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$900 For ONE Carnival Booth!?!

$900 For ONE Carnival Booth!?!

Posted by Carnival Savers on Apr 11, 2023

900 Dollars fanned out on a table

You're Spending $900 on Just 1 School Carnival Booth?!

Recently, one of our Team Members was talking with a Carnival Event Coordinator while volunteering at a local school carnival. The carnival event coordinator mentioned that they spent NINE HUNDRED dollars on a single booth. Wow!

Now, to be fair, many carnival or festival planners spend $900 or more on one booth - but the big difference in this case was that this carnival event coordinator shared that this was most of her carnival budget!

Our CarnivalSavers team member felt bad, because she knew something that not everybody does. Some may say it's common sense, but it's actually not... we'll discuss the reasons why below, so keep reading!

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Please Don't Spend Most of Your Budget on 1 Booth...


For two main reasons, but let's start with the first and most important reason.

From our nearly 15 years of carnival & festival experience we don't recommend just having one "main" booth because once kids are done with your one booth, then they are out of activities to do and will likely leave soon after.

We hate to see a carnival spend 80% or more of their budget on ONE main carnival attraction or booth! (Or even two, or three!)

The school carnival mentioned above spent $900 on one booth, even though this was the majority of their entire budget! 

This is so disappointing, because when you have plenty of families & kids at your carnival, you have so many opportunities to fundraise much more money for your event!

Please don't ever let this opportunity slip by unknowingly encouraging guests to leave early by only having one or two main attractions.

If one of your goals is to raise as much money at your carnival as possible, and ensuring that families & kids are having an absolute blast in the meantime - you need lots of activities to hold your guests attention and keep them entertained!

Image above shows a girl in a hat sitting and petting a baby goat.

What Carnival Booth Costs $900?

You guessed it: the $900 booth that was a rented Petting Zoo by the school PTA.

Here at Carnival Savers - We think the Petting Zoo booth is awesome for carnivals and festivals to have a petting zoo - its a great activity for kids and makes for some adorable pictures and memories! But, if the only petting zoo you can find is really expensive, read below for some suggestions to make sure this one booth does not spend all your budget!

We all know that children LOVE petting zoos, and so do we so we can see why this school spent so much money on this insanely popular booth! While petting zoos are a blast, we were frustrated to hear that this carnival barely broke even on not only their petting zoo, but also their entire carnival (uh oh!). While breaking even is much better than losing money, we know that many carnivals, fun fairs and festivals are typically meant to be fundraisers for nonprofits, so this means you of course want to profit as much as you can! 

We can see why the Carnival Event Coordinator made this mistake: she believed that because this booth is super-popular, it would also certainly be a massive money-maker for her carnival. While her theory works okay for some carnivals, she missed a HUGE truth that is mentioned below at point #3...

Image above shows a basket filled with white eggs.

PLEASE Don't "Put All Your Eggs in 1 Basket"

You most likely heard from your grandmother, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Well, that advice holds true for carnivals too!

The Carnival Event Coordinator made her mistake by failing to realize that since kids LOVE a variety of activities!

We believe she could have made a nice profit by using her carnival's budget on several booths, and not just one big-ticket booth.

Our many years of carnival & festival volunteer experience we wouldn't ever recommend having only one "main" booth. Especially not one that costs the majority of your school's budget! This fits in perfectly with the saying "don't put all of your eggs in one basket."

And, if something goes wrong with the main and only attraction, then your carnival or festival will flop - and nobody wants that.

What do we recommend instead?

We are glad you asked!

We have three suggestions, so read below to see our top 3 ideas to overcome the issue of "one very expensive booth".

Once again, it's quite alright to have a "star attraction" at your carnival, but we would advise against it eating up most of your budget!  

nb-four.jpg Choose Some Games and Carnival Booths that "Look Big" but are Inexpensive!

Consider dividing out your budget so that you have maybe a dozen or more different activities for the kids! Here are just a few examples to see that we have several games that are simple to set up, take up some room but will not blow your budget!

Image above shows a girl tossing a ball at the Emoji Bucket Ball Game.

To start with, our Emoji Bucket Ball Game (shown above) that takes up a nice amount of space, sets up in minutes and looks cool for the kids!

Again, easy to setup and stores in a small space for years to come. The main supplies for this game are emoji buckets (you can even make yourself using assorted sand pails and a sharpie) and whiffle type balls - which will be a fraction of the big ticket price of the petting zoo.

Hoop a Toy Carnival Game by Carnival Savers
Hoop a Toy Carnival Game - 3 stuffed animals on creates with hula hoops.

Another great game is the Hoop a Toy Carnival Game (in image above) looks BIG by taking up almost a "parking spot" of space outside, it looks impressive, but is easy to setup and can be very low cost if you choose "used" stuffed animals ONLY for the game supplies - NOT the prizes.

Note: To reiterate, we do not recommend used stuffed animals as prizes - just for playing the game as the stuffed animals could get a little dusty by being outside at a carnival all day. :)

One thing kids LOVE about the Hoop a Toy Game is that generally we recommend to give away stuffed animals as the top prize. We have seen kids lined up in long lines for a chance to win at this game!

Craft Activity from Home Depot

Above Image Shows a craft table activity a a school carnival - thank you Home Depot

A shoutout to Home Depot!

For years, Home Depot has been a fantastic partner of non-profit carnivals and festivals by offering to send out their team with all the supplies needed for an outdoor craft!

Most of their crafts required the kids to get experience using using some simple tools like a hammer and nail to build a small wood birdhouse! What fun for everyone while kids gain some knowledge of "building" in the process. 

We are not sure "post-COVID" if they still offer this service, but it is worth visiting your local Home Depot and asking if they are able to offer this partnership with your non-profit carnival. 

nb-four.jpg Find a Sponsor for Your Expensive Booth

School carnival with sponsored sign and t-shirts

Image above a school carnival games with a sponsored by sign and t-shirts of the orthodontic office that sponsored the game.

If your carnival budget is $1200 and there is an amazing booth or activity you wish to add, why not see if you can get a local business such as a dentist, bank or coffee shop to "sponsor" that booth?

A really generous sponsor allows you keep your budget for other items. Don't forget to make sure you give them proper recognition - make sure to include their name on an obvious sign, a large banner, in a newsletter - or even all three!

Note: You can also have a group of businesses go together on one booth expensive booth and simply display their names on the "sponsored by" sign.

Tip - if you are going to ask for donations - be sure to ask at least 2 months before your event so it does not look like a last minute idea.   

nb-four.jpg Finally, Stretch Your Budget!

So now that you have saved loads of money on your carnival game and activities booth - you have money to spend on prizes for the kids to win when they play!

Let's be honest... kids do get really excited about wining prizes at a carnival. Here is a little proof :)


Image above shows a young child smiling and jumping as he won a stuffed animal from a carnival game

We can all argue that most of the children in the US have plenty of toys and stuffed animals...

But, to be fair, it's the little trinkets that kids take home as a memory of the fun time they had - and it makes each carnival game - "more important to win" - and super fun for kids to have that "special prize" as a token of their success!

And, we have incredible discount carnival prize sets of toys starting at just .13 cents each when bought in bulk! 

These are not just a mess of toys thrown together in a big bag.  Our team takes time to choose items that kids love and will give lots of variety at your big event - so you will get spinning toys, flying toys, bouncing toys, assorted jewelry and stationary items and more!

Click below to see all our amazing sets if you are having trouble deciding what prizes to order for your big event!


Above image shows Carnival Prizes bulk set of small toys and toy stuffed animals discount price!

Click here to see all of our discount bulk carnival prizes sets!


Thank you for reading our blog post and we hope you found it helpful for your carnival planning!  and you now know how to stretch your carnival budget like the smart planners! Wishing you all the best with your event!!