The terrifying new Stephen King adaptation of It has finally hit theaters, and it's safe to say the film may have ruined the usually light-hearted sight of clowns for a long while. Another way our psyches may be forever scarred is the use of red balloons and their meaning in It. Because it's not enough to have a demonic clown coming out of hiding to hurt the children of the sleepy town of Derry, Maine. No, It the clown has to use something very pleasant and ubiquitous, like a red balloon, to signal that he's watching you, waiting.
Some background: It focuses its story on a band of pre-teen misfits who call themselves The Losers Club. Early in the film, one of the Losers, Bill, finds out that his little brother Georgie has gone missing because of It, a demonic entity that takes the form of a clown. This discovery, along with the revelation that It has been returning every 27 years to terrorize a new group of people, sends the Losers into a battle they were never prepared for and a fight to stay alive rather than become the victims of It.
One of the ways that It announces his presence, even if he doesn't do anything per se, is to conjure up a red balloon. This seemingly innocent object serves as a kind of harbinger for the otherworldly, demonic entity. While it possesses no harmful qualities of its own, it's still pretty unnerving to see a red balloon appear out of nowhere.
According the the Wiki set up to explain It and his powers, the red balloon is an illusion — one of many — that can be created to lure It's victims to their deaths. Seeing as this scary presence can take the form of anything he chooses but he chooses to become a clown, it's only fitting that It's would deploy the use of balloons. The aesthetic must be abided by, OK?
The balloons appear to have a remarkable effect of the children of Derry. In the film, the items seem to spark curiosity, be it genuine or fearful. Their color calls attention to the child in question but because we as a society have imbued them an innocent kind of symbolism (where we associate them with parties, celebrations, and the like), it's understand these kids would think nothing of seeing a red balloon. Little do they know, It is trying to lure them in.
And so, if you happen to see a red balloon around, you should probably get a little nervous. If it proves to be a sign of something bad for The Losers Club, it might proves to be a sign of something bad for you, too.