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Halloween Carnival Game Ideas

Updated on September 8, 2020
LindaSarhan profile image

Linda Sarhan has been a freelance writer and researcher for 20+ years and has a B.A. in English and creative writing.

Halloween carnivals can be a safe alternative to trick or treating. Discover a variety of games to inspire you to have the best carnival in town.
Halloween carnivals can be a safe alternative to trick or treating. Discover a variety of games to inspire you to have the best carnival in town. | Source

Trick-or-treating is a popular Halloween tradition in the United States. However, it has hidden dangers that have many parents concerned. Over the last twenty years, churches and other organizations have held annual events to keep the kids off the streets and give parents peace of mind. These fall festivals and Halloween carnivals are a great alternative to walking door to door trick-or-treating at strangers' houses.

Halloween carnivals not only keep children safe, but they provide a great environment that is packed full of fun and designed to create lasting childhood memories. There is a lot that goes into planning a Halloween carnival. After all, how will you keep the children entertained? What games will you play?

There are hundreds of game ideas with a fall or Halloween theme. Some you can buy already made, others will take some time to construct the game. The possibilities are endless. Here are just a few ideas that are popular for Halloween carnivals. Children love standing in line to play them again and again.

Go Fishing

This is a fun and easy game. You can use a large piece of plywood or cardboard and paint an underwater scene. Attach a string to a long stick with a clothespin at the end. Each player will then cast their line over the board. A volunteer will then clip the prize to the clothespin and gently tug on the line when ready for the item to be reeled in.

Another variation is filling a kiddie pool with water and adding magnetic fish. Each player will use a fishing pole with a magnet on the end to catch the fish. Each fish has a number written on it which determines what prize they get.

Soda Pop Ring Toss

Using either 20-oz. bottles or 2-liter bottles, create a triangle on the ground or table. Each player will then have three chances to get a ring around one of the bottles. If they manage to do so, they could win a soda pop or another prize.

Numbered Ducks

Although geared toward preschool, this game is great for any age. Gather together several rubber ducks and write the numbers 1, 2, or 3 on the bottoms. Use a kiddie pool filled with water to place the ducks in. Each player picks up one duck and the prize category depends on the number underneath the duck.

Break a Plate

This is especially fun for the older kids. Set up a line of plastic plates and have the players throw three balls at them. You could choose to have prize levels for the number of plates broke or a prize for participation.

Bean Bag Toss

You can use plywood or cardboard to paint a scene or a jack-o-lantern. Using three bean bags, each player must try to get one through one of the holes in the board. For those that do, they get a special prize. If you would prefer to buy a game already made, there are a variety of games available across the web for under $30 in a variety of themes, including Halloween themes.

Knock Down Cans

This is a classic game for carnivals. Simply stack cans into a pyramid and have the players use a ball or bean bag to try to knock them all down. Each player gets three chances. Have prizes handy, including special prizes for those who knock them all down with one throw.

Duck/Can Shoot

Kids of all ages love to take a turn at this game. You can purchase one at anywhere from $30.00 to $150.00 depending upon the features you want and the size of the game. You could also build your own by using Nerf guns and decorating cans with a Halloween theme.

Balloon Dart Throw

This is a game that must be monitored for safety reasons, but kids and adults love this game. Blow up several balloons and attach them to a large board or plywood. Hand the player three darts and have them try to pop as many balloons as possible. Prize level ideas include prizes by color or how many balloons they pop.

Shoot the Candles

Set up votive candles in small dishes with water. Have each player stand behind the designated line and use a water gun to try putting out each candle. Because of the flame, this game needs adult supervision at all times.

Penny Drop

Use a bottle or a can and have each player stand on a step stool. Have them try to drop pennies inside the can or bottle. This is easier said than done. For those who get pennies inside the container, you could give them a special prize.

Toilet Paper Toss

To set up this game, use a cardboard box with a hole cut out at the top. Attach another piece of cardboard as a backboard. You can paint and decorate the cardboard frame. Then attach a used toilet seat to the top of the hole. Each player must get a roll of toilet paper in the "toilet" to get a prize. To keep the toilet paper roll from unrolling, use masking tape to tape around each roll.

Can Toss

Set out ten cans or mini pails in a line. You can decorate the cans with a Halloween theme. Have players try to toss a golf ball into each can. Each can have a different prize so this makes it fun for all ages. Each player that can make all ten cans receive a grand prize.

Witch Pitch

Another variation is the "Witch Pitch". For this game, you can use a wood board cut out of a witch's hat or go with a cheaper version by using black foam board or poster board easily found at the Dollar Tree. You can design the playing board with paint, foam letters, and candy corn. Next, glue small, black plastic caldrons to the board. These are easily found at the Dollar Tree and other party supply stores.

To play, have the players take turns trying to toss candy corn pieces into the cauldron. You can choose to have prize levels for the number of candy corns that make it in or simply a participation prize. Either way, Witch Pitch is a fun game that should keep participants happy and coming back to have another turn.


Pin the Spider on Web

This is a fun interactive party game that can be modified for a carnival. Use poster board to create a web and have plenty of spiders on hand with tape on the back. Blindfold each player and spin them three times. You could have prize levels for those that get the closest to the center of the web.


Have plenty of prizes on hand. It is better to have too much than too little. If you are worried about costs, ask that each person bring a bag of candy as admittance. This will help keep costs down and allow everyone to have fun.


What's your favorite part of Halloween?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 L Sarhan


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