Whether designing for a Halloween party or a haunted house display, a scary circus presents an unusual option for holiday mayhem. Projects involved in a scary circus include costuming and prop creation. Many such creations are well suited for do-it-yourself treatments, but include purchasing some props. Adding a scary circus to a larger Halloween display, or centering a party around the concept, can add a unique element to the holiday.
A scary circus without at least one scary clown would seem unfinished. Evil clowns work as a costume for a person or as a prop treatment for a dummy. An evil clown can be created by twisting a standard clown treatment. Add elements like blood and tattered clothing along with prop weapons. Build dummies by stuffing clothing with newspapers, foam rubber or other materials. Standing dummies need an inner framework built from heavy wire or wood.
While clowns come highly recommended for a scary circus, a ringmaster is nearly mandatory. The ringmaster should be a live person to direct the activity of the scary circus. A top hat and tuxedo jacket should be part of the costume. Playing those pieces straight could work, but blood splatters would be a nice touch. Create a bit of an evil look with some black makeup around the eyes. Prop weapons and tattered clothing effects help to twist the ringmaster costume evil.
Side Show Animals
Circuses frequently had side-show exhibits. Those exhibits sometimes included displays of strange animals, both living and dead. Creating a similar exhibit works well as a DIY project. Real animals should only be used if it's safe for both the animal and guests. In those cases, adding a costume to a pet dog or cat can add to the display. Prop animals can be constructed using purchased stuffed or other replica animals as a starting point. Create hybrid animals by using parts from two different props. Create monster animals by adding zombie makeup, or large fangs. Imagination and supplies are the only limitations.
Magic tricks can be adapted by adding blood and gore. For instance, a table for sawing people in half should have prop body parts and blood on and around it. Creating prop mummies and other preserved bodies for a semi-human side show can be accomplished by building dummies by stuffing clothes and building on those designs to bring monsters to light. Don't forget lighting. Standard lamps and flood lights with colored bulbs helps to create a spooky atmosphere.
Fog adds a creepy atmosphere to any Halloween display. While chemical fog machines can be purchased from Halloween stores, a dry ice fog machine is a great DIY project. Start the dry ice fog machine with an insulated ice chest. Make a hole in the chest just large enough to run a small tube into it. Cut another larger hole in the side for the fog to exit. Place dry ice in the chest and seal the chest with duct tape. Always handle dry ice with gloves. Drip warm water through the tube onto the dry ice to create fog.