Inside Mario Lopez’s Sweet Carnival-Themed Birthday Party for His Kids

09/16/2015 at 03:15 PM ET

Mario Lopez doubled the birthday celebrations with a joint carnival-themed party for his kids — daughter Gia Francesca, who turned 5 on Friday, and son Dominic Luciano, who turned 2 on Sept. 9.

“I loved the carnival theme, and I love that the kids are born two days apart so I can do the combo birthday party,” the Extra host, 41, tells PEOPLE. “I’m going to try to get away with that as long as I can!”

Lopez and his wife Courtney, 33, invited 80 guests to their Los Angeles-area home on Saturday to celebrate their kids’ milestones with plenty of carnival fun, including a magician, a face painter, a balloon artist, a bouncy house, and what the host describes as “the biggest piñata that you’ve ever seen.”

Mario Lopez carnival kids birthday party
Dawn Gregg

Partygoers — who received their invites via ECHOage, benefiting Jameson’s Army — feasted on foods fitting the theme, including homemade pizza from Prova Pizza, cotton candy, popcorn and hot dogs.

Mario Lopez carnival kids birthday party
Chalkboard art by JR Thompson – Dawn Gregg

“[The kids] just loved the colors and the feel of it,” says Lopez. “They had a great time.”

Mario Lopez carnival kids birthday party
Treats by Polkatots Cupcakes – Dawn Gregg

After the festivities ended, guests took home favor boxes that included personalized Mabel’s Labels, Net Nanny Internet protection software, animal fact cards, Ella + Mila nail polish and carnival stickers.

Mario Lopez carnival kids birthday party
Dawn Gregg

For Lopez, seeing his two kids turn another year older is “bittersweet.”

“I’d love to see them stay small, but I’m so happy to see them growing up into respectful, polite big kids,” he says. “That’s what’s most important to me.”

Mario Lopez carnival kids birthday party
Dawn Gregg

To read more about Lopez’s carnival kids’ party, and to see photos, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

— Gabrielle Olya

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Showing 14 comments

zMichelle on

I have that tent from Ikea

Robin on

It should be turns five, not turned. Gia hasn’t had her birthday yet.

Beth on

Robin, her birthday was Fri Sept 11th… So she “turned” 5.

Dede on

I think it’s a mistake to always celebrate your kids birthdays together as they as individuals and their individual interests need to be celebrated in their own right.

sally on

phony much?!

Lina on

Adorable photos. They look like such happy children. I also like how they gave their children nice and normal names instead of a celebrity crazy baby names.

Anonymous on

First impression was that it was over the top. However I looked up the ECHOge. It all goes to charity. It looks like gifts are purchased through the invite site and money is given to charity. not bad at all.

Anonymous on

Yay their kids are adorable.

lisa on

Gorgeous kids.

Katie on

Those kids shouldn’t have to share their birthday parties 😦 you don’t have to have such an elaborate party but each kid deserves an individual special day.

Jen on

Proceeds benefited Jameson’s Army which is a non-profit in Pittsburgh. The group raises money to help families who have a child with a heart defect. My grandson received a heart transplant in Pittsburgh and Jameson’s Army did many wonderful things to help my daughter and her husband during the roughest of times.

Courtney is from Pittsburgh and she is good friends a woman named Danielle. Danielle’s baby son, Jameson, received a heart transplant a couple years ago. Danielle founded Jameson’s Army after that and she’s done some incredible work.

cyclone on

Dear Mario Lopez, just because you love that your kids are a couple of days apart and YOU love throwing them a combo party, doesn’t mean they will love it.
My sister and I are 3 years apart too and our birthdays are a week apart and we were forced into the combo party too and we hated it.

theora on

He has very very VERY attractive children. VERY. But he is not looking good himself. And eeek, all that junk food! Where are the carrots and apples? HAHAHAHA…..and the kale?

As for not looking good, I don’t mean those dorky clothes, look at his hair and face. EEEEK. Good thing he has a radio show…

Very glad they are supporting good work in the community!!!

Zol on

His kids are so cute and they seem a loving family! Happy for them.