Day at Camp
Bud Jacobi, The Leader, May 1983
The day before the event,
set various tent-groups to work on the concessions. This means staking
out areas with posts and string or rope, setting up the activities, and
arranging duty rosters so that the boys in each group take turns operating
A Carnival Day special event theme adds novelty and excitement to the regular routine at Cub or Scout camp. You might invite parents or another troop or pack to join the festivities.
With just a little preparation and expense, Scouters can spice up the program and enrich it with customary carnival activities like special events and challenges; a parade; "games-of-skill" concessions; rides; a "House of Horrors" and a fortune teller. Adapt the suggested activities to your particular circumstances and needs.
Take the required materials
to camp ahead of time and tell the boys to bring suitable costumes. Preparing
for the big day is part of the fun.
Some boys make posters,
streamers and tickets. Based on good turns, which include cleaning up
the campsite, give each boy a certain number of tickets to use at the
concessions. Keep tickets circulating by using them as prizes on that
Possible special events
include a grand opening during which a VIP cuts the ribbon; a beauty contest
to choose "Miss Carnival" and a judged costume parade. Use inexpensive
party favors from novelty stores as prizes.
Some boys may like to form
a wandering clown band, complete with crazy hats, crazy faces and "pots
and pans" instruments.
A water-filled balloon
fight between two teams of campers lined up in rows opposite each other
is a lot of fun, and a good cooler.
Challenges can take the
form of "camper records". Time boys as they knock a nail into a board
with a hammer or mallet; saw through a board or chop through a log; run
up and down a nearby hill or climb a pole or tree. If water is handy,
time boys in speed swimming or canoe racing.
Build an obstacle course
from fences, tree trunks, tables, tires, ropes and a large canvas, and
have teams race through it.
Other ideas are: Who can
drink the most water in a given time? Who can stay on stilts the longest?
Who can blow up the largest balloon without bursting it? Who can turn
the largest number of somersaults or spin hula hoops the longest?
You might hold a tug o'
war where the loser ends up in the creek. Mounted (piggy back) wrestling;
hand, arm and leg wrestling; and rooster fights are also good challenge
Simulate carnival rides.
Boys swing across a creek or another safe area on ropes attached to trees;
balance on a rolling barrel or on a barrel slung on ropes between two
trees (bucking bronco); swing from a rope around a pole (a merry-go-round);
bounce on a teeter-totter. Scouts might put pioneering skills to work
to rig up a runway or a boson's chair.
There are a number of popular
games of skill possible for the concessions. You can give tickets, smarties,
suckers or wrapped caramels for prizes.
Set up a large piece of cardboard
on which is painted head and body. Leave a hole for the face. A boy stands
behind the cardboard and pokes his head through the hole as a target. You
can use a decorated balloon instead, but it isn't as much fun. Players toss
wet sponges at the target; three tosses per ticket.
Boys toss darts to burst balloons
mounted on a board. Observe safety rules.
Players try to toss coins into
cereal bowls floating in a tub (or dishpan) of water.
Place large juice cans or milk
cartons in a cluster. Campers have three shots per ticket to upset them
with a tennis or rubber ball tossed from a distance.
Players squirt water from a
water pistol, or through a drinking straw, in an attempt to put out the
flame of a safely mounted candle.
Fill a large box or barrel
with paper fish onto which are attached large safety pins. Campers try to
hook fish with a fishing pole. Not all fish are worth a prize. Print the
value of prize winners on them.
Campers write their estimates
of the number of beans in a jar on a slip of paper and include their names.
Award prizes to winners at the end of the day.
A female leader or a member
of the kitchen staff will make an ideal "Fatima -- the fabulous fortune
teller". Station her in a booth or behind some trees surrounded by blankets.
Illuminate the crystal ball on the table in front of her with a candle.
Fatima "reads" boys' palms
and gazes into the crystal ball to predict weird and wonderful things.
Avoid dire predictions of frightening things because some of the campers
may be very impressionable. Stick to standbys like, "I see you holding
a report card filled with "A's"! It's your next report card!; You will
become rich and famous; You will marry a beautiful girl; You will have
seven children (that's not frightening?); You will travel around the world;
You will travel into outer space on a rocket and meet E.T."
Set older boys to work on a
Haunted House or Ghostwalk, which is always the most popular event. It can
be any small building; a shed, shack, barn or garage. If there isn't a building
available, use part of the dining hall or a large tent.
Hang blankets over the
windows to darken the room and hang a sheet or blanket just inside the
doorway to keep things secret from the boys lined up outside. You can
use flashlights or lanterns to light up parts of the room, but avoid candles
because they are a fire hazard.
Have campers strip to swim
trunks (no shirts or shoes), blindfold them, and let them enter one at
Doubtless, the boys who
prepare the "house" will have lots of gruesome ideas, but here are a few
to set imaginations rolling.
Hang a web made from string
and cotton batten from the ceiling. As "victims" pass through it, the
older boys in charge add scary sound effects by banging on pots and pans,
drums or gongs; giving loud yells, whistles, shrieks and moans; playing
a record of eerie music; blowing along the top of a pop bottle; or shaking
and rattling a large sheet of tin. To add further to the terror, flash
lights on and off.
Hang water-filled balloons
from the ceiling, just high enough that they will touch the victims' faces
as they pass by.
Force each victim to stand
on a large board, door or plank while two strong boys or leaders lift
it. The blindfolded victim puts his arms on the shoulders of the lifters.
Although the lifters only raise the board about a foot from the ground,
they wiggle it and lower themselves as they do, so that they give the
victim the sensation of being lifted high. Then they order him to jump
off. To avoid possible bruises, you can place a gym mat or mattress under
Keep cubes of ice in a
freezer and use as needed. "Brand" blindfolded victims with "hot coals"
by rubbing ice across their backs and chest. Have victims crawl through
overturned chairs or barrels, over mattresses, bedsprings or sponge-rubber
mats, and finally step into a pan of ice water.
You may "force" blindfolded
victims to touch a "vampire" constructed from articles like a kitchen
mop (hair), onions (eyes), chalk pieces (teeth), and feathers (body).
Have them walk through hanging plastic bats or spiders and plunge hands
into a "pail of worms" (cooked spaghetti and porridge in a bucket).
Later, remove the victim's
blindfold. Shine a flashlight into the mouth of a leader dressed in a
white sheet who utters moans and ghostly laughs and serves a "magic brew"
of fruit drink mixed with baking soda.
Just before he exits, the
victim watches a "guillotine blade" chop a paper mashie head off a hanging
skeleton. Then, douse the victim with water and swear him to secrecy so
that he won't reveal anything to those who still wait. If possible, have
him leave by a back door.
End a busy day with a "monk's
meal" during which anyone who talks or laughs loses one utensil. Those
who break the silence too often will find themselves on their knees, eating
with no hands from a plate on the ground. Mushy meals like sloppy joes,
spaghetti and meatballs, or pork and beans are excellent for this purpose.
Watermelon makes a good dessert and gives everyone ammunition for the
grand finale--the watermelon yell!
You can expect silence
to descend over the tents very shortly after clean-up and lights out!