Circuses offer spooky inspiration for Halloween
Carnival decor is a lot more than just scary clowns Thursday, October 12, 2017
Films, TV shows and stories, including the current hits It and American Horror Story, have long imagined a dark side to circuses and side shows. No surprise then that they’re a theme for Halloween decorations.
Vintage imagery of clowns, beasts, scary rides and carnival denizens provide inspiration for seasonal home decor and parties.
Grandin Road, for instance, has a circus tent-style tiered serving dish for treats. A painted resin elephant balances expertly on a stand, a candleholder perched on his back. Vintagestyle signs offer palm reading and directions to scary attractions. And there’s a black and white print of a turn-of-the-century fire breather to hang on the wall.
Vintage circus and funhouse posters are colourful and eyecatching, and you’ll find a variety of them on Etsy.com.
Reproductions of early circus posters with roaring tigers and grinning clowns can be found at ringlingonlinestore.com. The designs come from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus archives. EtsyStudio has vintage circus images you can download and affix to party favours or invitations.
At Party City, there’s a carnival sign for the yard inviting visitors to Step Right Up. A 12-piece, creepy carnival kit comes with double-sided cardboard images of evil clowns, scary games and sideshow posters. Create a spooky circus tent by wrapping a party room with a 40-foot-long roll of fake-bloodspattered, red-striped plastic.
Or set up a sideshow photo booth. Vintage-style posters with face cutouts would be fun props for a photo booth; guests can be Ringmaster, Strongman or Trapeze Artist.
Spirit Halloween has a slightly alarming number of scary clowns from which to choose, including a life-size, animatronic one modeled after the fearsome Pennywise of Stephen King’s It.
Themed bowls, napkins, masks, party games and other props can be ordered from darksidedisplays.com.
If you’re ready to take charge of your circusthemed party, consider outfitting yourself as a ringmaster. An Arizona studio, Cupcake’s Cottage, offers an array of colourful, satin-trimmed jackets. Kirsteen Wythe, a costume designer in Norwich, England, hand-crafts sumptuously detailed red and blue velvet corsets with gold details.
Grandin Road’s welcomes visitors in a rakish velvet jacket, with a raven on his shoulder. The motion-sensor activated duo share cheeky banter, while the candle “flames” and raven’s eyes light up.
a circus elephant by Grandin Road carries a candle, and their carnival-themed tiered stand displays treats.
Bernard the Butler