School carnivals are always popular events for parents and students alike, giving everyone a chance to have fun and play with other families in the community. Carnivals are always a blast, but yours doesn’t have to follow a specific formula to be unique and exciting! There are plenty of ways to plan a carnival that your families will love while working with your space and budget.
Ready to plan the best school carnival your school has ever seen? We’re ready too! Here is your go-to school carnival planning guide to help you make the most of this special event:
1. Assemble a Team
First, you need a rockstar committee to help make everything come together! Volunteer parents will be your bread and butter, especially if your carnival is a fundraiser for school supplies or other community needs. Send out a letter or email well in advance of the carnival planning time, inviting parents to sign up for everything from hosting a booth to bringing food to joining the planning team to make it all come together.
To make it a seamless experience, you should have at least a few point people from your school’s faculty or staff who can answer questions and ensure each aspect of carnival planning goes seamlessly.
2. Determine Your Mission
You may already have a specific goal in mind, like some sort of school fundraising need. But if not, now is the time to ask your committee for input on what cause the carnival should support!
The more your team and community are excited about the fundraising side of things, the more likely they are to participate and make your carnival a booming success! And don’t forget to get specific about your cause too. The more distinct, the more likely the community is to rally around your cause and come out to support your school carnival.
3. Choose a Theme
Your school carnival’s theme can focus on the season (like a fall festival), holidays, or another creative party idea. The possibilities are endless! A popular school fundraiser idea is a backyard fall theme to kick off the school year, but you can also stick with the classics and do a classic carnival theme complete with moonwalks, obstacle courses, and carnival games.
4. Set Your Destination
Next up, you need a location! This may be as simple as the school gymnasium or football field, but depending on your school’s size and the specifics of the event, you may want to rent out a space that better fits your needs. Think about the time of year when planning your event’s location. For instance, winter events are best held indoor, but an after-prom or after-grad party that’s closer to summertime might be okay with some outdoor elements for an outdoor Kansas City event. (Even so, have a contingency plan just in case of bad weather!)
5. Schedule the Big Day
If your theme is holiday- or season-dependent, choose a date and time that works well with it! Keep in mind what else is on the school calendar when your event occurs. For example, you won’t want to hold a spring school carnival the first weekend of spring break. Weekends and after school are usually ideal, giving parents the best chance to volunteer! You should also consider other community or local events that may conflict with your school carnival, such as sporting events or annual community celebrations.
6. Get Your Ducks in a Row
Any large event will involve some level of permits and insurance. It’s important to make sure everyone is safe and everything is above board to protect your school and attendees alike.
Aside from the obligatory preparations, the rest of your ducks are much more fun. That’s right, it’s time to pick your activities, games, and concessions — and that means scheduling vendors! Here at Fun Services, we offer all the rentals you could want, including games, inflatables, and even entertainers! Kansas City schools know where the party is at (hint: it’s with us). Here are just a few of our favorites that can make your carnival experience amazing:
- Caricature art with Deb McQueen and the Fine Tooners
- Non-toxic, hypo-allergenic face painting
- Obstacle courses like our new X Factor Obstacle
- Prize-winning carnival games like our new Fish in a Bowl or Bumper 2 Bumper
- And, of course, what says carnival more than a cotton candy machine?
7. Don’t Skip the Details!
The more thought and attention to detail you put into this event, the more exciting and immersive the big event will be! Here are a few bonus tips to round off our school carnival planning guide:
- Map out your event ahead of time with all your rentals and activities, and consider printing maps to hand out at the carnival.
- Have activities where attendees can win prizes. If parents are hosting booths, encourage them to bring prizes for their games.
- Plan and organize your finances. You don’t want to have money flying all over the place, getting lost, mismanaged, or even stolen! Appoint a trustworthy individual as committee treasurer and task them with budgeting your funds for the event, and on the day of, try to set up only one location that sells tickets attendees can redeem for food and activities.
- Include sign-ups for future events! What better place to get parents involved than at an exciting event? Now is the time to start prepping parents to volunteer for future fundraisers and school activities, and even start signing kids up for the next holiday shop!
Plan Your School Carnival the FUN Way!
We love engaging with our local schools in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas, bringing the fun to our communities with the best catalog of rentals around. Once you’ve got your theme, your committee, and your budget ready to roll, contact us for a quote!