After the many hours I put in last year making the birthday party season beautiful, I made an announcement. I would throw a party this year if everyone decided on one theme. One theme, multiple parties. (I don't relish the idea of a whole passel of mini-munchkins AND a whole passel of larger munchkins at the same time, so I was okay with multiple parties.) So we threw this party more than once, and everyone was very happy.
We started with the invite (upper left) that the oldest munchkin designed in Photoshop. The border on the envelope is adapted from a downloaded publisher or word envelope template.
Once the guests arrived, they visited the ticket booth to get their marble bags and ticket punch cards. I thought about getting tickets but didn't want to pay for a whole roll. Also the thought of cleaning tickets out of my grass for the next three years was terribly unappealing. So instead we went a greener path and simply gave everyone ONE ticket with 50 numbers on them. As they played the carnival games, the ticket taker would mark one number off their tickets.
We had the guests guess how many gumballs were in a big glass candy jar and write it on the back of their tickets. We kept count throughout the party how many gumballs were given out and at the end of the party we gave a prize to the guest with the closest count.
When the party lulled, we served corndogs and popcorn from a popcorn machine. They could also use a ticket to get cotton candy, chips or Annie's "healthy" goldfish or chocolate bunnies. It was an altogether unhealthy menu, being as it was a carnival. I didn't, however, go overboard on the candy.
We ran a big bingo game when the other games slowed. When the games were all finished, they could choose to trade in the marbles they'd won at the games for prizes. I knew that some of the kids would opt to keep their marbles, what I didn't bet on was that the little kids would all LOVE the gumballs. (There were not any left over from the first party for the next.) Last of all, we brought everyone inside for cake or pie. Every single guest left cheerful, so it was a rousing sucess!