I did some research to find the best prices on the bags to hold all the goodies and I ended up purchasing from Etsy seller HeyYoYo. I purchased:
50 Elephant Design Peanut Bags - $6.00
50 Retro Wagon Popcorn Bags - $7.00
Amanda, the owner of HeyYoYo shipped the items quick and they were exactly what I had hoped they would be! For the filler, I bought the large dry roasted peanut bags from Costco (I purchased 2 5lbs bags which filled my 50 bags with some leftovers!). We have a store similar to Costco here in Southern California called Smart and Final - it's similar to Costco but doesn't require a membership. From Smart and Final I bought the GIANT bags of premade popcorn. I purchased 2 3lbs bags - but, really one bag would have been enough!
A must have for any carnival is cotton candy! I looked into renting a machine - but, honestly it's a lot of work! I have seen the Parade brand of cotton candy and figured I would make my own little bags using this cotton candy (with a personalized sticker on the outside). The only problem with it - it's MESSY! I bought 3 cases, figuring I could split it into the bags. Well, if you think about eating cotton candy and all that ooey gooey goodness gets all over your fingers - guess what? It happens when you are just touching it and NOT eating it - but, since it ended up all over my fingers I did taste it! Both flavors were really good! Sam's Club sells the 8 pack case of 2oz jars for $5.58! That is only .70 cents a tub! A total bargain! If I was going to do this again and planned ahead I would reconsider and probably order the prepacked 1oz bags which I found later at Standard Concession Supply. 100 - 1oz bags for 48.00 making them .48 cents a bag (before shipping). Considering the mess, this is a much better way to go, in my opinion!
Candy, candy, candy! Another must have for any dessert table! I was hoping to get the traditional whirly lollipops but, I just couldn't find a great price on them! So, I stuck with a revised plan of candy sticks and pixy stix's from Old Time Candy Company. I love this website - they have the best variety of different candies and the prices are really good!
I bought the case of candy sticks - you get 80 sticks for $12.99 and then I added the pixy sticks (a case of 48 3-packs) for $7.99. I later found a large assortment of the same candy at Smart and Final! The prices were pretty much the same (when you factored in shipping) so, my advice is always check with your warehouse store to see what they might have! I also bought some of the orange colored circus peanuts! A 1.5 lb bag (about 90 pieces) was $5.99. The candy was my final purchase - and I almost broke down and added the whirly pops when I saw them at Smart and Final - the price still wasn't great but, the cute factor was over the top. The decision maker, though, was that they only had 1 pack - and I would have needed at least 3!
While, doing my research for this dessert table, I was surprised to find so many places that offered everything you need to make your own carnival! You really can use this theme and make it affordable! The total spent for all the goodies in this post: $98.32 - and that was for 50 people! So, the cost per person was about $1.97!
In the next blog post, I will talk more about how to make affordable DIY items, including tutorials and free printables for your carnival theme!