Friday, August 20, 2010

Rogers Garden's 2007 Halloween Carnivale

Here's more on the wonderful plant nursery Rogers Garden's and their past Halloween themes. In 2007, they did Carnivale de Mystique, which had the feel of an old Victorian carnival. I loved the wired canvas banner with it's trailing ends in the photo above. They had another one that said "Fortunes Told" outside the fortune telling room. The photos are blurry because so many stores and designer showcases tended to frown upon photos being taken, much less flash photos, that I was trying to take these somewhat on the sly. Now cell phones with cameras are so common, many places have just given up policing things (except Stat's in Pasadena, more about that another time.) I apologize for the poor photo quality, but the only other place I saw photos of this was here on Pandora's Parlor blog.I just felt the idea had great haunt potential and should be shared.
Roger's had painted canvas posters for  "The Amazing Sword Swallower" and another one for a Fire Eater.

They also had all these black wooden crates piled up, you'd walk around the pile and look in various holes to see oddities in jars and fishbowls. The crates would have colored lights inside, and outside were labels identifying the oddities as things like "Mutant Alien Baby, circa 1901 Roswell, New Mexico" and "Cockrochas Gigantus, found under unknown refrigerator". There was also a Two-Headed Snake and an Amazonian Spider.

To see my blog about Roger's Gardens 2009 Halloween, go here. For more inspiration on the carnivale theme,  watch the HBO series Carnivale. And if you need something to wear, consider Brittany Spears. You heard right. Her corseted outfit for her "Circus" tour has a nice Victorian touch.       I can't believe I just said that.


  1. Hello,
    Do you have a photo of the two-headed snake?
    Is it a real snake in a jar or just a fake one?
    Thanks, Van

  2. @ dicephalics: None of the "freak show" items in the crates were real. The lighting, the labels, and the unexpectedness of it combined with people's uncertainty and the fact that it was Halloween all gave it the necessary creep factor.
    I have successfully simulated some of the items by using grow toys in clear jars with lids I spray paint black to look like specimen jars. By "grow toys" I mean figures that swell many times their original size when placed in water. You can get a variety of them for $1 each hanging in the toy department at Dollar Tree, or get them on eBay. Search "grow snake" on eBay and you'll see what I mean. They look really good when they grow and smoosh up against the glass of the jar! Light the jar from behind as they did with a blue light and you've got it. You can also just use large plastic or rubber toys, as they did for the cockroach. I don't remember how they did the 2-headed snake and they didn't like people taking pictures, so no photos of that. Maybe you can fuse part of one plastic snake onto another by using heat? I don't know, but be careful if you experiment with heat or flame and make sure there is adequate ventilation. I think the alien baby was a grow toy, but use your imagination- replace the head of a doll with a freaky skull with eyes - put it in water in a jar and that'd work as an alien too.
    I wanted plastic jars, round with no handle and perfectly smooth (except for labels which I could remove). I found the perfect jars in Target's grocery section. Medium sized ones have nuts or trail mix in them, and nice tall ones are sold with pretzels or animal-shaped cookies in them. (Target's own brand, called "Market Pantry".) Just eat the goodies, soak off the label, and paint the lids black. Silver-painted lids are OK, it just is hard to make it look like real metal. But either way, I think it looks best if ALL the lids are the same color and specimen jar-like (i.e. not bright red or yellow). We preferred not to tint the water any color but if you do, go for a very, very, VERY light yellow and it will look aged. Too much color detracts from the object. Our backlighting came from LED Christmas lights, 1 per crate, taped in place behind the jar with black electrical tape.
    Thank you for writing. Lots of people read these posts but few comment and I love comments!


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