Decorating Ideas for a Carnival Theme Party

Photo of clown decorations at a carnival.

Carnival party decorations can accommodate any budget because inexpensive, disposable, and homemade items fit right in with this theme. Nothing needs to match or coordinate. In fact, too much effort to match decorations may spoil the random look and feel of a great carnival.

Carnival Theme Elements

Focus on the following elements when planning your carnival party, and you can't go wrong:

  • Bright, primary colors and stripes
  • Balls and balloons
  • Booths, concession stands
  • Tents
  • Mardi-Gras beads and masks (Include these if your theme is specifically Carnival rather than a children's carnival.)

Carnival party decorations should be bold, bright, and exciting.

Ideas for Carnival Party Decorations


You can rent popcorn and cotton candy machines at your local party rental store, or you can make pretend machines by decorating cardboard boxes to resemble real ones and fill them with popcorn and cotton candy bought from a store.

Seating and Tables

Picnic tables and benches or folding chairs provide perfect seating for carnival-themed parties. If you cover the tables, use plastic, striped or gingham-checked cloths. Most dollar or party stores carry bright, plastic tablecloths. Sprinkle table tops with paper confetti and small prizes.

Favors and Prizes

Popcorn boxes with each guest's name marked clearly on the outside are inexpensive and creative favor containers. Fill each box with small carnival prizes, candy, and a stuffed toy if your guests are children. If your guests are adults, fill their favor boxes with gag gifts and Mardi Gras beads from your local party store.Prizes can be part of your carnival ambience if you hang them from a tree or clothesline behind a game booth. In fact, colorful booths made of painted cardboard boxes will add fun and ambience to your carnival atmosphere. Use one as a concession stand, another as a DJ booth for music and announcements, and another for your carnival games.


It doesn't matter if you make tents out of blankets draped over tables, your party guests will gravitate to them-especially curious children. Carnivals always have tents, and no guest can resist a peek inside, so include at least one for maximum fun.No need to rent a tent if you have an old camping tent in the garage or can borrow one from friends. Tie several long, crepe streamers and a simple pennant to the top center before setting it up for a cool looking carnival tent. Inside, a fortune teller can sit and wait for curious guests to enter.


Your carnival party decorations should include magical lighting, especially if your party is at night. Use colored holiday lights strung around poles, over your patio - any place that will not cause a safety hazard.

Banners and Streamers

Carnivals have banners and streamers hanging from every pole and tent. Get banner paper from your local office-supply store and paint banners with bright paints to hang over games and concession stands. If your carnival party is in celebration of a birthday, proclaim your birthday greetings with a large banner hung over the cake or gift table.

Buy colorful, inexpensive rolls of blank tickets at your local dollar, discount, or office supply store, and pin them up to ceilings and tops of doorways like streamers.

Have fun with your carnival party. Add lots of colorful, helium-filled balloons and place bouncy balls on the lawn, then stand back and watch the fun. The only rules to decorating your party are to keep it colorful, simple, and fun.

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Decorating Ideas for a Carnival Theme Party