How to Choose a School Carnival Theme

Three Parts:Planning the carnivalComing up with the themeSetting up the carnival

School carnivals are usually thrown every year. These steps can help you get organized before you prepare your own school's carnival.

Part 1
Planning the carnival

  1. 1
    Ask permission. You will need to ask for permission before you start planning any event for a school. Be sure that the school authority knows about your plans and accepts you as a planning participant. You can talk to the school principal for more information.
  2. 2
    Form a council. Carnivals are difficult to organize on your own. You will need to form a council or party planning committee to help with the ideas and setup for your school carnival. Invite people to join the council and offer the more motivated persons enticing roles with plenty of room for people to innovate and use their initiative. Also bear in mind that you'll need some guidelines or checklists for people who prefer to just do as they're asked.

Part 2
Coming up with the theme

  1. 1
    Make use of existing ideas for carnival themes. While brainstorming is great (see next step), having some ideas to put on the table to get the ball rolling will help jog everyone's imagination. Here are some possible carnival theme ideas to begin with, that you can either use, modify or just throw in for the brainstorming:
    • A foodie festival: All things related to baking, barbecuing, preserving, cooking, etc.
    • A sideshow style carnival: Have small rides, lots of games, prize-winning competitions, etc.
    • An animal theme: Have a petting zoo, base games and tables on animal themes, have the children wear animal costumes, etc.
    • An art theme: Display the student's artwork everywhere and have an artistic flavor to all of the stalls, games, rides, etc.
  2. 2
    Brainstorm together. With your council formed, you can begin brainstorming ideas. Do not reject any ideas initially; instead, take all of them on board and use these ideas to generate more ideas. Once you have quite a few on the table, you can then go around the table and get people to select their top 10 ideas. Then reduce it to the top five, and start voting for the best theme.
    • Make use of online suggestions for carnivals. To help visualize what the carnival could be, set up a screen projection that can beam out internet pages to the council as they're seated around the table. Then do image searches for such topics as "carnivals", "bazaars", "fetes", "school fairs", etc. and see what is returned. The many images that return for your different searches will help to inspire the brainstorming tremendously.
  3. 3
    Be attuned to the school's makeup. Be aware of the backgrounds of the students and seek to choose a theme that is culturally acceptable that ensures the carnival is inclusive. If the carnival takes place during the holiday season, you may want to do a Christmas theme or a broader holiday theme that can also account for Hannukah, Kwanzaa, etc.
    • Seasonal carnivals can remove the focus on any single cultural or religious theme to the festival. For example, if the carnival takes place during the spring season, you may want to do an outdoor theme that involves sports and games.
  4. 4
    Consider whether items can be purchased, hired or need to be made when selecting a theme. As these can increase cost and impact on people's time and resources, they are an important determining factor for the theme.
    • For example, if the council wants to run a sideshow theme but it's clear that hiring the rides will be too costly, you can either decide to focus only on games that can be set up using school property, or you might even change the theme altogether, to one that has lower cost implications.

Part 3
Setting up the carnival

  1. 1
    Choose a location. Research on the hours of your carnival site, as well as the activities that your site offers. Make sure that allows for date and time reservations, as well as the purchasing of tickets (either online or at the doors).
  2. 2
    Set a budget. Carnivals cost money and time. Form a budget with the money you have earned for this event. You will need to find stores that can sell you decorations and rent you carnival equipment. These can be found locally anywhere in your town.
    • Have some helpers, who can take inventory of everything you purchased and keep track of all equipment used.
  3. 3
    Set a date. You must have a date set for your carnival. Be sure to get the word out. Send the students home with flyers and invitations, and make sure that the community knows about the theme, as well as the benefit of your cause.
    • Decide on the time that your carnival starts, as well as the time that it is over. Try to pick the least busy time possible.
  4. 4
    Purchase your supplies. Be sure that you have a list of everything in your budget. Purchase all your decorations a few days before the carnival. If there is any rented equipment, you will need to schedule this a few weeks prior to the actual carnival event.
  5. 5
    Decorate. Now that you have all your supplies and equipment, it is time to set it up. Have your group set up everything before the guests arrive. You should be able to set everything up within 6-7 hours if everything was prepared properly. Be sure to know where everything is to be placed prior to setting up.


  • Make sure that you have helpers who can clean up when the celebration ends.


  • Check the weather to make sure that there is no danger. In addition, check parking allotments to make sure that everyone has a place to park.

Article Info

Categories: School Popularity