Cirque du Freak - Halloween 2019
Updated: Apr 20, 2020
I always choose to make anything I can over buying it from a store; that is just how I work! So when I host an event it's a perfect opportunity to go all-out on custom creations.
For Halloween my boyfriend and I always throw a party. We jump at any opportunity to throw a party, to be honest, but Halloween is our tradition. Our friends will spend the entire year talking about our party--guessing what theme we will choose or what their costume may be. Needless to say, you have to get an invite!
Our theme this year was 'Cirque du Freak' or 'Freakshow'. The only season of American Horror Story that I really appreciated was Freakshow, season 4, so I gained some inspiration from that, and took it in a French direction. In a way I crossed the Moulin Rouge with a circus, and this is what I got!
For this event, I only used decor that was created by me. The only things I didn't make with my own hands were the streamers and the balloons. I created the invitations myself, and added a tarot card for each guest. The tarot cards were ordered online. This is a deck that I particularly liked, the art is beautiful and it has a classic touch.
I wanted to create a really unique experience for my guests, so I thought it would be interesting to have classic tickets as the invitations. We get so used to digital invites on facebook and email, that we forget how fun it is to get something in the mail. I'll discuss the tarot cards a little more later.
I included a fun little poem to get my guests excited:
"Come one, come all
You won't believe your eyes! The wonderment that lies,
Behind the shimmer and the lights.
Is it all just fun and games? You may even forget your names.
It's going to be a bumpy ride! I tried to warn you. I tried, I tried..."
One of the first decorations that I created for the Freakshow was a life-size knife throwing wheel. I constructed this out of cardboard, paper, and paint. I did the lettering in the same font as the 'Cirque du Freak' sign above, colored with ink.
The second major decor piece I made was a photo booth. I really enjoy Valentine's Day, so this was my chance to have a little Valentine's Day in October. I was very pleased with the final product! I constructed this out of cardboard, styrofoam, paper and paint.
I continued onto the photo booth with the same typography from the past pieces. I wanted to keep a common font throughout the event. This font is even used on the invitations. I find this to be a nice way of linking all the decorations/elements of the event in a way that subtly pleases the eye. Small details add up to make a major difference to your audience. Even if they can't explain why they love it, they do!
When you are catering to an audience that is all above 25 years old, you do not need to leave behind the fun decor. We are getting older, but we still love an immersive experience just as much as a kid. It's harder to WOW adults, but that's where cocktails come in! I am not much of a beer drinker, as I prefer to go for a cocktail most of the time, and I would say the older you get, the less you want beer. As much as spiked seltzer water is the new trend right now, I wanted to serve my guests some interesting drinks that they wouldn't get at a standard bbq or apartment party.
I created this menu by carving a stamp, then mixed a few paint samples until I found the right combo. I arrived at this maroon on black on my 4th or 5th try and I couldn't have loved it more! I then added the script with ink. The most popular drink of the night was the Caipirinha, a Brazilian cocktail made by muddling sugar and limes, then adding cachaça, a Brazilian rum. (My boyfriend is from Brazil)
The Tarot Cards:
I included a tarot card with each invitation to pique some interest, as well as begin a game. Everything is more fun when there is a game!
I used the tarot cards as a way of encouraging my guests to meet new people, while also giving them an ice breaker. A simplified description of the game that I created is as follows:
Each card has specific combinations that create a fortune. I created random combinations of 3 cards, so there really wasn't any rhyme or reason to the matches. When guests find two others that have the corresponding cards, they all receive a house cocktail. You can keep coming back for more as long as you find more combos.
The game was only valid for 2 hours, during the peak of the party, and cocktails were then served freely after the game ended. By which point, guests should have met many new friends as well as gotten reasonably tipsy.
I created a station for the tarot cards, pictured below. Here the guests would find instructions on how to begin the game. I used the same stamp from the menu on a glitter paper and this is what I got. This station was lit by a single candle, creating an immersive ambiance.
The event was an extreme success! What will next Halloween bring?