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Photo courtesy of Candy Twisted Balloons

Candy Brigham, owner of Candy Twisted Balloons, is determined to help people celebrate special moments like graduations and birthdays during quarantine with incredible, personalized balloon creations by prioritizing sanitation and social distance.

“These events are really important to people and they’re more important now than they ever were before,” Brigham said.

Brigham began her business seven years ago, after transitioning from an administrative job to entertainment. She began with magic shows then her hand-crafted balloon pieces took center stage. The 50-year-old runs her business from her home in Glendale, where she’s lived for more than 20 years, with the help of her family and husband Ade Brigham.

Brigham said this time of year is the busiest for her, whether it’s booking events at Rego Center mall or graduations — but once New York went on lockdown in March, that all changed.

“Every single event in May got canceled, and then after that all of my events for the rest of the year were canceled,” she said.

But Brigham kept creating and working within the community. Slowly, more and more people have reached out for her services. She’s currently working on a giant arch for a school out on Long Island, after school administrators saw an Eiffel Tower she created in celebration of a 16-year-old’s birthday.

“They want a a double car drive-through arch,” Brigham said. “They’re going to have a drive-through graduation so the kids are going to drive into the arches and it’ll be like a little parade.”

Although Brigham makes the arches and columns people usually associate with ballon art, what makes her creations special is the customized approach she adds to every piece.

“There’s a personal connection to the balloons,” she said. “Usually I incorporate something about the person, and if it’s not the person themselves, their hobbies, their interest, their favorite movies, theater shows.”

One of her recent pieces include a Mets-themed birthday balloon, which her client said “makes even a 50-year-old feel special.”

Another client, Lisa K., recently ordered a Minecraft-themed balloon piece for her son’s eighth birthday, who she said was “so happy to share it with his classmates virtually” and is “still playing with balloons a week later.”

“Since my son Alexander’s birthday party was canceled due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, I knew that I wanted to do something extra special for his eighth birthday on May 16,” Lisa K. wrote in a testimonial, adding that she didn’t show Brigham any photos of what they wanted but just gave her an idea. “She was very creative with making the Minecraft character Steve and a Creeper. She created an awesome sword that was later easily removed, which my son loved playing with. Alexander was absolutely surprised and thrilled with his Minecraft balloon sculpture!”

Lisa K. added the piece was still intact a week later.

In order to safely continue the business, Brigham said she did extensive research about how to properly sanitize balloons, which involves wiping down the balloons with Lysol and alcohol.

It hasn’t been easy for her to secure supplies, as there have been shortages as well as delays, but being a certified balloon artist has helped her find what she needs for the time being.

“The CDC actually has formulas out there for you to make proper hand sanitizer,” she said. “I saw how I can make an alcohol-based spray that I can use and it’s wonderful. I spray my balloons down with it before I deliver them, so I feel totally comfortable and safe with handing a balloon to a 90-year-old lady.”

She also uses acrylic paint for her art, as Sharpie (which she’s seen used in other balloon pieces on social media) dissolves with alcohol or Lysol.

Brigham is careful to wear masks, gloves and take 10 steps back when dropping off the balloons at people’s doorsteps. She said as someone who has elderly people and people with pre-existing conditions in her family even before the COVID crisis, hygiene is “of the utmost importance” during this pandemic.

And so is bringing people in quarantine some sunshine.

Brigham plans to offer driveway and yard social distance fun and magic shows with sanitized balloons for the summer.

“To get through this whole thing, so we don’t have a second wave like they’ve experienced in other places, we have to be safe. We have to be careful,” Brigham said. “And it’s good to stay within your community. I’m building up trust within my community so people feel safe, and they feel comfortable.”

For more information, visit Candy Twisted Balloons’s website at www.candytwistedballoons.com.

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