Purim 2023 is coming right up (beginning Monday evening, March 6 and ending Tuesday evening, March 7) and you can recreate some of the fun right at home with these 10 Purim Carnival Ideas. Do you remember the sights and sounds of a carnival when you were a kid? Read on to see how you can create that for those you care about.
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What is Purim and how is it celebrated?
Purim is usually a community wide event celebrated with food, fun, games and entertainment. Whether in local synagogues or at other venues, you can hear joyous music, see creative costumes and hear the traditional greeting, “Chag Purim Sa’me’ach!”
Why is Purim So Important?
Purim commemorates a 14-year dark saga for the Jews of Ancient Persia. Queen Esther saved her people from the evil royal official, Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people.
What Happens on Purim?
To remember the series of hidden miracles of Purim, we have four mitzvahs (commandments). You can read more about the four mitzvahs of Purim here.
Host Your Own Purim Celebration!
You can make your own Purim Carnival. Whether you actually have a backyard or not isn’t important. These carnival ideas can even be done inside a small apartment like mine. (Keep a mop handy! JK 😃).
The typical Purim festivities may not be happening as they usually would be. But, the essential parts of the holiday (the mitzvahs) are happening and we all can create a wonderful Purim for ourselves.
Young and Young at Heart Will Love These Purim Carnival Ideas
You can make the carnival games as simple or as detailed as you wish. You don’t need to break the bank. With a little bit of planning and some inexpensive supplies, you’ll be good to go!
1. Sack Race
All you need is a starting point, a finish line and some large garbage bags. This is probably one of my favorites. It’s quite hysterical watching people of all ages jump, jump, jump their way to the finish line.
2. Bean Bag Toss
Place 3 colored bowls (they can be different sizes) in a line, each worth different points, with the bowl worth the most points furthest from the player. Each player gets 3 tries to toss a ball into a bowl to accumulate points. Player receives one ticket per point received or one ticket for each successful toss.
3. Three in A Row
Draw a tic tac toe pattern on a large poster board. Using 5 bean bags, the player needs to get three in a row in any direction.
4. Pin the Hat on Haman
This is a take on the traditional Pin the Tail on the Donkey, but Purim style! Draw Haman on a large poster board and cut out some triangles for his hat. Write each player’s name on a hat and add a piece of masking tape to the back so it will adhere to the posterboard. Blindfold the player, give him a few gentle spins and watch the dizzy fun begin as he aims to put the hat on Haman’s head!
5. Egg and Spoon Race
Just like the Sack Race, all you need is a starting point, a finish line, eggs and spoons. Holding the egg in the spoon, each player races the other to the finish line. It’s funniest if the eggs are raw. If it’s too messy, use hard boiled eggs.
6. Ring Toss
Place 12 full water bottles standing in three rows of four. The player tosses the rings trying to land them on the bottle spout. Or, you can use this cone and rings set.
7. Ladder Toss
Open a ladder. Decorate with some streamers. Mark each step with an amount of points. The higher the step, the greater the amount of points. The player uses tennis balls to accumulate points by tossing them through the corresponding steps.
8. Flying Ducks
On a large poster board, cut out 5 circles that a rubber duckie will fit through. Assign each hole a different point value: 20, 30, 40, 50 and 100. Each player gets three throws.
9. Skee Ball
Cut 4 large poster boards of different colors into strips and staple them together to form circles. Each colored circle should nest within the others, just like a skee ball game. Each ring has progressively increasing point values. Instead of rolling, the player tosses ping pong balls into the rings to accumulate points.
10. Ping Pong Toss
Place large disposable cups, each with a different hidden value written on the bottom, in random order. The player tries to toss ping pong balls into the cups. When he is finished with the balls, the points are added up. Mix up the order of the cups (and their point values) between players.
(Here’s An Extra Carnival Game)! Knock ‘Em Down
Using more of the large disposable cups, stack them face-down in the shape of a triangle (in a 1-2-3-4 pattern). Using tennis balls or something of similar weight, the player tries to knock all the cups over.
Added Fun For Your Purim Carnival
Set up a photo booth! Use an easily made backdrop or one that is ready-made like this photo frame complete with a variety of party photo props.
A little decorating goes a long way. Some colorful balloons and crepe paper streamers really can set the tone. It’s super easy with this balloon pump set, complete with an electric air balloon blower pump. And, I love these carnival style tickets that can be used for raffles and for the carnival games winnings. Then, everyone can trade in their tickets for prizes. Perhaps most important, don’t forget some delicious Hamantaschen on your prize table. They are easy and fun to make. Click here for my GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant Hamantaschen recipe!
Have Fun and Make Memories
Purim will come and go, and hopefully these 10 Purim Carnival Ideas will help you add some happiness to your holiday. We can take a lesson from Queen Esther. Even under dire circumstances, she kept her Jewish traditions. This gave her the strength to get through the challenges, even during some of her loneliest times. As it is written in the Megillah, “For the Jews there was light, gladness, joy and honor.” So may it be for each of us!