Circus kids came out in 1985 and like a lot of the specialty kids, did not sell well. Some may have been sold in 1987, but they were only manufactured in 1986. The series consists of six clown outfits (#100 – #105) and a ringmaster outfit. (see below) There are two versions of each outfit. The outfit names were created by Coleco.
Circus kids come with a distinctive box, hand tag, and birth certificate. They also came with a clown-themed poster in the box and a trading card in the birth certificate envelope. (Ref#2, p. 72) The original boxes were sort of tent-shaped but later boxes were more rectangular (see ringmaster box below). (Ref #3, p. 133)
They were made by the KT and P factories. I don’t think that each factory produced all six outfits, as I’ve only recorded one factory per outfit so far. However, different factories could produce A and B. These outfits are on the coding matrix but create a duplicate set of #100 – #105 numbers.
One reference noted that these outfits came on P, KT and OK kids. In this case, the OK kids wouldn’t match their outfits. What combination is your Circus kid? (Ref#2, p. 72)
There are several different tags from both factories. This is likely due to changing trends during the production period.
Each outfit comes with a pair of clown shoes, socks, and a head accessory. The shoes are stamped on the bottom with a factory code, and one shoe from each pair will be a squeaker. The socks are always made of brightly coloured silky material and are quite a bit longer than regular socks. In addition, the socks have no distinctive top edge.
As with all the specialty outfits, these outfits were eventually packaged and sold separately from the dolls. In addition, you can sometimes find individual pieces of these outfits in ‘lot’ packages. Leftover Jesmar stock dolls were also dressed as clowns and were sold on the Canadian Market in bilingual boxes. (Ref#2, p.72) I don’t remember seeing a clown in a ‘regular’ box, but it could have happened. Many other specialty outfits were sold this way in later years.
Do I have all the pieces?
Along with the face mask, headgear, socks, and shoes, each outfit includes the following:
Preppy Polka Dot – #100
- One-piece romper with sleeves
- Pointed hat with ruffle
- Neck ruffle
- Top with a large neck ruffle and three pom poms
- Matching bottoms
- White pointed hat with ruffle and pom pom
- Yellow bloomers with white polka dots
- Large puffy hair bow
- Shirt (structured like a t-shirt)
- Vest with tails
- Matching shorts
- Small bow tie
- Small hard vinyl top hat
- Shorts with suspenders (detachable)
- Shirt with collar
- Large neck tie (sewn on)
Preppy Pom Pom
- One piece romper with the large pom poms
- Small neck ruffle
- Vinyl bowler hat
The Ringmaster Outfit – #188
This outfit is the only 188 I have recorded, and for some reason, was coded separately from the clown outfits. This outfit was worn by both boy and girl dolls. The doll came in a circus box with a Circus Kid birth certificate and included a black megaphone. I am unsure if these dolls came with a poster.
The outfit includes a black bowtie, a red velveteen jacket with tails, a fancy white shirt with ruffles down the front, a gold and red vest, white satin jodhoppers, high black boots, and a large black top hat.
The boots are factory labelled on the inside rim and are easily confused with the Russian World Traveler boots. The more obvious differences are the detailing and the height. The Russian boot is shorter than the ringmaster boot.
These are the photo from the 1987 Coleco Catalogue. It looks like they used actual outfits for these pictures, which is unusual.
A Butterick sewing pattern was available to make your own clown costumes.