Cir­cus in­spires spooky Hal­loween theme

Car­ni­val decor is a lot more than just creepy clowns Thursday, Oc­to­ber 12, 2017

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Films, TV shows and tales, 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 on a stand, a can­dle­holder perched on his back. Vin­tage-style signs of­fer palm read­ing and di­rec­tions to scary at­trac­tions. And there’s a black and white print of a turn-of-the-cen­tury fire­breather to hang on the wall.

Vin­tage cir­cus and fun­house posters are colour­ful and eye­catch­ing, and you’ll find a va­ri­ety of them on

Re­pro­duc­tions of early cir­cus posters with roar­ing tigers and grin­ning clowns can be found at rin­glin­gonline­ 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 life­size, an­i­ma­tronic one mod­eled after the fear­some Pen­ny­wise of Stephen King’s It.

Themed snack bowls, nap­kins, masks, party games and other props can be or­dered from dark­sidedis­ If you’re ready to take charge of your cir­cus­themed Hal­loween party, con­sider out­fit­ting your­self as a ring­mas­ter.

a cir­cus ele­phant by Grandin Road car­ries a can­dle, and their car­ni­val-themed tiered stand dis­plays treats.

Grand­in­ via ap

Grandin Road’s Bernard the But­ler 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.

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