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Headless Hessian
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Forum,
Yes, I know we haven't even hit Thanksgiving 2013 and yet I'm already posting for my 2014 theme - Haunted Carnival/Freak Show. I saw so many folks do this theme over 2012 and 2013 and they seemed to have so much fun. After doing my first actual themed party this year, Haunted Hotel, I'm now addicted to establishing a theme each year. I want to put my own spin on the Haunted Carnival by creating an atmosphere that is totally run down and decayed but obviously was a fantastic place to visit back in it's time. While I will have some clowns and clown related decor (as you'll see from my recent purchases below), I don't want the focus to be ALL evil clowns. I want to display vintage freak show posters, kissing booth, organ grinder, ringmaster, fortune teller, medicine man, and hopefully a run down carousel and animal cart. I found a few "off the shelf" items this year on clearance and at yard sales that will become part of the 2014 theme (it was so hard to keep them hidden as I set up for this year, but they didn't fit my hotel theme):

Got this guy at a yard sale for $10 (complete in the box and never used - works perfectly)
honkey the clown.jpg

Got these from Spirit on the after Halloween clearance plus made a deal on the walk thru for $65:
clown arch.jpg

Chimes the monkey.jpg

silent and deadly clown.jpg

If any of you are planning to host a Carnival-esque party or haunt for 2014, join in and post your pics and thoughts!
 

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Far Away Eyes
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3,354 Posts
I can vouch for how much fun this theme will be. Our whole family loved it, and believe it or not, all the teenagers (son and friends) wanted to hang out at our house! This was the first year I carried the theme from outdoors into the inside of our house as well. Everyone dressed as clowns, circus monkey, gorillas, etc. So fun!!!

Good buys at Spirit, frogkid. You are off to a great start.
 

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Headless Hessian
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Discussion Starter #4
I can vouch for how much fun this theme will be. Our whole family loved it, and believe it or not, all the teenagers (son and friends) wanted to hang out at our house! This was the first year I carried the theme from outdoors into the inside of our house as well. Everyone dressed as clowns, circus monkey, gorillas, etc. So fun!!!

Good buys at Spirit, frogkid. You are off to a great start.
Thanks PIB. I spent a lot of time recently going through the (I think) 141 pages of the Cirque De Carnival thread from 2012 and I believe you posted quite a few items there. Did you do a Carnival theme in 2012 and 2013? If so, do you have any advice or observations you can pass along?
 

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Far Away Eyes
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No, I only did the carnival theme for 2013, and got many great ideas from that 2012 thread that I followed closely all that year. They seemed like they were having so much fun, I just had to get in on it the next year! Some members' albums you can check for carnival themes are offmymeds, pumpkinpie, wolfbeard, greaseballs, and there are others I will try to remember.

As for advice, I strung up colorful round light strands, carnival flags, and used one of those round party balls that rotate around throwing out different colored lights, as well as spotlights, all of which really added to the effect. I also used my SR gifts of dark carnival music, which was really cool.

Here's the party ball I was talking about, which I think you can buy at Big Lots or party stores:
y

Most of my props were made with masks and costumes on skeletons and a mannequin. The clown car on the roof was a huge hit, as was the circus monkey.
I followed offmymeds ideas in painting muted red stripes on white sheets for backdrops, and painting my own sideshow banner. Her other great idea I used was the clown dressing room (guest bathroom).

My Secret Reapers gave me so many cool things to use this year as well. Kelloween made me some awesome props: Clarence the Clown jack-in-the-box, a costumes rack and entrance sign that she made and painted herself. Tannasgach contributed to the clown dressing room with vintage clown figurines, and other crazy clown stuff, and to the fortune teller area with a sign, lighted palm reading hand, foturne teller sign and cards, and carnival music. Then, ccj sent me rotten candy treats, and another cool vintage clown figurine, and music. They all helped me complete what I was trying to do in the various scenes.

I will be following this thread this year and will add anything I can think of as you go along.
 

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Celtic Spirit
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2,100 Posts
Alright frogkidd, I'll double your money and give you $20 right now for that clown. ;) Wow what a steal! And you got the Spirit facade! Omg, my first trip to Spirit this year, back in September, I saw that and thought I must have this. I talked to the store clerk and he told me to call back the next day and speak with the manager. Well, both my niece and my daughter talked me out of it - saying it would be too much money for a one year prop and the rain would probably ruin it anyway since it's only cardboard and blah, blah, blah. I never called back and now I'm kicking myself. I don't even want to know what you paid for it; I'll probably start crying. Amazing scores, frogkidd, really amazing! :D
 

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Headless Hessian
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Discussion Starter #7
Alright frogkidd, I'll double your money and give you $20 right now for that clown. ;) Wow what a steal! And you got the Spirit facade! Omg, my first trip to Spirit this year, back in September, I saw that and thought I must have this. I talked to the store clerk and he told me to call back the next day and speak with the manager. Well, both my niece and my daughter talked me out of it - saying it would be too much money for a one year prop and the rain would probably ruin it anyway since it's only cardboard and blah, blah, blah. I never called back and now I'm kicking myself. I don't even want to know what you paid for it; I'll probably start crying. Amazing scores, frogkidd, really amazing! :D
Hey Tanna! Well, despite what I learned in school about always doubling your investment, I think I will have to pass on your offer ;) Yes, I thought he was a great deal as well. The lady had a sale back in July and promoted it as a Halloween yardsale. She had been doing big parties every year for like 8 years and now her children were grown and moved away and she was getting rid of EVERYTHING! She had a lot of stuff but this was one of like 4 life size props (and one was the Universal Films Frankenstein Monster) but she wanted more for it than the full price via Spirit so I left it behind. I was afraid to ask about the honking clown because of the pricing on Frankie, but when she said $10, I about dropped my jaw and quickly whipped out the $10 right then and there.

I understand your family member's concern about the archway and I, too, would have had second thoughts about it if my only event was an outdoor event. Fortunately, my only Halloween event is my annual indoor party (we use the outdoors, but I decorate the inside a lot too) and I plan on using the arch to divide my living and dinning room which will force people to walk through him to get to the food. I went into my store on the Sunday after Halloween to see if it was still there and when we walked up, I could see him through the glass doors. When the manager, and the visiting district manager, saw me eyeing it, they immediately pounced asking me to make an offer. I kept just chatting and asking various questions about it figuring it would be out of my price range for cardboard. They mentioned it sold for $500 retail and I said I know I can't pay that. Finally at 10 minutes to closing I told them "I'm not trying to be insulting, but I have spent a lot of money already here so how about $55. The district manager quickly jumped back with "how about $65 only because it goes to our local Children's ward of our educational hospital" and so I agreed. I figured spending that money now saves me time and supplies for making one and I already have it to set up whenever I'm ready since it will be inside my home.

Keep reading as the year goes on and let me know your opinions of the things I'm hoping to make to make the Carnival come to life :)
 

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Nice start to 2014 Frogkid! I love both "Honkey" the clown and Silent but Deadly. I would have loved to have put in an offer on the carnival displays (or the asylum one) this year but had so little money left over after their 50% clearance sale, figured it wasn't worth trying. When the lady told me that she'd look up the retail, I decided to pass thinking my offer would be no where close to that. Very happy with my 50% off purchases which were carnival themed though (Wacky Mole and Thrashing Clown) and bought the Monkey Chime during the year. I have Uncle Charlie from two or three years ago plus other clowns I've been working to assemble from masks and such. I'm not sure what theme I'll go with this year but will definitely be following your thread.

BTW as I recall that carnival display was very tall. Will it fit in your house?
 

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I'm doing this theme for my next halloween party. It will probably be in 2015 because I'm getting married in 2014, but I'll follow along with this thread. I'm planning some big builds for this one since I have two years to prepare. I picked up monkey chimes and the Wacky Mole Clown from spirit along with several clown masks and costumes, and also just got this shipment in halloween asylum's after-halloween sale:



The little monster from Ghoulish Productions will go in my freak show. I also picked up four mini skeleton torsos this year from the 99 Cents Only store, with the intention to make them into a whole set of fiji mermaids in different poses - they're about the perfect size. Still deciding on what else will go into my freak show. I'm planning a kissing booth (with motion sensor triggered water sprayer), sword swallower, magician sawing a girl in half gone wrong, fortune teller, rotten food vendor and a ventriloquist act (with the dummy from Grandin Road where you can hack its voice).

For the big builds, I'm planning to do a room that is painted for chromadepth 3D. I priced the wildfire paints and nearly fainted, so I'll use the flourescent paint from home depot instead, but this room should still be awesome. This is where the wacky mole clown will go, along with a trash can trauma I'm going to build with one of the clown masks from spirit (repainted for blacklight). I'm also planning if I can to build a carousel. This video is my inspiration - its one of the best home haunts I've seen with a carnival theme:

 

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Vintage Halloween'er
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Headless Hessian
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Discussion Starter #15
Nice start to 2014 Frogkid! I love both "Honkey" the clown and Silent but Deadly. I'm not sure what theme I'll go with this year but will definitely be following your thread.

BTW as I recall that carnival display was very tall. Will it fit in your house?
C'mon GOS!! You need to join the bandwagon and do a Haunted Carnival theme this year, too ;) Regarding the height of the clown arch - I do have to cut about a foot and a half off of the bottom and then I should be golden (according to measuring it several times in the store, that is).

Frog, you and I are thinking the same thing..I have to wait until after the holidays, but I may be joining you on this theme :) check out my pinterest board..Im collecting ideas for old grungy antique looking things..hers a few..http://www.pinterest.com/kel2242/carnivals-circus-sideshows/

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Awesome Kelloween!! I am so in love with that old ticket booth that looks like it's been rotting away for decades - it's perfect for our theme!! Glad you like the decaying carnival setting as well. Can't wait to see your projects for this year.
 

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Headless Hessian
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Discussion Starter #16
MonsterSquad - that video is totally awesome, thank you for sharing. There is definitely a LOT of inspiration to be found there. Can't wait to see how you make the theme come to life.
 

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Hi
I did that theme this year, I'll post some pics when I get to my other phone. That walk thru spirit clown drove me nuts, I made one and saw that right after!
 

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Celtic Spirit
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oooh, a decaying circus sounds really creepy.There's a lot of pictures online of abandoned amusement parks, really eerie photos. I was thinking of putting them in a photo album and labeling it "Closed for the Season" as a side prop.
 

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I will be keeping a close eye on this thread and can't wait to see what great things everyone comes up with. For the last two tears we have had a carnival set up in the back yard. It is more halloween themed with a vintage feel. Lots if black and orange, pumpkins the classic carnival games with a halloween twist. Because we decorate every non bedroom in our house a different theme and do a walk thru in the basement it seems that the carnival is always the last big set up and so the one that often gets pared down when we run out if time. For 2014 the carnival will be my focus and the guys already have some project lists. Here is a mummified fairy from our oddities collection and also my bike riding skellie. Two years ago I had two and they wore cute little clown outfits. Their costumes didn't weather the season (crepe paper and cardboard hats) so I will be making new ones this year. FYI the bikes are home interior wall decorations and I got them at yard sales. I looked all summer and couldn't find more but keep my eyes open. The fairy is a chop job of a small doll, skellie butterfly and leaves. I have two figi mermaids started but they aren't quite right. I will post pictures if I ever get them done.
 

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I had fun with the CarnEvil theme this year....good thread that everyone seems to still b adding to started by ChinClub. I tossed my ticketbooth box out to the trash the next day because I had no room to store it! I put a shout out on facebook, and was able to borrow some awesome clown costumes, and then added them to my PVC guys, with mannequin heads and scary clown masks worked out good and saved me a ton of $$.
 
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