Amy’s Free Ideas

Seasons   > Autumn > Ways to Celebrate > Halloween Alternatives > 20 Booths for a Home Made Country Fair

Candle shoot:

Children try to extinguish the flame on a candle, or row of candles. (Allow a certain number of squirts, or use a smaller water gun--it won’t be as exciting, but does limit the amount of water per person!) This booth can get messy, so it is best done outside or in a bathroom, or lay a tarp on the floor. Keep lots of matches and towels handy as well as extra candles incase they become difficult to relight wet.

Can Knock Down:

Stack empty cans and give each child 3 balls or bean bags to try to knock down all the cans. Gift boxes would be fun to knock over, too. The green cups are actually a stacking game, so the booth could be a stacking game rather than a knocking over game.

Sling shot:

Any target will do--whether it is to get the ball in a hole, or to knock something over (such as the monsters shown above.) Cut holes in a box, or mark areas on the floor, or  collect several boxes or trash cans for children to try to shoot all their balls into.

Sponge Throw

Draw a funny picture on a board or plastic sheet and cut out one or two face holes. Provide a bucket of water and sponges for children to wet the sponge and then throw at the faces in the holes. Water guns could be used as well. If you don’t have an artistic friend to draw this for you, you can use an overhead projector to enlarge a picture and copy it.

Children love this one, especially if they can choose who they try to hit with a wet sponge! They delight in trying to douse the pastor, youth pastor, a cool teen age boy or a best friend that is being targeted. Parents are good, too, just not quite as cool.

Setting up a fair or carnival is not something you can do alone--you need a lot of people to man the booths. Recruit parents of your children’s friends, neighbors, grandparents, nephews, nieces, older siblings, or people from your church. If you still can’t find enough people, the children themselves can take turns running the booths, and then have a turn to play at each booth. Places to find prizes and games for the booths, include your own garage or children’s toy box, dollar stores, or order from the Oriental Trading Company.

Link to

The booths can be made with tables and dollar store tablecloths, or simply mark off an area on the floor with tape, or for outdoors, hold rope in place with wire clothes hangers cut up and bent into “U” shapes to poke into the dirt.

HINT: Make it easy for children to win. Try the booth yourself, then adjust it so it is easy enough for most kids to be able to accomplish. Also, make it easier for younger children--give them more tries, or let them do it from a closer range. If they never win any prizes, it’s not going to be much fun.

Skittle Bowl:

Fasten a ball to a frame, and let the children try to swing the ball to knock over an object, such as a bowling pin, soft drink bottle, stuffed animal, etc. You don’t have to make a frame--look around for what you already have. For example, fasten a clamp or tension rod in a door frame, or closet door.

Costume contest:

Let the children parade around to music at the appointed time, then pass out lots of prizes--prettiest, ugliest, most creative, most life-like, funniest, cutest, etc. etc.

Cake walk:

Have the children walk on squares, and  like musical chairs, when the music stops, the child on the designated square gets a cake (or cupcake.)

Mini Frisbee Toss:

Set up stuffed animals or other targets that are easy to knock over and give children 3 chances to knock them over. (These were purchased at a hundred yen store.)


Fill a kiddy wading pool with prizes (small bags of candy or cheap toys) with a handle.) Give the child a toy fishing pole or hand made fishing pole with a hook on the end. Set a kitchen timer to determine how long they can attempt to catch a “fish.” If there are lots of children, several kids could fish at once. An alternative: let children fish behind a curtain, so a person can put a prize on every hook without being seen.

Darts and balloons: 6 variations

1. Blow up a lot of balloons and fasten to a board or cardboard. Let children try to pop the balloons with real darts. This can be dangerous if strict precautions are not taken.  OR

2. Use darts without tips, and pop the balloons from behind the board--through holes that have been drilled into the board.

3. Use darts with magnet tips thrown onto a metal target, such as a white board (magnet darts and white boards are sold at some hundred yen stores) OR

4. Buy a set of velcro balls that come with a felt target (sold at toy stores) OR

5.  Fill a room with balloons and give a child a pin to try to pop a balloon. OR

6. Tie a balloon to each person’s ankle and let them try to stomp each other’s balloons.

Ring toss:

Buy rubber rings or make rings out of rope. Stand up several items for children to try to throw the rings onto--coke bottles, bowling pins, stuffed animals, etc. You can even have a human ring toss where the kids try to throw them onto a person’s arms and head. These rings were purchased through Oriental Trading Company.

Basketball contest:

You can probably figure out many ways to rig up a basketball hoop. The nice thing about this one is that it folds flat in it’s own storage bag! This was purchase at a toy store.

Guess how many jelly beans are in the jar:

Count the jelly beans or other candy as you put them into the jar. Award a prize to the person with the closest guess--the jar of jelly beans could be the prize!

Coin Toss/ Porcupine ball toss:

Stack bowls and dishes around and give each person 3 tries to toss a coin or button into a dish. Of course, porcupine balls are more fun, but if you use pennies, you don’t have to buy anything.


Tickets can make it seem more like a real country fair. Here are 3 ways to use them:

  1. 1.Charge a small amount per ticket to defray the costs. One ticket lets the child do one booth. OR

  2. 2.Pass them out as an invitation to come to your church for a Fall festival OR

  3. 3.Give one ticket out at each booth as a prize. When kids have collected enough tickets, they can use them at the prize winner’s booth to throw a sponge at a parent’s or friend’s face (see below.)

Draw silly monsters on  3 sided cardboard (cut up boxes) so they are easy to knock over with a ball, etc. The cuter the target and more unusual the throwing item, the more fun it is.

Ninja Star Toss:

This target is a dollar store laundry hamper that folds flat, so it doesn’t take up much storage space. The foam stars were purchased through Oriental Trading Company. Dollar stores probably have other items that could be thrown, too.

Rocket Shoot

These Air pump rockets were purchased at a hundred yen store. They shoot a long way, so they should be used outside or in a long room (though the foam tips are not likely to break anything.) See who can shoot them the highest, or farthest, or who can shoot them through a window.

Rubber Band  Gun:

These cool guns were purchased at a hundred yen store. The rubber bands can knock over any light weight targets such as empty plastic bottles--turn them upside down to make them easier to topple. If you can’t find these locally, make your own (see to the right.)

Make Your Own Rubber Band Gun:

Use wooden chopsticks or dowels, tape, and rubber bands to make rubber band guns.

view step by step instructions

Disc Shooter:

These foam disc shooters were purchased through Oriental Trading Company. They are hard to aim accurately, so the target needs to be quite large. I cut a hole in a large cardboard box, but since that was a boring target, I used colored paper to make the edges of the box into a monster face with it’s mouth open--with a big strip of red paper hanging out of the mouth  to be the tongue. Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of it.

Seasons   > Autumn > Ways to Celebrate > Halloween Alternatives > 20 Booths for a Home Made Country Fair