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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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