It’s that time of year. The team at Ms. Fabulous celebrated the dark spirits of Halloween with a Circus Macabre Carnival theme. Much of the décor was DIY (see tips below). We served up carnival-inspired treats like cotton candy made to order and spiked sno-cones courtesy of Bailey’s Chocolate Cherry, entertained by the talents of Rachel Klein Productions.
Big Top Tent Decoration:
Limited budget, but you want a big-top venue? I purchased about $18 in crepe paper streamers (about $6 for 500 feet for each color). Find a central point in your room, like a chandelier and tape alternating streamer colors with painters tape. I found it was easiest to roll out the streamers to the edge of the room and have someone roll them back to you for the next strip. Let the streamers bough slightly and tape the other end to the edge of the room.
For the hanging parasols, I just bought a dozen paper parasols from Chinatown (about $4 each). Using thin fishing wire, I looped under the handle and hung them from clear plastic hooks stuck to the ceiling.
Balloon Dart Board
I used cork covered foam-core boards found at Michael’s ($15) and acrylic paint to give the weathered vintage circus look. You can download this carnival backdrop image and project them the board if you are not artistically inclined.
The key to creating a worn, vintage look is to keep your edges sharp (painter’s tape) but don’t fill in the entire sections of color. I took a stiff, flat brush and basically jabbed at the cork board, using the natural texture and not enough paint.I pinned half-blown balloons to the board with map pins and let the guests shoot away.
Fun House Mirror
I found a wooden frame and discarded foam core board in the garbage. I cut up an old pool noodle to serve as the bend in the mirror to fit into the frame.
I used spray adhesive to stick 2 yards of Mylar (about $12/roll) to the foam core and laid it over the noodle bump in the middle. I sprayed more adhesive after the bump. Afterwards, I used a hot glue gun to stick the wooden frame to the foam core and staple gun the in corners for extra security.
For the mirror frame, it was just the wider foam corer edge under the wooden frame. I used the same paint technique of missing paint and clean edges in a diamond pattern for the border.
For treats, I had to have cotton candy. I was pleasantly surprised at the effectiveness of the $40 Nostalgia Electrics Cotton Candy Maker. It made the candy floss beautifully and was easy to use. I also promised my friends lots of adult spiked snow-cones. The Snow Cone Maker made a great shaved ice. Here is the recipe below:
3/4 cup of shaved ice
2 oz. Bailey's Chocolate Cherry
Drizzle of U-Bet Cherry Syrup
Drizzle of U-Bet Chocolate Syrup
1 Maraschino cherry
Photos by Mariana Leung, Shang Jung, Janet Kim,