Cook-Oﬀ / Bake-Oﬀ Contest
For this, be sure to give your participants ample time to make something. Communicate clearly the following: • Theme / what to make • Rules of the contest • Date they need to let you know they are participating (so you have enough space set up) • Judging • Prizes • What will happen with the ﬁnal food
Cotton Candy / Popcorn Booth
Some of your concessions will have machines associated with them. Be sure the volunteer running it knows how. If not, ﬁnd someone who does to give a quick lesson. For popcorn, some people can’t have excess salt. If you plan to work around this you can put less salt on everything or run a special batch occasionally.
Craft Table: Making
You can keep kids and adults busy with self-directed crafts. Provide an example and an instruction sheet for each craft. You will need a volunteer to help oﬀer directions, ﬁnd scissors, etc. However, you can have one volunteer do multiple crafts. Your volunteer needs to understand the crafts and be able to oﬀer help. If possible, have your volunteer do one of each craft so they have experience to help others. The best part of a craft table is that you can adjust your crafts to any theme.
Craft Table: Selling
You can “sell” crafts many ways. One is to ask everyone to donate hand-crafted items that can be sold and the money go to help pay for the carnival’s out-of-pocket expenses. Another is to oﬀer tables for various groups / troops to sell their own hand-crafted items. Each table would be manned by the group so you don’t have to ﬁnd volunteers.
If you’re planning a dance party, be sure to have extra and attentive volunteers. This is especially true for older kids. Some of the dances older persons might ﬁnd oﬀensive. You may also want to put together a play list the kids can choose from to eliminate songs that are questionable, have dance moves that you don’t want the kids to do, etc. In addition, make sure you have an area clear for dancing. You may even want to tape it oﬀ so no one claims the space at the last minute. Test your equipment. Make sure the sound is loud enough so it can be heard even when there are a lot of bodies absorbing the sound. For example, a jam box may be good for a small area, but with the noise from a large group of people in a gym, it might be hard to hear.
Decorate Your Food
Using cookies or cupcakes, allow kids to decorate as they see ﬁt. This might be with frosting, sprinkles, etc. Be sure to use plastic tablecloths so you can roll up the resulting mess to throw away.
Throwing balls at the dunk tank isn’t fun unless you have volunteers your participants want to dunk. This is best outdoors so the water mess is minimized. Put a tarp or sheet behind the tank so you can contain the thrown balls. The amount of time each volunteer spends in the tank is dependent on the weather and individual. Some people do not handle cooler temperatures well. Be sure to have a back-up plan in case it is cold outside.