Decorate a Festive Circus-themed Dessert Table for a Birthday Party!

A circus theme for a birthday party is always a sure hit! The excitement and spectacle that fill the beloved Big Top are such a delight to recreate in party form. You have the popular circus characters, the festive sights and sounds, and the special sweets and treats that come with that magical Barnum and Bailey world.

And speaking of treats, a dessert table with that same circus theme is practically a must for the occasion. Imagine applying the same bold and bright color scheme as the rest of the party scene, and displaying the cake, pastries, and candies themselves as playful and whimsical decorations! Do we make it sound too simple? Well, it actually is. Come grab some ideas!

Turn Store-bought Goodies into Circus Treats

Assorted cupcakes like chocolate and sugar sprinkles for a circus themed candy table

If you’re an avid baker, lucky you. You can custom-make the desserts to display on your sweets table. But with everything else you’ll be attending to for the party, you could just as well resort to buying ready-made goodies at your nearest grocery store or bake shop!

Here, we took regular-sized chocolate cupcakes and dressed them up in colorful paper liners; plus mini cupcakes piled high with marshmallow frosting which we topped with star sprinkles. Perfect for that circus look!

Choose Candies in Colors that Really Pop

Lollipop swirls in rainbow colors and taffy candies

Again, we have the candy aisle at the grocery to thank! Scour the shelves for sweets that are just brimming with a whole rainbow of colors. Swirly lollipops and candy canes are a great choice, as are rock candy on sticks, jelly beans, gum drops, taffy candy, M&M peanuts, and sixlets. The more fun shapes and multiple colors you can gather, the better!

And to display them, pull out whatever clear glass containers you have. Think cube or cylinder vases, unique cone-shaped ones (shown above), recycled milk bottles, mason jars, and the like. Why clear? The better to show off the eye-catching treats from all angles.

Add All-Time Favorites Like Popcorn

Circus poprcorn for kids

What would a visit to the circus be without hot, buttery freshly-popped popcorn?! Set out a bountiful tray of this crunchy treat, with an invitation for guests to take their fill. Have little popcorn bags ready along with a plastic scoop. Again, these bags are available at party supply stores or you can easily make your own from festively striped gift wrap paper and some cute stickers.

Bring On the Cotton Candy and Clown Hats

Think of other well-loved symbols of the circus and incorporate them into your dessert table. We added brightly decorated DIY cones inspired by clown hats (see our fun tutorial here) to be filled with the guests’ choice of treats, then taken home as favors.

Purple, orange, and green cotton candy decorations

We also displayed over-sized bunches of cotton candy, another circus favorite. These are actually faux ones made from synthetic stuffing material dyed in festive colors! But you could, of course, have the real thing for the kiddie guests to enjoy—bought ready-to-eat in bags from party suppliers or mall kiosks. Or you might even hire a cotton candy cart for the occasion!

Add Vintage-Circus Details

Colorful accents, flowers, and paper cone hats as decorations for a circus theme candy table

A final suggestion would be the finishing touches for that authentic circus feel. In our example, one recurring accent was the scroll-like border reminiscent of those vintage-style circuses that used to roll into town. We used this to dress up the mirrored boxes and acrylic display stands on our dessert table.

Plus it also appears on our circus cage centerpiece for the party tables (check out our DIY tutorial) and on the fancy ticket-booth signage that welcomes guests to the party (we’ve got a how-to for that coming up, too).

A circus themed candy table with cotton candy, cake, and sweets by Bellenza

Now, you must admit, this dessert table is one totally doable—and delicious—focal point for your circus-themed birthday party!


  1. Everything looks incredible! Love it! Pinned. Thanks for being a part of our party. I hope you get a chance to stop by tonight at 7 pm. We love having you!
    Happy Monday! Lou Lou Girls

  2. I don’t know why I always kill myself making everything from scratch. I like the idea of taking store bought cupcakes and adding to them to make them fit the theme of your party. Great tips and ideas. Pinned. Thanks for sharing on Merry Monday.

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