A Colorful Backyard Carnival Party Theme

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We brought the festivities to our backyard and created a colorful and festive carnival party theme! Sharing carnival party ideas, supplies, fun food, and charming details for hosting your own!

carnival theme party

Personally, I’m the one begging my kids to go to the carnival and fighting my way to the front of the line at the cotton candy booth. I love a good carnival and I really love a good party too.

So let’s start off by acknowledging that carnivals are not just for KIDS! This party is created for adults! It’s the perfect backyard carnival party with homemade corndogs, trays of sweets and candy, and delicious cocktails all set up in front of our 1958 vintage Airstream. Does it get more charming than that?!

If you’re hosting a carnival birthday party or any carnival party, you’ll love these ideas! For more party themes check out our ice cream bar and garden cocktail party.

colorful carnival flowers

Carnival Theme Party Ideas

These are fun and easy ideas for hosting your own backyard carnival theme party!


When you think of carnivals, it’s all about color. Keep the party colorful and fun with these ideas:

Streamers and Ribbon – Inexpensive and easy to tie into trees for flowing decor. Ribbons tied in trees give the party a whimsical look.

Flowers – Flowers add instant decor to a party. For a carnival party, make colorful ombre flowers for the tables.

Tablecloth – Cover tables with beautiful, colorful fabric. You can also buy this at craft stores.

Colorful Plates and Flatware – Check thrift stores for colorful plates. They don’t need to match! Have fun with this carnival theme! Remember, fun is the theme here because carnivals are FUN!!

Large Balloons – Easy and fun decor!

I found these vintage Texas Ware plates in all different colors at an antique store! How fun right?!

Throw Pillows – Colorful throw pillows and a low table is great for outdoor!

Confetti – Sprinkle confetti over tables for a fun and festive decor!

Sparklers – If the party is at night sparklers are fun to have in a jar!

carnival party food

Carnival Party Food Ideas

There are so many options when it comes to re-creating carnival food! We made a carnival food tray filled with some of our favorite snacks, treats, and carnival food! Here are some ideas:


Pretzel Croissant


Popcorn – Caramel, Colorful, Different Flavors

Corn Salad

Potatoe Salad

Pasta Salad

Watermelon and Berries

Cotton Candy

Caramel Apples


Mochi Ice Cream

Entertaining Tip – Since you’ll be serving food outside, make sure you use a food covers to keep buys away!

carnival food recipes

Carnival Food Recipes

Recipes for a backyard carnival party:

Ham and Cheese Sliders

Mini Lobster Rolls

Truffle Potato Chips with Prosciutto

Monkey Bread Muffins

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

New Orleans Beignets

Cheese Platter

Carnival dessert platter

Colorful Dessert Ideas

For an easy dessert, put together a platter filled with store-bought treats like donuts, churros, mochi ice cream, and chocolate-covered apples!

Watermelon Popsicles

An Easy Dessert Charcuterie Board

Lemonade Popsicle Recipe

Candy Apple Recipe

Giant Fluffy Marshmallows

Homemade Brownies with Whipped Frosting

Banana Pudding Recipe

Marble Drip Cake

Watermelon Tequila Popsicles

Easy Caramel Sauce with Sliced Apples

Ice Cream Sunday Cake

Lemon Bars – Check out all of our lemon recipes too!

watermelon cocktail

Colorful Carnival Party Drinks and Cocktails

If the party is for adults, make a colorful cocktail punch to serve!

Strawberry Watermelon

Watermelon Cocktail Punch

Jolly Rancher Shots

Pineapple Orange Party Punch

Lavender Gin + Tonic Punch

Strawberry Tequila Sodas

Ranch Water

Peach lemonade

Sparkling Grapefruit Cocktail

Cotton Candy Old Fashioned

carnival drink ideas

Spiked sparkling water is also great for a hot summer day! We’re fans of Truly Spiked Sparkling Water or White Claw! They’re low sugar, low calories, and have a hint of flavor. Guests totally enjoy them!

Here are more ways you can use a tiered galvanized tray too! They’re great for outdoor parties.

Also check out more great cocktail recipes, the best mixed drinkstequila cocktails, gin cocktails, vodka cocktails, and cheap drinks to make at home!

Carnival drink ideas

Festive Drink Ideas

Use colorful tassels as drink markers.

Make pink and blue ice cubes to serve in drinks.

Carnival Party Games

It can’t be a carnival party without games! Depending on how elaborate you want the games to be, you can rent carnival games from local party rental stores. Here’s a list of fun yard games you can also buy for your party:

Giant Wooden Blocks

Clear Fish Bowels

Face Painting Kit


Potatoe Sack Racing Bags

Carnival Party Supplies

Carnival Party Supplies

Here’s a list of fun supplies you can use for your party!

Paper Cups – Use these for popcorn and fruit.

Large White Tray – Perfect for serving food.

Popcorn Maker – A classic popcorn maker is perfect for a carnival party. We also used it for our Halloween movie night.

Paper Party Straws

Large Bucket – Fill with ice to put water and spiked waters on here.

Helium Tank

Tassels – Use these as drink markers for bottles!

Colorful Ribbons – Hang ribbon from trees for a festive look.

Hay Bales – These work as extra seating.

Oh Happy Day has wonderful, colorful party supplies too!

carnival party flowers and colorful pillows

More Party Ideas You’ll Love!

If you love this colorful party theme, be sure to check out more fun ideas!

Spring Brunch

How to Plan a Tea Party

Guide to Hosting a Tropical Party

How to Throw a Last-Minute Birthday Party

College Graduation Bubbly Bar

Snow Cone Bar

Spritzer Bar

If you host a carnival party theme, please leave a comment and let us know how it turned out!

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carnival party cocktail

Carnival Party Theme – Purple Gin and Tonic

Carnivals are colorful and the drinks should be too! Here's a recipe for a purple gin and tonic that is super easy to make. 
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Servings: 1 cocktail
Calories: 138kcal
Author: Eden


  • 2 ounces Empress Gin, purple gin
  • 6 ounces tonic water
  • 1 ounce lime juice


  • Fill a glass with ice and pour the ingredients into the glass.


Calories: 138kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 37mg | Potassium: 38mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 14IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
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