Carnival Graduation Party Ideas


Celebrate your graduate with a carnival-themed party. Transform your backyard into a carnival extravaganza complete with games and food. Set up booths for guests to play games and win tickets. Additionally, the menu should include carnival goodies such as cotton candy and funnel cakes. The graduate and her guests will enjoy being able to be kids again.


  • Set the tone for the carnival party by sending invitations that look like carnival tickets, with party details inside. If you cannot find a ticket-shaped invites, use regular-sized tickets instead. Another option is to carefully disassemble popcorn boxes and use the flat pieces as invitations. You may need to trim them to fit inside a standard envelope.


  • Mark the entrance to the party area with a balloon arch. Banners welcoming guests, as well as listing the games and food available, can also be displayed before they enter the carnival. If you have the room, set up a tent in your backyard for the games and food. String lights and lanterns also work well as both decorations and lighting.


  • Instead of traditional goody bags for favors, let guests win gifts by playing carnival games. Allow everyone to receive tickets, whether they win or lose. Display prizes in a central location where guests can trade tickets in for their favors. Give each guest a small plastic bucket when they arrive, for their tickets. They can also use it to hold their prizes and keep their hands free while they play games.


  • Hot dogs, cotton candy and popcorn are musts for a carnival-themed graduation party. If possible, rent an old-fashioned popcorn machine and cotton candy maker. Additionally, you can decorate other foods to stick with the theme. Use icing to decorate cupcakes in circus peanuts, balloons and colorful designs. Ask your local bakery to create a 3D carnival scene for the cake. Include elephants, clowns, lions, trapeze artists and a ringmaster.


  • Plan for simple carnival games for guests to enjoy, such as a bean bag toss, duck pond and dunking booth. Set up a table for each game. Decorate the tables with a tablecloth, streamers and balloons. Include a display board with the booth's name and the game's directions. Other activities you can include are a bounce house, pie eating contest, cake walk and face painting.

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