As a symbol of all things fun and frivolous, candy-themed decorating makes a great addition to any summer festival recreation, including parades. There are many approaches to take to a giant candy theme, so choose one that best fits your budget, style and abilities to create a festive piece of moving artwork that looks good enough to eat.
One of the best and easiest pieces to include on your float is a candy cane or two. If you have the opportunity to be shopping in advance during the winter season, you can buy over-sized plastic canes in December which are sold as lawn decorations. If not, you can easily make canes year round using pieces of white PVC pipe and either painting them or winding thick, red ribbon around them.
Thinner pieces of PVC pipe make good sticks for giant lollipops. Simply attach them to large discs of cardboard painted either in different bright solid colors, or in a spiral design like a wound lollipop. Lollipops like these usually look their best when you make at least a few of them and place them in clusters.
Large models of wrapped, disk-shaped candies are also easy to make. Get some large craft foam disks and paint them with the desired colors and patterns (red stripes for peppermints, burnt orange for butterscotch disks, or bright solid colors for fruit-flavored candy). Wrap the disks just as candy pieces are wrapped using crinkly sheets of cellophane (available at crafts stores-don't try to use cling wrap). Hold the twisted ends in place with rubber bands or plastic bag ties.
Brand-name candies can be rendered in two-dimensions on cardboard if you have some artistic skill. Depending on the size and publicity of your parade, you may want to avoid any trademark issues by creating labels that are similar in appearance to popular candies, but not actually an accurate representation: use the same color schemes, similar shapes, and candy names starting with the same letter of the alphabet.
With a more old-fashioned looking motif, you may try adding a few gingerbread men to your float. These characters are quite easy to make with a basic cardboard cutout and some paint for the faces and buttons.
Structuring the Float
Once you have a wide array of decorations to choose from, it's time to consider how you want to set up your float. The standard green turf covering that gets used for many parade floats works well with a candy theme, suggesting outdoor settings like the witch's cottage in Hansel and Gretel, or the visuals from "Candyland." However, a white foundational color might suggest snow or icing and be more appropriate, depending on what you're going for. You might also want a deep brown if you're looking to suggest melted chocolate.
Make sure that you've made enough candy pieces to densely cover your float, whatever its size. You want a design like this to look crowded with candy, rather than sparse, so it's better to have more than not enough.
You will also want to come up with a theme-related way to decorate any chairs that might be used by people riding the float. Simply covering the outside of lawn chair with candy pieces will do, or you could paint them with a brown chocolate color or candy stripes. Whatever you do, don't leave the chair or any other elements plain and without visual tie to the theme, as this will detract from the overall appearance of your float.
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