48 Fun Carnival Party Ideas For The Ultimate Party!

by Jillian Leslie on

Planning a carnival-themed party? You've come to the right place. We've just rounded up 48 fun carnival party ideas from CatchMyParty.com, jam-packed with fantastic suggestions and lots of inspiration!

Carnivals are all about mystery, magic, and a whole lot of joy. Everything about them brings so much pleasure, from the sweet smells to the cheerful music. The atmosphere is just so uplifting, which is why it's such a great party theme for bringing together family and friends.

Movies like The Greatest Showman have bought about a revival of the carnival-themed birthday party. It's a great theme for an outdoor party where everyone can get together for some laughs and great food.

48 Carnival Party ideas

48 Fun Carnival Party Ideas For The Ultimate Party!

Take a look at the amazing carnival birthday party ideas we've put together to help inspire you.

1. Ticket Booth

Set up a ticket booth close to the entrance of your carnival party. Here your family and friends will receive a number of tickets that they'll need to be able to play games at the different carnival booths

Each game should have a sign letting everyone know how many tickets they needed to play.

Make sure you have a different number of tickets for each game to make the carnival more fun.

Ticket Booth

2. Carnival Game Booths

The fun of a carnival is, without a doubt, the game booths with traditional carnival games, like Rubber Duck Pond, Tin Can Alley, and Dart Throw.

If you aren't able to rent actual booths, you can easily try and create some yourself by setting up a different table for each game, with a stripy red and white table cloth and a sign.

Carnival Game Booths

3.  Ring Toss

A simple game of 'Ring Toss' is another carnival classic!

Set up a couple of rows of bottles and dare your guests to throw a ring and have it land bang on a bottle to win a prize!

Ring Toss

4. Spin-A-Prize

Another fun backyard carnival party game is a 'Spin-a-Prize'.

To play, each guest has a go at spinning the wheel.

They win the prize corresponding to the number that they've landed on.


5. Rubber Duck Pond

Kids of all ages love having a go at the duck pond game.

It's really simple to prep. Just write matching numbers on the back of some plastic plates.

Glue a rubber duck to each plate with a hot glue gun and place them in a small wading pool with some water and let them float around.

Each one of your guests must try to catch a duck with a pole and find the matching hidden numbers on the bottom to win a prize!

Rubber Ducks

6. Dart Throw

A fun game of dart throw is sure to be a blast!

Hang a bunch of colorful balloons in a stand and leave out some darts for your party guests to have a go.

The prize goes to whoever pops the most!

Dart Throw

7. Tin Can Alley

This next DIY game is also a carnival party favorite!

Stack up a tower of tin cans in a pyramid shape and let your guests' can have a go at throwing bean bags at them to knock them down.

Make sure you draw a “stand behind” line in chalk so people know exactly where to stand.

Ring TossTin Can Alley

8. Bean Bag Toss

This next carnival party idea is sure to be a hit!

Fill a basket, bucket, or box with some bean bags for your guests to pick up and use to play bean bag toss.

Points are gained when the bean bag they throw is able to hit a certain number of points on the sheet.

Bean Bag Toss

9. Carnival Prize Board

Set up a DIY carnival prize table with a red and white striped table skirt, like the ones you see at real carnivals.

Buy a bunch of random small toys, stickers, and candies to use as prizes at your party.

The best part is that the prizes can also be party favors so it’s a win-win!

Carnival Prize Board

10. Clown Noses

Fill a container with a bunch of clown noses so your guests can grab one and clown around.

It's a great way to lighten the mood and add some laughs to your celebration!

Clown Noses

11. Carnival Photo Booth Props

Set the stage for the best carnival party photos ever with some awesome props.

Add a ringmaster hat and some fake circus strongman weights and snap away.

Laughs are guaranteed!

Carnival Photo Booth Props

12. Carnival Photo Booth Prop

Make unforgettable memories with the help of a fun strongman photo booth cutout.

Everyone is going to have so much fun pulling funny faces.

Carnival Photo Booth Prop

13. Face Painting

Face painting is a safe bet at parties and a favorite with both older and younger children.

There's something so exciting about being transformed into an animal or fantasy character, which is why it's a great photo booth prop too.

You can either paint your little guests yourself with some face paints if you have the skills or hire a face painter to come over and do their magic.

Face Painting

14. Hire an Entertainer

Real-life entertainers are really popular at kids' parties and are a wonderful birthday idea.

They are great at keeping everyone enthralled with their magic tricks, juggling, and acrobatics.

Hire a Entertainer

15. Carnival Dessert Table

Impress your guests with a carnival-themed dessert table designed to look like a vintage carnival stall.

Red and white stripes are a carnival classic that you should most definitely be incorporated in your carnival party decorations. They'll look fantastic as a backdrop or even on a table skirt.

Place all your fun food on your dessert table alongside some typical props that you'd find on carnival side stalls, such as a stack of tin cans, or a row of rubber ducks.

Carnival Dessert Table

16. Carnival Birthday Cake

The birthday cake is the main event of any birthday party so you'll want to make sure yours is the ultimate show stopper.

Top a regular birthday cake with this gorgeous vintage Ferris Wheel to create the carnival-themed birthday cake of your dreams.

Carnival Birthday Cake

17. Carnival Bunting Birthday Cake

Another awesome, and really simple, idea for a carnival cake is to simply top a rustic layer cake with a colorful banner.

This is definitely a case of less being more. Again, this cake will also look amazing and take center stage on your dessert table.

Carnival Bunting Birthday Cake

18. Duck Pond Birthday Cake

If you are looking for something that will impress then check out this next birthday cake!

Transform your birthday cake into a fun duck pond-themed one by topping it with a bunch of jolly rubber ducks.

Your party guests won't be forgetting it anytime soon.

Duck Pond Birthday Cake

19. Carnival Menu Board

There are so many different types of carnival food that spring to mind as soon as you hear the word carnival!

Who doesn't love a delicious corn dog, pretzel, or candy apple (to name just a few)?

A menu sign is a cool party decoration that will let your guests know exactly what carnival food is being served at your party.

Carnival Menu Board

20. Gumball Cake Pops 

Your party guests are gonna love these fun gumball machine cake pops!

They are totally on theme and are a great addition to any carnival-themed party.

Gumball Cake Pops

21. Rubber Duck Cupcakes

'Ducks in a Row' is a popular carnival game, which is why adding some cutout rubber duck cupcake toppers to your cupcakes is such a wonderful idea.

They are lots of fun and will look amazing on your dessert table!

Rubber Duck Cupcakes

22. Popcorn Cupcakes

Check out these cool popcorn bucket-inspired cupcakes.

They are so easy to recreate at home and are sure to impress your guests.

All you need to do is add a little yellow food coloring to some mini marshmallows and top your cupcakes with them.

Add a popcorn bucket wrapper and you've got yourself the best cupcakes for a carnival or circus theme party!

Popcorn Cupcakes

23. Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

If you are stuck for carnival food ideas for your party check out these adorable ice cream cone cupcakes!

They are like regular cupcakes, but served in ice cream cones instead of wrappers, now how cool is that?

Don't forget to finish them off with some sprinkles and a cherry on top!

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

24. Ferris Wheel Cupcake Stand

This next carnival theme party idea will look incredible on your dessert table.

As well as being a wonderful party decoration, this Ferris wheel cupcake stand is just what you need to serve your fabulous cupcakes.

Ferris Wheel Cupcake Stand

25. Carnival Cookies

Cookies are a must-have at any kid’s birthday party. Sugar-coated cookies are always a big hit and these carnival-themed ones are no different.

Your guests won't be able to resist a fun mix of cookies. Included below are tickets, popcorn buckets, and circus tents, to name just a few.

Carnival Cookies

26. Dumbell Marshmallows

Strongmen are a fun attraction at a vintage carnival, so how about serving these easy marshmallow dumbells at your party?

Simply stick two marshmallows at either end of a cute paper straw and dip them in chocolate. That's it! Easy!

Dumbell Marshmallows

27. Carnival Cupcakes

You can't get more carnival-themed cupcakes than these with a 'carnival' topper.

Add a stripy red and white wrapper and from afar it looks like you've got a plate full of mini circus tents!

Carnival Cupcakes

28. Popcorn Krispie Treats

Treat your guests to some cute popcorn bucket Krispie Treats.

You can bet they'll be a hit at your party and will look fab on your dessert table!

Popcorn Krispie Treats

29. Candy Apples

Both kids and adults alike love nothing more than a bite out of a delicious candy apple on a stick.

They are a staple sweet treat at fairs and carnivals which is why they are a must-have at your party!

Decorate them with a cute ribbon to make them pop.

Candy Apples

30. Peanuts

Whether you are on a limited budget or not, a bag full of peanuts is the perfect snack to nibble on and carry around at a carnival party.

Place a couple of handfuls in vintage paper bags and you're done!


31. Candy and Lollipops

If you are planning on throwing the best carnival birthday party ever don't forget to include a tonne load of candy.

Who can resist candy at a carnival? It's the best part! So stock up on as much candy as you can get your hands on.

Add some to your party favor bags too!

Candy and Lollipops

32. Vintage Gumball Machine

Gumballs bring out the kid in all of us. It's a cool retro candy that takes us back to actual fun days at carnivals and local fairs.

If you can get a hold of a gumball machine, treat your guests to the pleasure of this sweet, colorful treat.

It will look fantastic on your dessert table!

Gumball Machine

33. Pretzels

Grabbing a pretzel at a carnival, or fair is all part of the fun.

Add a pretzel wall at your party so your guests can help themselves to a deliciously soft piece of heaven.


34. Twinkie "Corn Dogs"

Corn dogs are undoubtedly a staple at a carnival. Mix things up a bit and serve some fun and easy-to-make Twinkie corn dogs instead?

All you need to do is stick a colorful paper straw in a Twinkie and place it on a paper tray.

They really couldn't be easier to make and will absolutely ook the part at your party.

Corn Dogs

35. Vintage Popcorn Cart

Food carts are perfect for a carnival birthday party theme.

It's a great way to serve food that everyone can eat on the go and whenever they wish.

You can't have a carnival without popcorn, so hire a popcorn cart and treat your guests to the all-time favorite snack!

Vintage Popcorn Cart

36. Vintage Hot Dog Stand

Everyone loves a delicious hot dog. It's such an easy food because it can be eaten on the go. There's no need for a seat or even cutlery, which is why it's the ultimate grab-and-go party food.

Treat your guests to a vintage-like hot dog stand to help create a traditional carnival atmosphere.

Vintage Hot Dog Stand

37. Lemonade Stand

A lemonade stand has a special place in all our hearts and is a lovely crowd pleaser, especially at a carnival.

Nothing better than a refreshing glass of sweet lemonade on a hot summer day, so treat your guests to a vintage lemonade stand where they can quench their thirst.

Treat them to a variety of different flavored lemonades, such as peach, or even watermelon!

Lemonade Stand

38. Carnival Cutlery, Paper Straws and Cups

You can carry a party theme throughout your celebration by simply adding bold and bright colors. Grab a mix of striped and dotted paper straws, plates, and cups so your table settings are also on-theme. Place them in tin buckets or large glass jars so your guests can help themselves.

There are so many wonderful carnival-themed party supplies out there, so it's pretty easy to get a hold of a bunch of cool supplies for your party.

Carnival Cutlery, Paper Straws and Cups

39. Carnival Table Settings

It's important to make your carnival table settings as much fun as possible.

Add bright colors, especially red, blue, white, and yellow, with lots of stripes, polka dots, and stars.

Carnival Table Settings

40. Carnival Table Settings

Place a party hat on each plate. Not only are they a great party decoration but kids will be able to wear them during their meal.

Using balloons as centerpieces is a fab idea for birthday parties, The more the merrier!

Carnival Table Settings

41. Carnival Centerpiece

Create a carnival vibe at your party with these colorful and fun carnival centerpieces.

Grab some carnival photo booth props and some paper fans, stuck on some wooden skewers, and place them in a popcorn box.

It's really that effortless and they'll look totally on theme!

Carnival Centrepiece

42. Floral Popcorn Centerpiece

Decorate the tables at your party with a twist, by adding these floral popcorn centerpieces.

Place some white hydrangeas in a vase and cover the vase with an adequately-sized popcorn box.

The result is an impressive and easy party decoration!

Floral Popcorn Centrepiece

43. Carnival Party Food Box

Treat your guests to a packed lunch in a carnival-themed party food box and add it to your table settings.

Not only are they a great party decoration, that will look awesome at each seat, but they are also a convenient way to serve party food for each of your guests.

Carnival Party Food Box

44. Carnival Party Sign

Make sure everyone knows exactly where all the fun is happening with your typical colorful carnival party sign!

Place it beside your ticket booth so everyone knows where to go for food, games, prizes, etc...

It's not a carnival without one!

Carnival Party Sign

45. Popcorn Balloon Decor

Some people like to add circus party decorations to their carnival party, like setting up a circus tent for games or desserts.

Another awesome party decoration that will fit in perfectly with your carnival theme is a large, life-size, popcorn balloon garland.

You could have two of them on either side and make them the entrance to your carnival party.

Popcorn Balloon Decor

46. Carnival Activity Pad

It's not easy keeping kids entertained at a birthday party, so if you are looking for a great idea that is quick and easy to put together then a carnival activity pad may be just what you are looking for.

Download and print out some carnival-themed activity sheets, with some easy games, mazes, and coloring, and assemble them together to create your very own activity pad.

Set up an activity station at your party, with some pencils and crayons, so kids can sit down and enjoy them, or, have them as party favors so kids can take them home.

Carnival Activity Pads

47. Carnival Party Favors

If you are stuck for a fun carnival-themed party favor, then you won't want to miss this awesome idea!

Fill a traditional popcorn box with a bunch of carnival-themed goodies, such as some plush toys, candy, a water pistol, and maybe even a carnival activity pad.

Carnival Party Favors

48. Cotton Candy Party Favor

Cotton candy is a classic carnival delight, so how about packing it in a transparent plastic bag with a fab tag and sending your guests home with this nostalgic and whimsy sweet treat!

It's the perfect party favor to take home after a fun day at a carnival!

Cotton Candy Party Favors


We have more wonderful ideas for carnival parties and carnival party supplies.


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