhance them, decoration ideas of your own, etc.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Popcorn! Cotton Candy! Peanuts!

*** Find out how to win a FREE party at the bottom.
Food Ideas for your

One of the wonderful things about the circus theme is that the food is SIMPLE and yummy to make. Here are a few ideas of quick, easy food that screams “CIRCUS” all over them:
-       Corn dogs
-       Hot dogs
-       Corn on the cob
-       Soft pretzels
-       Peanuts
-       Popcorn
-       Lemonade
-       Candied or caramel apples
-       Cotton candy 
-       Cracker Jacks
-       Animal crackers
-       Giant lollipops

To some, this may seem too simple, and for those of you, we offer ways to “dress up” your food to help set the mood for your party guests:

To make simple serving trays for your food, find crates, box lids, fruit boxes, etc. ...
Here's what we found laying around and at the local grocery store
...and spray paint them white. To the trays you can add a number of labels in any circus font you want. {Click here to find FREE circus fonts.}

Once made, your trays can serve for serving on the table or with vendors.
To turn your box lid into a vendor tray, just add some prices and suspenders.

For the corndogs, we wrapped them in foil  to help keep them warm and add that extra circus-y feel. We also put a very thick piece of styrofoam in the bottom to help the corn dogs stand up.

Ketchup or mustard, anyone?

You can find simple bottles almost anywhere (we found them at our local Dollar Tree). Print out this pdf and voila! you've added a little circus to your condiments!

Don't forget the hot dogs!
You can find hot dog liners for as little as 1¢ per liner!

Get your fresh, hot peanuts!!!
Again, simple as can be. Cut about 1/3 off of the top of a paper lunch sack. Roll down the edges (we did ours 3 times) and slap a label on it. We have created the labels for you. All you need to do is print them out (on label paper or regular) and stick them on the bag. 

What is a circus without popcorn?

Locally, we found red and white popcorn bags at our Dollar Tree. You may also be able to find them at various party stores and random places. If not, you can always order them online. If you are not up for spending the money, simply download our labels, print them out and stick them on a brown lunch sack to serve your popcorn.
 Ways to enhance your popcorn:
•  Use scalloped scissors (can find at local craft or scrapbooking store) to cut the top of the bag.
•  To make it look EXTRA buttery, you can add yellow spray on food coloring.
You may want to consider renting a popcorn machine for both decoration and to pop some good, homemade popcorn. Not only will this serve as good munching food for the party, but the smell will add to the ambiance of the party!
Think this is too hard? We're here to help. We have created the images as labels for you. All you have to do is print them out, on label or regular paper, and stick them where ever you want.
Use them as table tents
Or to label your drink...
...or your food.
Brand your refreshments!
Price your concessions

The options are endless!!!
Downloads to help create all these effects

    ***Here's Your Chance To WIN***
    Become a follower of this blog (don't worry, there are no obligations, no email reminders, nothing) by clicking here  and then leave a comment below on some food ideas YOU would have for your circus party. We will pick the best recommendation for food ideas and award them a Murder Under The Big Top party! We will pick the winner Wednesday, September 14, 2011.
      We hope this helps with the planning of your Murder Under The Big Top party! Please leave comments below on if you like these ideas, how to enhance them, food ideas of your own, etc.

      Monday, August 15, 2011

      New Mystery Released!

      Come One! Come All! To the Hargrove Family Circus!
      Ever want to run off and join the circus?
      Here's your chance!
      Jump on the circus train and become an elaborate performer, a sensational sideshow freak or possibly one of the rambunctious roustabouts that make the whole circus work! 

      This mystery offers endless possibilities for costumes and decorations to set the scene and take you back to this fabulous period of illusion and intrigue. With an elaborate stage set, there are endless possibilities of motives for murder - from stealing money to stealing one's heart to stealing the center ring position! It will be up to you and your guests to play the part and find the murderer!
      • 8-12, 10-15 and 15-20 guest parties are now available!
      • Clean and Regular versions available!
      • 20+ version available by September 15, 2011.
      • Check back weekly to our blog for:

      Here is your CHANCE TO WIN!!!
      Two simple steps.

      (1) Become a follower of our blog and "like" us on Facebook (if you haven't already).
      (2) Leave a comment below on why YOU would like to throw MURDER UNDER THE BIG TOP! 

      We will award a FREE Murder Under the Big Top party (any size)
      to the best comment. Winner chosen September 7th.

      Friday, August 5, 2011

      Party of the Month- August 2010

      Every month, we highlight one mystery on our Party of the Month link on our murder mystery message board. This is August's winner!

      P.A. Comes to Whitby!

      My Best Friend, her hubby and myself regularly co-host parties together (my husband just comes that night LOL). We each have our own role to play in making each party a success. I'm the organiser ie: idea's, invites, all the good give-aways and any kind of craziness, my girlfriend makes the food and works her butt off thru the party to ensure our guests have enough drinks, snacks etc and her husband makes some pretty awesome props. We regularly throw Halloween parties for both the kids and adults.  
      This party we decided to throw a Murder Mystery (our first). I think that this was the best party yet. 

      We made authentic looking invites by putting tea on them and baking the paper in the oven,
      we made booty bags out of crushed velvet to fill with our booty (coins from the party store), we had a kewl pirate chest filled with pirate loot,
      wooden (styrofoam) shutters on the windows and a large pirate flag on the way in. We served Stew, chilli to make it look like slop in plastic silver, bowls and lots of Bread. (there was even some riping of bread and tossing it across the tables happening LOL).

      All of our guest put a lot of effort into their costumes,
      they also all seemed to really get into their characters.
      Over all it seemed to have been an amazing time by all. In fact they all are asking when our next party is.

      For more pictures from this party, please see the posting in full here.

      To enter comments and pictures for your party, please register on our message board and post your comments under the party theme that you hosted. You will automatically be entered to win!