Inflatable products has been in people's life as an important joy part for a long time.
During the 2000s, inflatables have replaced the plastic blow-molded yard decorations used as Christmas décor at many U.S. homes, and are also now used as Halloween décor and for other occasions as well.
These are made of a synthetic fabric, of which different colors have been sewn together in various patterns. An electric blower constantly forces air into the figure, replacing air lost through its fabric and seams. They are internally lit by small C7 incandescent light bulbs (also used in nightlights), which are covered by translucent plastic snap-on globes that protect the fabric from the heat if they should rest against it.
Inflatables come in various sizes, commonly four feet or 1.2 meters tall (operated with a low-voltage DC power supply and a computer fan), and six or eight feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) tall, running directly from AC mains electricity. Like inflatable rides, outdoor types are staked to the ground with guy wires (usually synthetic rope or flat straps) to keep them upright in the wind, though being rather flimsy this does not always work. Heavy snow or rainwater which has accumulated may also prevent proper inflation.
While these store compactly, there are disadvantages, including the large amount of electricity needed to constantly keep them inflated. While they can be turned off in the daytime, this leaves the figure deflated, and subject to the rain and snow problem. Freezing rain, heavy snow, or high winds may also cause inflatables to collapse. Additionally, like a tent, they must be completely dry before being packed for storage, or mildewmay be a problem (especially if kept in a basement).
Decorative inflatables can be mended using duct tape or rip stock patching tape. Since these materials are now available in colors, matching the patch to the inflatable is not difficult.
Decorative inflatables are made in many popular characters, including Santa Claus and snowmen for Christmas, and ghosts and jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. Several trademarked characters are also produced, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Winnie the Pooh, and Snoopy and Woodstock from Peanuts. There are also walk-though arches and "haunted houses" for children, and items for other holidays like Uncle Sam forIndependence Day, and palm trees for backyard summer cookouts.
Since 2005, there are also inflatable snow globes which blow tiny styrofoam beads around on the inside, the blower's air jet picking them up and through a tube to the top, where they fall down inside the clear vinylfront. On others, mainly for Halloween, lightweight foam bats or ghosts spin around like confetti in what is called a "tornado globe". The figures inside both types are also inflatables.
Since 2006, several of these have motion, which is driven by the air itself and the Venturi effect. The original is a merry-go-round (usually surrounded by clear vinyl for support), another from 2007 is an airplane with moving propeller. Ghosts may also have streamers which blow around where the air escapes.