How To Win Milk Can Carnival Game

Winning at Milk Can Game?

The Milk Can game is one of the oldest games at the midway today. The game itself is a test of skill.  Considering all the technological advances in carnival games, the Milk Can Game is a true test of time.

Object Of The Game

The object of the Milk Can game is to toss a softball into a 10-gallon metal milk can. Your grandparents would remember these cans. The dairies used to deliver milk in them. You don’t see them anymore unless you go to an antique  shop or a garage sale.  The cans at the midway were not exactly the same, at least the older ones. They had a concave piece of steel welded to the top of the can reducing the opening size of the can. The opening was just big enough to pass a regulation size softball.

Modern day Milk Cans like the one we manufacture have a removable milk can insert for the top. The concept is the same, reducing the size of the opening to increase difficulty. At a modern-day midway these are generally only used when the game operator is giving out jumbo stock. The player stands four to six feet from the can, which is positioned so the lip is lower than your eye level.

Tips To Play

Although the game is difficult to win, there are a few tips I can tell you that will help you win. Keep in mind the opening is only about 116   of an inch larger than the average softball. Some of my old carnie friends would tell me the best way was to put a back spin on the ball. Then aim for the back edge of the can so it will roll backward into the can. Let me tell you something, it takes a lot of practice to learn how to put a back spin on a ball and still throw it accurately. That could get expensive.

However, over the years I’ve watched many people win by tossing the ball directly into the hole.  There’s certainly no harm in asking the game operator to tip the can forward to show you the size opening before you hand him the cash. This way you get a feel for the size of the target.

The second tip would be to put as much arc on the ball as possible. Not always easy. Game operators like to hang the plush prizes from the rafters of the joint or tent. In this case there may be very low clearance to arc the ball. There are usually several cans set up so pick and choose which position to place a throw from to get the highest arc on the ball as possible.


Most players have a misconception that they are throwing a ball into the neck of a standard milk can, but usually the opening is much smaller. The Milk Can game is difficult to win, but normally is not gaffed.

How Do Funhouse Mirrors Work?

Funhouse Mirrors – How do they Work?

funhouse mirror
Funhouse Mirror 4′ – Distortion: CONVEX CONCAVE CONVEX

Funhouse mirrors go by many names from a carnival mirror to a distorting mirror. Most people are used to flat mirrors or rather regular mirrors that are held upright. In such mirrors,
the reflection you see is exactly as it is in real life. However, when mirrors are curved or better yet tilted, they can show us things we would not have expected to see; the reflection distorted.


You may appear thin, tall, fat, short and countless other variations and combinations. This is the reason why they are popular in fairs and carnivals and are at times used as a literary
device in fiction. Moreover, they have also become popular in Halloween because, their ability to distort an image can be easily turned to the advantage of the pranker.

head stretcher funhouse mirror
Head Stretcher Mirror – Hang it vertical for a tall head or horizontal for a wide head

How do Funhouse Mirrors Work?

 Funhouse mirrors employ curved or tilted surfaces in different parts of the mirror. This alters the angle at which the reflected light hits your eyes which is typically slightly above or slightly below the eyeline. Our brains perceive this reflection as the light that is coming directly from the source, thus creating a distorted view of the object or person. Moving back and forth distorts the image further because it changes the angle at which the light is entering the eye as the brain tries to interpret the quick changes in the reflection it is receiving.

 The magic or rather the science behind funhouse mirrors are convex and concave mirrors or a combination of the two.

A convex mirror is bulged or curved outwards making you look thinnerand taller.

Moreover, a concave mirror is bulged or curved outwards making you look shorter and fatter. A more complex funhouse mirror is created by combining concave and convex surfaces in one mirror to create more composite reflections with unique looks.

Without delving too much into the technical details, there are three factors to consider when it comes
to the physics of light and reflection. First is the normal line that is perpendicular the point where a ray of light strikes the mirror. Secondly, the angles between the ray striking the
mirror and the ray being reflected away from the mirror are always equal with the normal being the reference point. Altering the surface of the mirror changes the normal line to its surface consequently altering the reflection angle. Thus, it can be said that a funhouse mirror has different normal lines, and consequently, different reflections points, that create a distorted image when all these reflections hit the eye.

Backyard Carnivals

Backyard Carnival Birthday Party
Backyard Carnivals

For The Kids;  Why Everyone Is Having Them.

You must have been to two or three themed birthday parties for your nieces and nephews. Everyone has been to a backyard birthday party. Having these out and out funfests is top of the list of ways to have fun with the family and the parties can be entertaining especially for the kids. One theme that parents just have to do for their kids is the good old carnival party. The kids expect it these days. They have to get their carnival-themed party. So what makes them such a favorite? It’s not hard to think up a few reasons why your kids would want a full blown carnival in their backyard;

  • It’s a homely environment just perfect for the kids to play

Kids’ parties are fun when the kids can play around and have some fun. Backyard Carnivals parties come with all the fun kids would like for such parties. They get to play all sorts of carnival games and enjoy the thrill as a group. For the parents, it makes it easier to watch over the kids as opposed to what would happen if you had to keep up with them in a mall or a theme park.

  • It makes for a more memorable birthday

Think about your own experiences growing up; which ones stuck with you the most? Themed parties of this kind are much more memorable to the kids because they stand out. The costumes, games and the completely upbeat atmosphere elevate the status of the party, which effectively cements it as a day to remember for the kids.

Children want something unique for their birthday, something that beats so-and-so’s birthday. Having the same indoor party year in year out doesn’t cut it with them, and they are sure to enjoy it to the fullest when they do get their carnival party.

  • The lawn will not flaunt itself

You put in a lot of work to keep your lawn looking glorious and the calm afternoons you spend there are amazing but it wouldn’t hurt to have other people over to enjoy it with you. An outdoor party for the kids is a perfect excuse to flaunt the lawn a little. You are not alone if you found yourself stuck with a pirate-themed party or a carnival party because you suggested having their next birthday outdoors. Your needs fly out the window at the mention of an outdoor party and the small affair you had in mind blows up to a festival of sorts. However, it’s all worth it if you get to whip out that delicious recipe for grilled pork or that party trick you’re known for.

  • Backyard Carnival SignsIt’s the time to be creative

 It might take a lot of work to get done but truth be told, parents love to have these kinds of parties for their kids. There is a lot to try out and if you haven’t hosted one you are probably itching to. All the cool crafts and fun projects you have seen on the internet and magazines can be applied to give your kids the best birthday ever.

There is a feeling of accomplishment that comes with pulling a successful themed party for the kids. The ecstasy of it will spur the busiest parent to score maximum points for the best themed birthday. It’s always a time to look like a superhero for the kids.

  • You can still have fun on a low budget

The best thing about organizing the party yourself is you can change anything on the budget that seems too costly. If you are a master planner, you can end up spending as little as $5 per person. A lot of the decorations and props can be handmade and once you have that figured out you’ve cut the budget quite substantially. All you have to do is get creative and look up some ways on how to save money online and you have an awesome party at manageable budget. Let’s not for get the prizes and giveaways.

  • Backyard Carnivals parties don’t need a lot of clean up

Having a bunch of kids running around in the house is an absolute no for many parents. Aside from them turning the place upside down, they are also likely to get hurt knocking on the fixtures and such.

Hosting them outside is a welcome idea that solves many problems,  one of them being clean up. With an outdoor party, the kids can do all they want and you don’t have to worry about your new rags or bright curtains. All you will have to do is pick up the party cups and wrappings lying around and you are done.

  • It’s a fun way to play with the kids

The typical parent has so many commitments today that they hardly have the time to enjoy some fun and games with the kids. This is the perfect excuse to spend time with the kids doing their kinds of activities. You don’t need to hire entertainers to liven up the party; get in the clown suit and party with the kids. It’s also a good time for the kids’ favorite uncle to perform some low-tier magic tricks just to have fun with them.

Time with family is one of the main reasons such parties will never go out of style. Nothing is more rewarding than watching the kids play and seeing their delight in marking such days with their parents.

  • Expect more themed parties

Children will always go for the most exciting option for a party no matter what special occasion it is. Carnivals are a big hit with them and you can be sure you haven’t gone to your last carnival themed birthday party. It is all about recreating their dreams and they have a stockpile of those when it comes to parties.

As for the parents, the whole idea can either be a fun experience to enjoy with the kids or a nightmare to plan or both. Either way, the party has to go on and you had better not forget the cotton candy.

School Carnival Planning Guide

Carnival Booth

School Carnival Planning Guide

Planning a carnival may be an overwhelming job, therefore, we are ready to help.  Over these decades of supplying carnivals, we have learned how to set up a carnival.

Following Carnival Planning Guide can help in the planning process:

Create a Team and Assign Work

Planning of a carnival requires teamwork. Gather a team of qualified individuals to allocate tasks and manage them. Roles can be assigned to team members on an individual level or in committees. We recommend committees since they facilitate the distribution of work and allow for brainstorming of ideas, issues that may come up, etc. Form a team and ensure they meet immediately for some information is necessary instantly for budget planning. Sub-committees and team members have to meet regularly to ensure smooth communication and smooth running of the process.


The chairperson ensures the timeline is observed. Ensure all members are aware of the schedule, undertake their work, and facilitates correspondence between members and committees.


Creates and oversees the budget, sets the prices based on the feedback provided by committees to guarantee profitability, gathers all receipts for both expenses and sales during the event, and comes up with a comprehensive report on expenditures and earnings. If you have limited personnel, the chairperson can also assume the treasurer role.

Game Committee

Selects the games to be played, facilitates the set-up of any games or hiring of games from rental businesses, prepares guidelines for game operators, and solves all game issues during the carnival day. Although one individual will be in charge, a game committee is recommended to help select the various games to be played and their guidelines. Short on carnival game ideas? To get ideas and ready-made games for purchase, click here.

Redemption Center Coordinator and Committee

This committee selects the number of prizes, purchases the prizes, prepares the redemption center and manages the center. This committee should work in collaboration with the Game Master to decide the various prize levels and amount of prizes necessary for each game. In addition to purchasing new prizes, the team must also lobby donations from local businesses, parents, school staff, and PTA members for raffle prizes, etc. To get ideas for raffle prizes and redemption prizes, click here.

Concessions Coordinator and Committee

This committee selects the food to be offered or sold and buys the food from vendors. It will also resolve any food issues on the D-day and plan on how to donate any unused food.</p.

Carnival Tickets

Ticket Sales Coordinator

He or she orders the carnival tickets and sell the tickets and bracelets at the carnival gate and at games entry points. Short of ideas on the necessary supplies and tickets? To get a list of the various tickets and wristbands selections, uses, and additional ideas, click here. This role can also be assigned to the treasurer if there is a staff shortage.

Volunteer Coordinator

Works together with all other units to decide on how many volunteers are required at each station, enlist volunteers, and sign them in on the D-day. If necessary, this role can be assumed by the chairperson.

Marketing/Decor Committee

This committee makes decisions pertaining to the marketing or advertising of the event. It organizes for printing of flyers for posting, mailing, or for taking home by students. The committee is also in charge of decorating the venue in preparation for the event and erecting all applicable signage to guide carnival guests to the different activities such as games, washrooms, etc.

Entertainment Committee

Although overlooked, we recommend this committee since it is critical to get as many community members as possible involved and sticking around the carnival for extended periods which will translate to more purchases. This committee enlists entertainment and talent for the event. If you have a shortage of staff, the marketing committee can take up this role.

Facilities Coordinator

The coordinator decides on the layout of the event, secures insurance for the carnival, and parking arrangement. Secure the appropriate insurance coverage that covers the entire event and meet all requirements for full coverage in case of any liabilities or accidents. This role can be merged with the volunteer coordinator if there is a shortage of staff.

Set Goals and Create a Budget

Create a budget that meets the fundraising goals. This is considerably easier to determine if the organization has held carnivals previously. Just go through previous data to estimate the total number of people to anticipate as well as the expected profits.

Always remember that the critical goal is to raise money. As such, view all parts of the carnival as profit centers. For instance, sell bracelets that cover the costs of the prizes and games. Then have tickets that can be traded at food stands and in activities such as face painting and tattoo booths. Finally, sell raffle tickets for playing the grand prizes.

Are you hosting a carnival for the first time? Below are some steps to assist you plan and budget.


Estimate the total number of people expected to attend the event. Never hosted a carnival before? You can rely on data from similar events like fundraising events and plays to approximate the attendance. You can gauge yourself with other schools and churches when estimating attendance. The estimated attendance will be useful in deciding on the number of games to set up so that all guests will have adequate games and entertainment to ensure they are fully engaged.

Below is a chart to help approximate the number of attendees during the event:

Number of Students at School 2000
Turn out at past events approximately 10% 200
General public invitations: Total mailed 1000 anticipate a 1% turnout 100
Total Turn out expected 300
Add another 10% to guarantee that supplies don’t run out 330

After obtaining the estimated number of attendees, furnish all committees with this information for use in the planning process.

Bottle Ring TossGame Committee

Using the estimated number of attendees, it is easier to decide on the number of games that will be necessary to keep all guests entertained. Below is a chart to assist in calculating this.

Expect 330 guests
Number of game options Length of lines
10 Games 33 players
15 Games 22 players
20 Games 16 players
25 Games 13 players
30 Games 11 players

Evidently, not all attendees will be waiting in lines or uniformly distributed between the games, nonetheless, this will provide a reliable idea of the number of games the Game Committee ought to prepare. If lines are too long, attendees may be bored easily. At a given moment, no more than 5% of the attendees ought to be waiting in a line. As such, in the above scenario, it is most appropriate to prepare 20-25 games. Given that some games will have varying popularity, set up two or more booths for the most popular games.

Short on carnival game ideas? To get ideas and ready-made games for purchase, click here.

Duck Pond FloatersGame Master and Committee

Task the Games Committee with preparing games and determining supply costs or rental costs per game. Each member can bring 5-10 game ideas that can be discussed and nominated in the meeting. Once the games are picked, each committee member can be assigned to research on one game to establish the costs, supplies, and other details to help in budgeting during the next meeting. Click here to access a form for helping to track each games supplies,  costs, etc.

Game Master and Committee

After the games have been established, the Games Committee has to determine how much time is necessary to play each game so as to assess the number of players who can play a game during the designated time period. Similarly, the committee ought to decide on the number of winners per game to help the Redemption Committee effectively plan the prizes.

The chart below will assist you to estimate the number of players per game.

When the carnival is 3 hours long (180 minutes long)
Games take this long Number of games playable
30 seconds 360 players
1 minute 180 players
2 minutes 90 players
3 minutes 60 players

After the committee has collected all the data for every game (costs and vendors for each game, rules for the games, # of players, and # of winners) prepare a data sheet per game and share with all the committees. It is essential for the redemption committee and the treasurer to be furnished with this information immediately so that they can start planning ticket prices and redemption prizes.


Redemption Committee

After the game sheets are ready, the redemption committee has to commence work. It should research on the various prizes they plan to parade and the cost of every prize. They can commence this process as the games are in the planning process but have to use the game info sheets to view the estimated number of players per game to determine the quantities of prizes required. Using the game sheets, the committee can finalize the specific prize levels, quantities, and prices required.

Below is a table to assist in determining the total cost of prizes required per game.

If a total of 180 players participate in this game
Number of winners The prizes for this level cost
Level 1 Prize – 84 winners $0.05 each
Level 2 Prize – 60 winners $0.10 each
Level 3 Prize – 36 Winners $0.15 each
This game’s prizes will cost (84x.05)+(60x.10)+(36x.15)=$15.60

Replicate this procedure for each of the various games so as to arrive at a total cost of all prizes. Be certain to evaluate the number of pieces and the minimum order quantity amounts set by every vendor. To assist you planning, standard redemption prizes are usually sold in dozens (12 pieces) or in gross packs (144 pieces). You can purchase a few more prizes. This is a great idea since the extra prizes will ensure that you don’t run out of prizes. All you need to do is to ensure that the total costs per game include all the costs of all purchased prizes including the extras. Carnival attendants may at times decide to purchase additional tickets, as opposed to sticking with winning tickets to enable them to purchase the prizes they want. The extra prizes can be reserved for the subsequent carnival.

Need ideas on how the redemption committee can begin? For ready-made carnival prize packages, click here.

Will raffles be available at the carnival? The redemption committee ought to prepare the raffle prizes too. The committee can decide to buy prizes for the raffles or lobby donations from local businesses (community), parents, school, staff, and PTA members.

Do you want attractive raffle prizes for kids? To access our collection Redemption Prizes, click here.

PopcornFood Concessions Committee

Having played numerous games, the attendees will definitely get hungry. Ensure they are continuously playing and spending more money by selling food at the carnival. The committee has to discuss the kind of foods they hope to sell at the event and reach out to local suppliers to estimate food costs and rental costs.

Limited on money and time? The food concessions committee can avoid putting up concession stands. Alternatively, it can reach out to local restaurants in a bid for them to set up booths at the venue and sell food. You can still boost your earnings despite outsourcing concessions. Negotiate with the vendors and lobby them to donate some percentage of their earnings to the carnival. Guarantee them that they will be listed on carnival flyers as sponsors and actively involve them in the marketing of the event as a way of advertising their businesses.

After the committee has calculated all the costs, this information should be forwarded to the treasurer.

Entertainment Committee

Majority of the human beings have short attention spans. You can retain the attendees at the event by ensuring they are continuously occupied with alternative entertainment arrangements. This is also instrumental in getting the local community involved in the event. The committee can reach out to local clubs such as gymnastics, martial arts, and dance clubs and solicit them to offer free shows. Subsequently, the local businesses can embrace this opportunity to lobby new memberships. For schools that have an active music program, the music students may do a recital.

You can also charge for specific types of entertainment that would otherwise be free such as face painting and bouncy castles are viable for fundraising. Ensure you compute the costs of all supplies and rentals related to the activities and give the treasurer a filled activity sheet.

Ticket Sales Coordinator

Erect a ticket booth at the carnival entrance to facilitate the smooth running of the event. It is recommendable to use tickets as opposed to cash since you get to lower the risks of theft or loss. Tickets also help to effectively centralize all the cash exchanges and ensure smooth traffic flow.

Wristbands can also be sold at the entrance can also help eliminate cash and guarantee that every person who plays a game pays at the entrance. A game operator can observe whether individuals have bracelets before participating in a game.

Sell tickets at the entrances to cater for additional expenses such as food concessions or activity booths.

You can also sell raffle tickets at the entrances for all donation or high ticket redemption prizes.

For more information on the various types of tickets and wristbands and their uses, click here.

Marketing/Decor Committee

For any carnival to be successful in its fundraising efforts it has to be popularized or else it will fail despite rigorous planning. Establish a marketing committee that is tasked with promoting the carnival.

Foremost, the committee will have to create flyers to be posted within and outside the school advertising the event. The flyers should clearly indicate the carnival venue, date, time, names of event sponsors, and a few key activities and games so as to entice people. Note that advertising messages should be brief and accompanied by fun pictures of people since pictures tend to be more appealing than words.

The committee has to cater for the design and printing costs of flyers in the budget. If flyers and invitations are to be mailed to members of the public, the budget should also provide for these costs.

The committee has to also carry out decorations of the carnival venue. The decorations should create an enjoyable and festive atmosphere while still being fully functional. Some of the guests may not be familiar with the layout of the venue, therefore, ensure you clearly identify key things such as entrances and exits, tickets sales, washrooms, activities, games, and food concessions.

After the committee has determined all costs of posters, decorations, and signage, the information should be forwarded to the treasurer.

Facilities Coordinator

At this point, every committee has met and decided on the kind of activities to be featured in the carnival. The facilities coordinator can now meet with all parties to discuss the venue specifications and design a layout of the venue. The layout should provide sufficient space for operators, guests taking part in games and activities, and spectators. Reserve sufficient room to help ensure the events flows smoothly without congestion. Work closely with the marketing committee to certify that everything is clearly signed and traffic is effortlessly directed using signs.

What is the parking situation at the venue? If parking is likely to be a problem, the facilities coordinator can contemplate parking attendants. If the parking space at the venue is limited, consult with other neighboring organizations to secure shared parking spaces on the D-day or consult on the street parking regulations.

Does the school or organization have an insurance cover in the event of accidents and other liabilities? Confirm that the insurance covers the event against such liabilities. All the rental companies should also have active insurance covers. Collect and file copies of all insurance proofs in the event that they are needed for any claims. Scrutinize all the requirements and responsibilities necessary for the fulfillment of any contractual responsibilities with the insurer and certify that all activities, games, and concessions comply in full.

giggle mirrorsTreasurer

Once everything has been planned, gather all the budget sheets prepared by each committee and fix prices for tickets and bracelets. Take into consideration the need to make a profit and the estimated number of attendees and players to ensure you arrive at a good estimate of the expected sales. Securing event sponsors can help cover a significant percentage of the costs.

Below is a table with a summary of a model carnival that shows how to compute the bracelets cost. In this model, all the carnival costs are catered for through funds generated from the sale of bracelets.

The Price to Charge for Wristbands
Cost of Carnival Games & Prizes $1,506.82
Cost of wristbands  
Requirement 330 (# of expected guests)  
Sold in packs of 100 @ 8.99 each  
Total order 4 x 8.99 (400 wristbands) $35.96
Cost of activities $207.11
1000 Tickets per roll  
# of tickets needed for games 11047 (12 rolls)  
(Targeted price for each piece)  
# of Tickets Required for front desk (4)  
16 rolls of tickets @ 3.95 a roll  
Total order 3.95 x 16 $63.20
Extra Redemption Prizes $230.06
Activities Costs $207.11
Marketing Costs $100.00
Concession Costs $500.00
Total cost $2,850.26
Total profit goal $2,000.00
Sell price for the wristband (2000+2850.26 / 330 = 14.697758)
Sell Wristbands for $15.00 a piece

Given that each carnival cost is catered for in the sale of the wristbands, ticket sales will be an additional profit center.

The table below indicates the amount of profit that can be expected.

How much to charge for the Tickets
Ticket value at cost for redemption prizes $ 0.05
Double this to value to compute the sale price for each ticket $ 0.10
Sell tickets in batches of 10 10 tickets x 0.10 = $1.00
Estimated ticket sales per guest 5 (not every guest will purchase a ticket)
Estimated profit (5 tickets x 330 guests) x 1.00 = $1650.00

Place Orders and Arrange for Delivery

This gives the best results if the job is done by one person, either the chairperson or the treasurer. This is effective because it centralizes the deliveries and all issues that might come up.

-order all necessary things necessary for the carnival in advance. Pre-ordering allows for sufficient time to opt for alternatives when delivery challenges arise. Generate an inventory checklist and cautiously examine whether every single shipment meets all its specifications.

When operating with rental companies for games, activities, and concessions, ensure you arrange for delivery dates and times and re-check the delivery a week prior to the event, on the day before, and on the delivery date.

If community entertainment will take place at the event, ensure you provide for specific meeting points and times.

Staff the Carnival

Enlist sufficient volunteers for the carnival. Below are some recommendations:

  1. Set up crew – To prepare and decorate all booths on the D-day
  2. Game operators – Games will require a varying number of operators. Work with the game committee to ensure every game and activity is assigned adequate personnel.
  3. Entry – Selling of tickets and wristbands at the entrance should be done by 2-4 people.
  4. Redemption Center – Each redemption center should be assigned, 2-3 people.
  5. Runner – There should be 2-3 people within the venue of the carnival who can answer to queries from guests. Most of the guests are likely to be unacquainted with the venue and therefore it is good to have persons who can be consulted for directions. Runners can even help game operators when they need to top up their supplies or tickets.
  6. Clean-up crew – Have a clean-up crew to remove stuff after the event concludes.

The carnival staff should stand out from the crowd. It is recommended that you purchase skimmer hats or staff badges and have all staff wear them.

The volunteer coordinator should check in all volunteers as they arrive at the entrance on the day of the event.

Carnival Day Set Up

Ensure all staff and volunteers arrive 2-3 hour earlier on the D-day and begin preparing. For all games, activities, and equipment’s that are to be outsourced, ensure you confirm the scheduled appointments with persons who will be delivering them and inquire by phone the day before to re-check the time.

The volunteer coordinator should arrive early enough to check in all the carnival volunteers and distribute identification materials such as hats or badges..

Ensure that all guests access the venue using a single entrance. You should assign volunteers, entertainers, and vendors a different entrance. This will help prevent any chances of congestion at the busy guest entrance.

Carnival Conclusion Review

Optimistically, the carnival was successful. Nonetheless, the task is not yet over. Conduct a final group meeting and let committees evaluate what worked for them and areas that require improvements.

It is recommendable that the meeting is held immediately after the event when everything is still fresh in member’s brains. Keep records and future carnivals will be better off.