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How to Plan the Perfect School Carnival

by Backyard Marketplace on June 14, 2022
How to Plan the Perfect School Carnival

A school carnival is an enjoyable tradition that PTO or PTA parents like and dislike. Parents like the fun-filled and social atmosphere that encourages a strong community and culture.

However, they often dislike the headache that comes with planning the perfect school carnival. It usually requires a huge investment in time and money.

If you’re the head of this kind of event, you might be extremely overwhelmed with all the things you need to do.

Perhaps you’re having a hard time sleeping at night wondering what you’ll miss making the event perfect. Fortunately for you, this article will help.

Here are several tips you should follow to ensure you plan the perfect school carnival:

Assemble a Committee

For those who don’t know, a carnival is made up of various aspects that have to be in sync. Make sure you search for enthusiastic and creative parents who are ready to take the challenge.

It’s important to recruit parents who don’t have a lot of other commitments so they can focus on the carnival.

Make sure you get volunteer leaders to head up logistics, games, and food.

Choose Your Objective

Oftentimes, carnivals are fundraisers. However, the goal is often to simply offer a fun event for the school community.

A couple of parents choose to host a carnival as an alternative to trick-or-treating. Ensure that every person involved in planning the perfect school carnival is on board with your goals.

Consider the Theme

Halloween and harvest festivals are excellent themes during the fall season. If you’re hosting in spring, consider a BBQ or luau theme.

A lot of schools also like to host an international theme that provides activities and food from a range of cultures.

Of course, you can always stick with the tradition. It does not matter what you choose. Make sure you choose a theme that everyone will agree on.

Be Creative

Be Creative

This is perhaps the most exciting part of the process. Planning for the activities of the day can appear overwhelming. However, you need to concentrate on several mainstays.

A traditional carnival may include a bounce house, a spinning teacups ride, and a rock-climbing wall. To help narrow down your options, make sure you consider the theme.

It’s very easy to start with the theme. Then, choose the major rides of the carnival. Next, start to fill out the other activities and games.

Smaller carnival game rentals can include a dunk tank, basketball shot, skeeball, or a ring toss. In addition to that, activities such as sand art, balloon animals, and face painting are always popular.

You can choose a couple of student volunteers to man these smaller activities and games. Don’t forget your budget when planning the perfect school carnival.

Pick the Right Location

Are you planning to host the carnival outdoors, indoors, or both? If you choose to do it outdoors, ensure you’ve got a contingency plan in case of bad weather.

Make sure you use the space creatively. Most school carnivals are held indoors. They usually stage all games in the hallway. With this, every person is not crowded in the gym or cafeteria.

Set Your Time and Date

Consider the weather of your location and other commitments families have. This is particularly true for youth sports.

If your school is into college baseball, ensure that the carnival does not conflict with a major game. If you’ve got a date in mind, examine the websites of your school district and town for scheduling conflicts.

Always set a start and end time when planning the perfect school carnival.

Know How to Make Money

Though a carnival is an ideal time for students to celebrate and have fun, it is also an ideal time to create a fund-raising opportunity for your school.

There are a lot of ways you can make money at a carnival. For instance, you can charge for themed t-shirts, sell tickets, set up raffles, and charge for meals.

Parents like to support the school of their kids while enabling them to have an enjoyable time with their friends.

Utilize Tickets Rather Than Money

Utilize Tickets Rather Than Money

During a school carnival, exchanging dollars can get a bit tedious. Also, parents don’t like their kids to waste money playing games.

Rather than accepting cash at the carnival, think about utilizing tickets. You need to assign every game or activity based on how costly that attraction is.

For instance, you should charge more tickets on carnival rides compared to a hair dye booth.

Planning the Perfect School Carnival with Games and Activities

To maximize the revenues of your carnival, the key is carnival games. There are a couple of things you must rent. This includes battling padded sumo suits, dunking booths, and bounce houses.

However, if you want your carnival activities to focus more on enjoyment instead of revenue, there are tons of well-loved and creative activities that you can put together without breaking the bank.

Karaoke Idol Stage

Consider decorating the stage of the school like the well-known TV show, “American Idol”. You can have adults and kids entertain the whole carnival.

You can charge a particular number of tickets per song and allow the audience to vote who they want to stay and leave.

Hula Hoop Contest

Prepare a couple of fun songs and invite adults and kids to compete in a hula hoop contest. There are tons of categories to choose from. This includes the best trick, most hoops, longest time, and more.

Photo Booth

You can always rent a photo booth for your school carnival. However, they are a bit expensive. If the cost of renting a photo booth is too high, you can always create your booth.

All you need is a photo printer, a digital camera, and sheets of fabric. Offer enjoyable props such as felt mustaches, colored wigs, and silly glasses.

For additional fun, allow participants to post their pictures on card stock. Then, you can decorate these photos with craft supplies, such as glitters.

Hire a Professional Face Painter

Hire a Professional Face Painter

Your carnival will not be complete if you don’t have a good face painter. Of course, you can save money by hiring an amateur to paint ugly decorations on the student’s face.

However, hiring a member of your local community to work is extremely beneficial. Hire a professional artist and allow them to do their job for the carnival.

Keep in mind that planning the perfect school carnival requires a lot of meticulous decisions. That is why you shouldn’t skimp on hiring a face painter for the event.

Bumper Cars are Always Popular

Always remember that bumper cars take up a lot of space. Thus, you might have to pass on this one if you are hosting a carnival in a small area.

However, you should always go for it if you’ve got the space. Every person in the world likes bumper cars since it enables them to get out their aggression in a fun way.

Students will love chasing after their friends and safely hitting each other.

Have a Cake Walk

Another excellent way to raise money for the school is to have a cake walk. However, what is a cakewalk? For those who don’t know, a cake walk is a very popular carnival activity.

To do this, you need to lay out a couple of numbers on the ground. It’s almost the same as a circular version of hopscotch.

Next, participants will have to stand on the numbers and dance around the circle while the music plays.

Whenever the music stops, the host will get a random raffle number. Whoever is standing on top of that number will win a cake.

The activity will continue until you’ll run out of cakes to give. This is an excellent way to sell a lot of tickets and earn a lot of money during the carnival.

Host a Talent Show

A talent show is an excellent way for the children in the school to show each other their skills.

Whenever other students see the rewards of the participants, it will encourage them to practice more for the carnival event next year.

Hire Some Food Trucks

Hire Some Food Trucks

Does your town have a couple of food trucks? From craft cupcakes to gourmet grilled cheese, think about hiring a couple of popular food truck vendors in your carnival.

These food trucks can sell an extremely limited menu of favorites at the event. Before the carnival starts, make sure you agree regarding the vendors with the prices ahead of time.

You and the vendor can agree on a percentage of food sales that gets donated to the school.


Carnivals aren’t just a family event at many schools. A carnival is a tradition that a lot of people love.

One of the main reasons why a lot of schools host carnivals is that you can easily personalize them to fit a particular community.

It requires a lot of planning to pull off a successful carnival. However, planning the perfect school carnival will be a lot easier if you follow the tips above.

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