Halloween Camping is a Circus

handmade circus sign cardboard

We made the sign by spray-painting cardboard red, printing the letters out with a nifty font, glue them to the cardboard sign, then poke white lights through. So simple, yet big impact!

We have a family tradition of heading to Lake Rudolph in Santa Claus, Indiana for their Halloween Camping weekends. I know it sounds crazy–I really didn’t understand the hype until we finally went. What a blast! We are hooked!

Each weekend not only features site-to-site trick-or-treating, but competitions for the most elaborately-decorated campsites and Halloween costumes. People even decorate the rented golf carts! This is a full-blown Halloween family extravaganza. There’s also tons of activities for the kiddies, including a dance party that us 20-somethings love to crash (somebody’s gotta teach these kids some moves, right?).

Though we’ve not won a grand prize for the best-decorated campsite, the last three years in a row they’ve actually created a new award category to give us recognition for our unique setup. Our secret is that we focus on setting up games for the kids. Last year we did a Price is Right theme and this year we did a circus.

As you can imagine, setting up circus games was easy. We just used our camping pop-up tents, lots of lights, and rolls of plastic table clothes as back drops and dividers. We do most of our crafting at the campsite Saturday morning (nothing like a little Martha Stewart Campsite Edition). Our games included a witch hat ring toss, a ball toss, balloon pop, and a fortune-telling table.

DIY circus booth setup carnival

A circus setup can be cheaply done–alternate red and white plastic table clothes as a back drop and add some large bulbs. Add some bunting flags made from the extra table clothes for extra measure!

The bigger challenge each year has been to come up with a theme that lets 12+ people come up with a group costume. This year we had lots of special guests…

halloween circus clown

Of course you have to have a clown

circus costume strong man ringleader

No circus is complete without a ringmaster!

circus costume strong man mime

Jen and Bugs didn’t bother dressing up–they just came as themselves

bearded lady halloween circus costume

Aunt Kathy went as the bearded lady

maternity halloween costume beer

Jackie (aka “Jack”) rocked a creative maternity costume as the creepy balding guy with the beer gut

homemade halloween costume birds adult

My favorite–Robyn went as the bird lady! She made her costume by hot gluing feathers and wings to gloves and feathers all over her clothes. She even mod-podged feathers to her face!

circus costume carny halloween

The husband did a great job as a carny–we found all the perfect gear at Goodwill: a velour red and black striped shirt (comfy!), vintage high-waist dress pants, completed with a top hat, suspenders, and a homegrown mustache that I couldn’t wait to wipe off his face!

carnie gypsy halloween costumes

My maternity gypsy costume let me sit while telling fortunes, but I looked more like a purple-clad Mary with my belly! But it was a comfy choice!



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