Carnival Theme Party Ideas

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If you are planning a carnival theme party for a birthday or any occasion, we’ve got carnival party activities, food ideas, and decorations that are easy and inexpensive.

This carnival party was a blast to create, and the kids loved it. I’m sharing all the pictures below, from the activities, to the food, and the decorations!

Carnival Party Activities

Magic show!

We hired a Magician to entertain. This is a great idea because a magician that can come to your house can be an inexpensive way to engage the kids. There are lots of online directories where magicians are listed like, thumbtack, and gigmaster.

magician for a carnival themed birthday party

Face Painting and Fortune Teller

A local neighbor or teenager could be put in charge of face painting. Provide some face paint, and some simple ideas like a sun, a balloon, or an ice cream cone. This face painting kit even has stencils.. no skills necessary!

For a fortune teller, you could do several things. Get a crystal ball, and give predictions to the kids. Or, try fishing for a fortune, where you put fortune like phrases on the end of a fishing pole. Google has loads of fun ideas when you search “fortune cookie sayings printable!”

Pin Drop

Using clothespins and placing a container on the ground, let the kids try to drop the clothespin in the container. The higher up the kids are, the more difficult it is. Consider using a step stool for this activity.

Ring Toss

Some rings and something to land on, is all you need to do the ring toss game. Make your own, or this one from Amazon is only 6.99

Lawn Bowling

Another easy game, grab empty 2 liter soda bottles and wrap with paper or decorate. Then, using a ball, let the kids take turns knocking over the bottles.

lawn bowling activity for birthday party

Other games we played, Bean Bag Toss, Balloon Animals – made by the magician, and a Water Balloon Toss

Carnival Party Treats:

Snow Cones

If you are hosting a party in the summer, snow cones are always a great idea! Here’s some simple steps and supplies from Two Sisters

Cotton Candy

You know I can’t have a party without cotton candy! My sisters gave me a cotton candy machine one year for my birthday, and I’ve used it at ALL my parties! Check out my post on how to make cotton candy here!

cotton candy for a carnival party


Simple and cheap! I got the labels for the popcorn cups here on Etsy.

Popcorn for a carnival party

Gummy Candy

We filled some clear plastic cups with a variety of candy.


They definitely needed water after all that sugar! The labels to tape around the water bottles were included in the editable Etsy printables.

water for a carnival theme party

Carnival Party Decorations:

The red/white stripe plastic table runner is from Oriental Trading – it was like a 50′ roll that I cut and tape to the ceiling.

tablecloth for carnival party

Centerpieces are dollar store sand buckets that I removed the handle off and filled with floral foam, tissue paper and stuck balloons inside on balloon sticks. 

balloon centerpiece for a carnival party
Birthday banner for a carnival party

Balloon Garland has 72 balloons on it. I just used a needle and fishing line to string them and then attached them to the wall using command hooks. 

Homemade balloon arch for a carnival themed birthday
tablescape for a birthday party

Check out the Circus Party and Carnival baby shower for more ideas!


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