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Carnivals are not just for Elementary Schools, they are a lot of work, but can raise a lot of money.

Every school is different, in our school (Highland Park PTSO) we have always considered our “Carnival in the Park” as a Social Event. Meaning we were not out to make money, but we do make money. (over $4000.00)

If you go to the Download section, I have uploaded a bunch of our “papers” on our carnival, so maybe it will help somewhat.


Here are some areas with ideas, please add your thought or comments at the bottom of the page.

  • Day or Night:
    • If you have it at night, if you school does not have lights you will need to rent lights, which can be VERY costly.
  • Food:
    • Bring in a vendor to do all your food for you, or do it yourself.
      • Doing it yourself is going to make you ALOT more money, but it is a big job.
      • If you have a vendor come in, it is nice and easy, they do everything for you, but you make a lot less out of it.
  • Cost
    • Tickets
      • some like to use tickets, you sell tickets to use at each booth, we choose not to do it this way, feel feel like it is more economical for families to just pay for a wristband which covers all game booths and bouncers
    • Wristbands
      • Our wristbands are good for everything except food, we sell them for $10.00 each or a family pack for $40.00, so no family had to pay more then $40.00 for their whole family to come and enjoy the day.
    • Food
      • We do our own food, we make over $1000.00 just on food.
    • Gate Entrance
      • We don’t charge to come in, we feel like if they come in they will spend money some how. Like on the Silent auction baskets, food, Photo Booth, balloons etcs.
  • Games and Booths
    • We assign all the booths out to our teachers, we have lists of ideas, they can pick and we help with all the supplies for the game/booth, and we give them the prizes to give out. Not all teachers have game booths, some are over the bouncers or a food area. In the FILE SECTION, I have uploaded game ideas etc
  • Photo Booth
    • Another thing we did last year, which seemed to be a fun things, was we had a “Photo Booth” in years past we have set up a place to take pictures, but we would only sell like 5 pictures. We had purchased a photo printer for a Breakfast with Santa event. I got the idea about a photo booth from one I saw at a wedding, But they are very expensive and we are just a Elementary school, I think for a prom or something it is a fun and great idea. We made our own photo booth from PVC and sheets, I asked my daughters friend who has a nice camera to come and take pictures, we would then take the card out of her camera and print them on the printer. We had some dresses ups they could dress up in for fun. Silly glasses, wigs, ties etc.
  • Bouncers
    • Bouncers…… not much to say there, please share who you like!
  • Silent Auction Baskets
    • I have some files in the FILE SECTION, with theme ideas, rules etc. We give all the money right back to the classrooms, we pool all the money together and give it out equally to the teachers. This is what the teachers want.
  • Jail
    • This was a fun idea a couple of great women in our school did 2 years ago and we have kept it going, someone had taken their pool fence down so we now have 4 pieces of a metal fence (but you could use anything for the jail) people (kids) pay a “sheriff” to arrest someone and then they have to get bailed out. The older kids (5-6th grade) LOVE IT!!! We have made over $100.00 off just that.
  • Duct Tape the Principal
    • Again another fun things that was started a couple years ago, we sale a yard of Duct tape for a $1.00 a yard(ish) and then when it is time for the event everyone comes and gets their tape and then tapes the Principal (or who every the kids would love to do this too) and they taped him to a basketball hoop pool. We had him standing on a stool and once everyone had put their taped on we moved the stool out from under his feet, he hand there for about 10 minutes. Again we made over $100.00
      • sm duct tape
  • Entertainment
    • We have not done anything in this area yet, we wanted to last year, but we “looked” to late for programs. Call your local High Schools, Jr Highs, local dance groups etc to see if they want to come perform. Just think if you have them come in, then that is more families from out of your school who will come and may spend some money.
  • Volunteers
    • Well we have each classroom be in charge of a booth/games or a food area (such as sno-cones, cotton candy, pop corn etc) we ask each classroom to get volunteers to work in there area. We also have had the volunteer club from the High School come and help. They are GREAT, these kids have a certain amount of hours they are required to do, so they are always looking for ways to earn hours.
  • Sponsors
    • You can use sponsors by having them donate to a silent auction basket, to sponsor a game or bouncer. They in return for there payment, get there name on the game/booth they are sponsoring, on the flyer’s that go home, on your school web site, on the front gates. etc
  • Vendor Booths
    • We offer a space for only $25.00, they only things we do is mark a spot off with chalk, they bring their own tables, pop ups etc. We do regulate what is sold so we don’t get a bunch of the same stuff, we want to make it lucrative for the vendors. I know some schools also ask for a $20.00 donation for a basket, to be raffled off.


Please share your ideas, we learn from each other!

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