This year, Hal­loween takes a trip to the cir­cus

Hal­loween decor themes in­clude creepy car­ni­vals

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Kim Cook

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. 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 fire breather to hang on the wall. (www.grand­in­road.com )

Vin­tage cir­cus and fun­house posters are col­or­ful and eye-catch­ing, and you’ll find a va­ri­ety of them on Etsy.com. For ex­am­ple: Chicago artist Terry Hoffman’s stu­dio, Para­chute 425, of­fers a gothic art “Freak Show” poster in a pal­ette of car­ni­val hues. (www.etsy.com/shop/para­chute425 )

Re­pro­duc­tions of early cir­cus posters with roar­ing tigers and grin­ning clowns can be found at www.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 fa­vors or in­vi­ta­tions. (www.et­sys­tu­dio.com )

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-blood-spat­tered, red­striped plas­tic. (www.par­tyc­ity.com )

Or set up a sideshow photo booth un­der Ori­en­tal Trad­ing’s 6-foot-tall Big Top Ter­ror standup dis­play. Vin­tage-style posters with face cutouts would be fun props for a photo booth; guests can be Crab­man, Ring­mas­ter, Strong­man, Trapeze Artist or Bearded Lady. (www.ori­en­tal­trad­ing.com )

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 hor­ror novel (and re­cent movie) “It.” (www.spirithal­loween.com )

Themed snack bowls, nap­kins, masks, party games and other props can be or­dered from www.dark­sidedis­plays.com .

If you’re ready to take charge of your cir­cus-themed Hal­loween party, con­sider out­fit­ting your­self as a ring­mas­ter. An Ari­zona stu­dio, Cup­cake’s Cot­tage, of­fers an ar­ray of col­or­ful, satin-trimmed men’s jack­ets. (www.etsy.com/shop/Cup­cakesCot­tage )

And for women, Kirsteen Wythe, a cos­tume de­signer in Nor­wich, Eng­land, hand­crafts sump­tu­ously de­tailed red and blue vel­vet corsets em­bel­lished with gold de­tail­ing. (www.etsy.com/shop/KirsteenWythe )

WWW.GRAND­IN­ROAD.COM VIA AP

This un­dated photo pro­vided by Grandin Road shows a car­ni­val-themed tiered stand which makes a great place to dis­play spooky Hal­loween treats.

TERRY HOFFMAN VIA AP

This un­dated photo from Chicago-based art stu­dio Para­chute 429, shows an eye-catch­ing poster that would make great Hal­loween dé­cor.

WWW.GRAND­IN­ROAD.COM VIA AP

This un­dated photo pro­vided by Grandin Road shows their “Bernard the But­ler,” who wel­comes visitors to your Hal­loween car­ni­val 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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