We wanted a fun circus party for our son and his friends and family. We tried to stick to our color-scheme as much as possible (aqua, red and splashes of yellow), as we wanted a more summery blue than traditional circus blue. All circus favorites were present: cotton candy, popcorn, balloons and carnival games!
Henry's party was successful by borrowing ideas form blogs and websites and making the ideas unique to our party. Small, vintage milk bottles are really popular for kid's birthday parties right now. I knew I wanted to use them, but I wasn't willing to pay a fortune to buy them from a shop offering them at vintage prices! I bought 4-packs of Starbucks Frappuccino at Costco, made my husband drink one every day until they were gone, and then I removed the sticker labels, scrubbed off the adhesive, and cleaned them out! Viola! I wanted the party favors for the kids to involve animal crackers (circus animals), and I decided instead of buying the Barnum's animal crackers, I could easily cut fabric and put them in Ball jars. It was just the extra touch that made the favors special.
My favorite item would have to be Henry's bow tie. It was, after all, the piece that I based the entire party around!
My advice would be to start early with your planning. I was collecting and planning for months before the party and somehow I was still worn out by the day after! Also, if you're on a budget, (like we *tried* to be), I found that a lot of the stuff that I loved and wanted for the party, I decided I could make. It took a lot more time and effort, but it was an experience and it made the details that much more special. Of course, asking for help from friends and family the day of your party and HIGHLY recommended...couldn't have done it without them!