Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Night at the Circus

It was prom this weekend!  Our theme was "A Night at the Circus".  The kids adamantly wanted a vintage circus feel, a'la Water for Elephants.  Last year, we did A Night in Old Hollywood, so I've gotten to plan a vintage theme two years running!

Here is the entryway, originally a kit for a "Hollywood Movie Premiere" archway.  We just bought additional $1 styrofoam letters and spelled circus instead!

The students traveled down the hall from the entryway to the cafeteria, which we transformed into a "banquet" area and dance floor.  Dance floor:

Canopied banquet seating:

The canopy "circus tent" was 19" gossamer in red and white, draped over pole & drape rods.  The tables were decorated with popcorn boxes filled with swirly suckers (Oriental trading has just about every color!), mason jars with tea lights, and a fortune teller ("cootie catcher") that I made to match our theme.

The fortunes told you which circus act you were!  (forgot to take a good picture of one though. Rats.)  I printed them on parchment paper, so they looked old too.

I think my favorite part was the ceiling!  Paper lanterns (always a hit for little cash) and upside down umbrellas!   The umbrellas are paintable paper umbrellas from Oriental Trading, and the kids painted the red stripes with plain old acrylic paint. 

Outside of the dance floor, there is a glass "cross connect" between buildings, which we used for an old-fashioned photobooth and a caricature artist.  These giant letters might be tied for my favorite detail.  (the little bench is where people sat to have their caricature's drawn.)

The letters were for cheer or dance teams to use in performances and stand 48" tall.  Except the "I" which...was a flub and I didn't notice until we unboxed them Thursday night.  Too late to fix at that point!  THey had sent one correct side and one incorrect side.  So we cut the correct one down to match the smaller one and just glued a paper lantern on top like a "dot".  I might like them better with that red dot on the I!  The letters were all glittered in iridescent glitter (of course). 

Dance floor in the dark... It livened up and you could really see everything when the DJ started the lasers, but I wish there was an easy way to light up the ceiling (for amateurs, I mean.  I'm sure professionals could do it in no time.)

The gazebo was HORRIBLE to build.  But it looked pretty!  Here it is in a "lights on" photo:

The kids loved it too. We put 2 benches inside of it (actually to help stabilize our crap building job, haha!) and there were kids sitting inside the gazebo all night.

I designed the ticket too, and a local print shop printed them up. (I hid our school name for anonymity's sake, but it was originally above the "presents" banner). 

A lot (ALOT) of work but the kids had fun and stayed to the end (had to shoo them out finally at about 12:15 am!) which is always a good thing.  The longer they're in the cafeteria with us, the longer they're safe and sound! 

If you have a vintage circus prom or party coming up (we saw a lot of circus weddings when we were planning), hit me up if you'd like details on anything we did!  I'm happy to share!

Now I'm pooped.   I might be getting to old for this prom business. ;)

Me & Lu testing the photobooth Friday night!


  1. Angie - it's looks fabulous and amazing. But what did you wear? g

  2. What a cheerful, jolly theme! I especially like the silhouettes of trapeze artists, and the canopied seating. Your students are so lucky to have you, with your big ol' brain just brimming with design ideas.

  3. seriously, you are the BEST. TEACHER. EVER. That is an amazing prom!


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