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Have a Neighborhood Carnival For Fun or Fund Raising!

Updated on February 4, 2016

Carnivals Are Great Summer Fun !

Everyone, from young to old, loves a carnival! The games, the food, face painting, balloons, cotton candy........what could be more fun? Carnivals are always a great time, and they are also a great was to raise money. So whether you want to raise money or just want to have some great summer fun for the neighborhood, having a carnival is a great idea. Below are all the things you need to have a successful festival, whatever the reason!

~photo courtesy of Flickr.com

Game Tickets and Raffle Tickets - and Wrist Bands

I have always found that it's easier to deal with tickets, for the games and food and such, than for everyone to take cash. The change situation alone is prohibitive to taking cash, as well as greatly reducing the possibility of theft. Making the tickets worth a quarter a piece and having several tables that sell them will usually take care of things.

For the water games side of it, rope off the area and make one gate. Let each child pay for an hour of fun, and use a wristband to show they have paid. Make sure to have signs that make it clear that this is not a babysitting service and that all kids playing there need to have their own adult supervision.

Raffles are a great way to raise money. Charge so much per ticket and either raffle off specific items or make it a 50/50 raffle where the winner gets half the money collected and you get to keep half.

Food Suggestions for Your Carnival - Keep It Simple

The key to successful food at a carnival is to have things that you can make in advance, that don't lose their appeal if they are only warm and not hot. You should also arrange for fresh food to be made every couple hours, so you can keep your booths stocked. If possible, a microwave oven is a great way to rewarm food before selling it to your customers.

  • Hot Dogs

  • Corn Dogs

  • French Fries

  • Pie Slices

  • Fresh Fruit

  • Individual Bagged Snacks like potato chips and cheese curls

  • Popcorn

  • Candy Bars

  • Cookies

  • Cupcakes

Face Painting Booth - Kids Love This !

You don't have to be DaVinci to paint faces. If nothing else, just draw a smiley face with wild hair or crazy hat. Or a few flowers and a butterfly. Kids will be mesmerized more by the fact that they are getting pictures painted on their face, than what is actually being painted. Trust me, you are your own worst critic when looking at your artistic works. Just have fun and the kids will too !

Cupcake Decorating Contest

Fun and Delicious for a Carnival or Any Summer Day

Cupcake decorating is always a delicious favorite at any carnival, and it is so easy to set up. All you need for this is a dozen plain white cupcakes, two cans of premade white frosting and a half dozen bowls of sprinkles and decorations. If you prefer not to use such high sugar decorations, you can use more healthy alternatives such as nuts, seeds, raisins and dried fruit. It is also possible to use fresh fruit, such as orange sections, pineapple pieces, cranberries, blueberries and peach slices.

Make sure to have signs in several places around the carnival to let people know what time the decorating contest will be. Wen the times arrives, sit the contestants around a table and put the decorations in the middle. Choose a time limit, such as 2 minutes or 5 minutes. When the time is up, have you carnival judges judge the winner and first runner up. Their prize is they get to keep all the cupcakes and take them home !

~photo courtesy of Flickr.com

Games You Can Make for Little to No Cost - But Still Big Fun !

  1. Tic-tac-toe Tournament. Make the boards on the sidewalk with chalk and use colored rocks or plastic cups for the game pieces.

  2. Quick putt contest. Dig a hole in the grass and sink a short tumbler into it, making sure the edge does not stick up above the ground. Two or four kids with golf clubs spread out around the hole with golf balls. (make sure to mark the balls so you can tell them apart) Have the starter yell GO and each child tries to putt the ball into the glass. The first one to make it in, wins a prize.

  3. Squirt a Duck. In a wading pool or long oval tub, place a floating duck on each side. Give two kids squirt guns and have them squirt the ducks to move them across the water. First one to reach the other side wins a prize.

  4. Frisbee-O. Hang three progressively smaller hula hoops on strings from a tree branch and have contestants throw Frisbees through them.

  5. How many Jelly Beans ? Fill a goldfish bowl with jelly beans. Have a pad of paper and pencils for people to write their guesses on and a shoe box with a slit cut in the top for them to put their papers in. Make a sign showing when the winner will be announced. The person who guesses the closest, gets the jelly beans as their prize !

  6. Make a shooting gallery by putting ping pong balls on top of bottles and let the kids try to shoot them off with squirt guns.

  7. Penny Pitch. Take a large piece of poster board and draw different size circles. Have the kids stand behind a line and toss pennies on the board and those that land in a circle, win a prize. The smaller the circle, the nicer the prize.

  8. Soggy Quarter. Fill a kiddie pool with water and place 10 glass water glasses in the pool. Kids stand behind a line and toss quarters in the pool, trying to get them in the glasses.

Have a Carnival Jail

One Ticket for Five Minutes of Incarceration

Kids can take turns being the "sheriff" that goes out and arrests people and takes them to jail. Make sure the area is roped off and there is a sign that says "JAIL" and several benches for the inmates to sit on.

Paint a Parent Contest

All You Need is Finger Paints and Parents !

Paint a Parent is always a hit with kids. Post the contest with a time. Remember to put in LARGE letters that the contestants must supply their own parent. At the appointed time, give the contestants paint brushes and have each one paint a clown face on their parent. Post a time limit of 10 minutes, and at the end of that time, the winner will be judged. The artist and subject should have their picture taken and given to them.

Please make sure to use finger paints, as some paints can be toxic if too much of it is put on a person's skin. Even with finger paints, they should not be left on for more than an hour.

~photo courtesy of Flickr.com

Have a Temporary Tattoo Booth - Fun for All Ages

Temporary Tattoo Booths are always very popular at carnivals. Besides being very inexpensive to buy, they are extremely easy to apply and remove. These are always a hit with teenagers !

Below is a video tutorial showing how to apply temporary tattoos.

How to Apply a Temporary Tattoo - Tutorial

Cotton Candy Maker - What's a Carnival Without Cotton Candy ?

This cotton candy maker is fairly inexpensive and fun for any carnival, picnic or festival. More than worth the investment !

Vintage Collection Kettle Popcorn Maker - by Nostalgia Electrics

What is a carnival without popcorn? Nothing is less expensive to make, and so easy to sell! It is the perfect food for eating while walking around enjoying the sights.

Single-Serve Snow Cone Maker by Nostalgia Electrics - Works with standard ice cubes

Snow cones are everyone's favorite, especially on a hot summer day. Very inexpensive to make and can be sold cheap and still make a profit!

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Would You Like to Have a Neighborhood Carnival? - Tell Us!

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