Last night was the Family Halloween Party…and yes capital letters are appropriate. This huge event is hosted by the oh so talented trio of my sister Debbie, my niece Ashley and her husband Jon. Those who don’t have fun with this October holiday may not understand the anticipation that my family has for this annual celebration. We do Halloween BIG. And the Oklahoma branch of the family goes even BIGGER. I’m talking about a total transformation of their house, not just a few pumpkins, candles and spooky creatures scattered about.
The theme this year was a carnevil one (darker twist on a carnival) and the Barnes House became the Barnes Circus, complete with red and white striped tenting, carnival food and games, and a freaky side show. The guests were encouraged to arrive in character.
Blog post Part I shares the highlights of the amazing décor. Later today Part II will feature costumes.
Welcome to the Barnes Carnevil Circus
Debbie, Ashley and Jon, and their sons Ethan and Kaleb, begin the creation process for their annual party in early spring. They have themes already planned through 2020, and a great deal of thought and creativity and hard work goes into the finished project.
Most of the props and decorations are hand made. Debbie and Ashley scout out thrift stores and clearance sales in big box stores to obtain the materials for their creations. And then those ordinary objects undergo remarkable changes. It’s repurposing, at an extremely high level!
Driving through the neighborhood yesterday, I saw a handful of houses modestly decorated for Halloween. Then, turning onto my family’s street, I see their house. It’s a car stopper for sure, with carnival music playing and lots of canned lighting placed for when darkness falls.
Walking into the circus, posters adorn the wall. Our faces were cleverly added. There’s Greg as Greer, The Bearded Lady!
Come One, Come All
Inside the house, the transformation was startling! Debbie, Ashley and Jon recreate with meticulous details and an eye for authenticity. Hours and hours and HOURS of work bring their theme to life.
Come with me for a tour.
Red and white tenting covered every wall and ceiling of the main floor living areas. Watch out for the carnevil clowns! They were everywhere.
Another unfortunate mishap! The Great Laurent needs more practice.
Real cotton candy and bags of popcorn on the walls, for the taking. And a buffet being laid out that included typical carnival food and veggie options. (Thanks guys!)
Twisty’s Bar, for the over 21 crowd. Twisty is a character from American Horror Story.
Madame Cynvia’s corner. Meet her in the next blog post.
To the Fun House Room
Hall of funhouse mirrors…all hand made.
Welcome! This room, that normally serves as a guest bedroom, had been completely emptied of furniture. Glow in the dark décor and props created a fun room indeed!
Do you feel like you are being watched?
Up, Up, Up the Stairs
Upstairs the carnevil circus theme continued.
This hypnotic disc that Jon made actually spun.
More scary clowns lurking upstairs.
Carnival style games were set up in the family room. The kids had a blast up here, winning prizes.
Even the bathrooms get a makeover, set up to look like circus performers’ dressing rooms.
The Side Show
The office to the left of the entryway showcases the creativity of my family. The space became a side show room, full of oddities from around the world. Take a peek inside.
Lighted cases displayed curiosities. Remember that the majority of props are hand crafted.
Ashley, who is a graphic artist, creates each sign and poster.
What a fun night we all had, at the Barnes Carnevil Circus. Family members mingled with the Barnes’ and Debbie’s friends and co-workers. The atmosphere was lively, and laughter filled the “big tent”.
The Family Halloween Party is one of the year’s highlights for me and a highly anticipated event. Although we all know the theme beforehand, we don’t get to see the finished project until we show up for the party. Ethan and Kaleb have become experts at giving tours to arriving guests. I so appreciate the generosity and creativity of my sister and her family. And I heartily applaud their hard work.
Watch for The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II later today, for a look at the characters that attended the party. You won’t be disappointed!
2 Replies to “The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part I”
WOW! You guys go ALL OUT! I love the dress-up but not a fan of all the creepy.
Totally understand. My sister’s family is BIG on Halloween and they go all out. We are used to it…and, the rest of us don’t live in the house! 😜