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Five balloons will lift a dog, twenty a person... and a few thousand a house.

A common occurrence in children's stories and comics is having a character be lifted off his feet and into the air by a bunch of helium balloons. A variation is to have him achieve lift with plain air balloons, even though that's even less plausible. In Speculative Fiction, it may involve a Living Gasbag. Some stories use Chinese Sky Lanterns to achieve lift rather than balloons.

This is a Trope Examined by the MythBusters. See under "Live Action TV examples" below.

Often ended by a Balloon-Bursting Bird. See also All Balloons Have Helium when a character simply blows up a balloon with their breath and it automatically floats. May be combined with Balloon of Doom if the balloons are Played for Horror. See our Useful Notes on airships for more information on how the real aircraft operate.

Not to be mistaken for Balloon Belly.


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  • This Ford Mondeo advert.
  • An ad for Disneyland's 50th anniversary featured Jiminy Cricket getting lifted into the air by a balloon.
  • In this commercial for Honey Bunches of Oats a woman turns a balloon held by a girl into a bunch of them, making her float away with the balloons.

    Anime and Manga 
  • A variation appeared in Doki Doki School Hours, where an extremely short school teacher was teased by one of her students that this would happen to her. A few of the students proceeded to tie a bunch of balloons to the teacher's obi (they were at a summer festival) and the first student lifted the teacher up so it looked like she was floating away.
  • The climax of Doraemon: Nobita and the Tin Labyrinth have Doraemon and Nobita infiltrating Professor Napogistler's through the roof using gigantic balloons, larger than themselves.
  • Happens in Kaitou Saint Tail, since the main character simulates magical girl abilities with stage magic, but the stage magic is, well, a bit exaggerated.
  • In Lupin III: Bye-Bye Liberty Crisis!, Lupin uses a giant balloon to steal the Statue of Liberty, which he then pilots all the way to the Grand Canyon in order to hide it.
  • In the One Piece cover story featuring Eneru, four Spaceys fly from their island to the MOON using regular balloons.
  • During the Opening of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Madoka screws things up (apparently) again by inflating her dress and goes flying off into the sky. This is probably the only funny scene in the ''whole'' series.
  • In episode 13 of the Little Witch Academia (2017) TV series, Akko has trouble keeping afloat after turning into a flying elephant, so Lotte conjures some balloons to help her out.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 2 episode 45, Happy S. and Big M. give Dagger Pete so many balloons that it causes him to float up into the air.
  • In one episode of Lamput, Slim Doc attempts to trade a big balloon for a smaller one a kid is holding, which is actually Lamput in disguise. Lamput inflates himself bigger, making the kid decline the offer and causing Slim Doc to return with a balloon that's so big that it makes him float into the air.
  • Motu Patlu: In "Photography Competition", Motu and Patlu borrow a bunch of balloons and use them to float in the sky and get a better photo of the bird they're trying to photograph.
  • A variant in the Noonbory and the Super 7 episode "Luky's Bubble Trouble"; a bubblegum balloon lifts Lukybory off the ground and carries him to Winter.
  • Our Friend Xiong Xiao Mi: In her Birthday Episode, Muzi is given so many balloons that she ends up being unable to touch the ground.

    Comic Books 
  • Achille Talon's father once escaped the police by blowing into a breathalyzer balloon until it lifted him into the air.
  • Archie Comics:
    • A cover to a digest features Jughead as a balloon seller. He begs people passing by to buy a couple, because he's having to hold onto the ground to avoid floating away.
    • In one story, Jughead's baby sister Jellybean is taken for a ride when some balloons are tied to her carrier.
    • Another early story (1960s) features a school presidential election race between Archie and Reggie. Archie and Betty are handing out balloons when Mr. Weatherbee confiscates them all because he feels Archie is getting carried away with campaigning and ends up getting carried away himself, until Jughead pops them with a slingshot and drops the principal into a conveniently just-finished cement sidewalk.
    • In another one shot, Dilton Doiley laments not being able to surf in tandem like the other guys are doing (With a pretty girl on their shoulders) because he's too short and scrawny to lift his normal-sized date up. Said girl goes to a balloon vendor and buys enough balloons to make herself light enough for Dilton.
  • The Penguin uses this tactic to steal a payroll while disguised as a balloon vendor in a classic Golden Age Batman story ("Knights of Knavery") in which he teams up with The Joker.
  • Happened to Bill in Billy & Buddy: he bit into a stick that was holding some balloons, and flew off with them.
  • Gaston Lagaffe once left a leaking helium bottle in his car. The gas filled up the car, caused the canvas roof to bulge... and up into the air went the car.
  • The usual gang of idiots at MAD once (October, 1964) suggested that a large enough balloon filled with helium could lift a big sedan a couple of feet off the ground, enabling the owner to float it into a parking spot.
  • This happens to Apple Bloom on Issue #1 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW)'s Cover D.

    Eastern Animation 
  • I'll Return as the Rain: Guda-Guda manages to blow balloons out of a bubble wand, and he blows enough balloons to send him and the girl flying.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Great Mouse Detective: At the climax, Basil ties the Union Jack flag with balloons underneath to a box of matches in order to chase Ratigan fleeing on his blimp. Helps that they're mice.
  • My Little Pony: A New Generation: One of the defense items Phyllis sells is a backpack filled with balloons meant to carry its wearer to safety. Unfortunately, she failed to consider how the pony is supposed to descend and its unfortunate test subject is left floating aimlessly for the entire film.
  • The Princess and the Frog: Tiana and Naveen (as frogs) escape from a charging dog by grabbing a bunch of balloons and flying away from him. The balloons burst and they fall down and land in the Atchaflaya Basin swamp.
  • Robin Hood (1973): Sir Hiss the snake not only becomes an airborne spy by sticking his head inside an inflated balloon so that his body hangs down as the string (and how does Medieval England have helium-filled rubber balloons to begin with?), but gains altitude by further inflating the balloon, with his breath, while his head is inside it. Balloonacy on so many levels.
  • Over the Hedge: Vincent the bear gets tangled up in a massive over-sized clown balloon from a birthday party and is carried aloft. Unfortunately for our heroes, he doesn't go far.
  • Up:
    • It happens to an entire house. The animators figured out that in reality it would take somewhere on the order of millions of balloons to lift the house. In the film, they use ten or twenty thousand, but the ones they use are twice as big as the main character.
    • It also seems to apply to normal sized ones. In the prologue, we see Carl selling balloons at the zoo. He lets go of his cart for a moment, and needs to grab ahold of it before it floats away.
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: The "Little Black Rain Cloud" sequence in "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree" has Pooh tie himself to a balloon in order to float into the air and sneak honey out of a bee nest.

    Films — Live Action 
  • The plot of the Buster Keaton short The Balloonatic is basically "camper stumbles across hot-air balloon; Hilarity Ensues."
  • Cat's Eye. During their final battle, the troll tries to escape General by flying away on a bunch of helium mylar balloons. It works only partly and General manages to catch him.
  • Danny Deckchair travels around via baloonant deckchair.
  • The Muppets:
    • Gonzo is carried aloft in The Muppet Movie when he buys all the balloons from a fair vendor.
    • In Kermit's Swamp Years, Kermit, at one point, gets the idea to search for Blotch and Goggles by using a bunch of balloons to lift him into the air and give him a better look at his surroundings to see if he can spot them.
  • In Napoleon (1995), the eponymous golden retriever gets lost by floating away from his home in a basket with too many balloons attached.
  • In the 1976 movie Nickelodeon 1976, a scene using a hot air balloon is being filmed, when Jane Hitchcock's character (who is nearsighted) bumps into a handler and gets her foot caught in a balloon tow rope. When the balloon rises, it takes Jane with it, dangling her upside down.
  • In one scene of One Crazy Summer, Egg Stork hands a large balloon to a young boy. The boy stands up and floats away.
  • In The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Clouseau is floated out of his apartment window by the inflatable hump in his hunchback costume, thereby causing him to miss the bomb Dreyfus sets off.
  • In Police Academy 6 at the very end, there is an award ceremony for stopping the crime wave perpetrated by the mayor to lower real estate price. As part of the decorations for the ceremony, a big bunch of balloons spans from one chair to another. When Cmdt. Lassard sees that Capt. Harris sitting in one of the chairs the balloons are tied to, possibly as revenge for causing a leak in the department for the mastermind, he cuts them free, thus causing the chair Harris is sitting on to float away.
  • Real Genius (or at least the trailer and commercials as it didn't make it into the final cut). Val Kilmer in a balloon-lofted deckchair outside an upper-story classroom: "What are you doing?!" "Floating, sir."
  • The Red Balloon. See here and especially, here.
  • Shortcut to Happiness: In the Story Within a Story that opens the film, Johnnie attaches balloons to his new bicycle—which he sees as the cause of all of his problems—to cause it to float away. At the end of the film, the bike is seen floating above Manhattan. In both cases, it is probably intended to be symbolic.
  • The Three Stooges:
    • In an odd variation of this trope, where Moe himself became a balloon. In Dizzy Pilots, Moe falls into a tub of tar, and to get the tar off of him, Larry and Curly cut a hole in his clothes and begin filling it up with gas. Hilarity Ensues as Moe begins to float away when Larry and Curly aren't looking, and they spend the next sizable chunk of the episode trying to get Moe down. He eventually floats through an opening in the ceiling and into the sky.
    • In the 2012 feature film adaptation, a little girl gets lifted by a bunch of balloons. When a bullet pops them and she falls onto a big cake, she says "That was awesome!".

  • Happened to one of the characters of Caroline visite Paris from the French youth book series Caroline.
  • The title character in Curious George is borne aloft by helium balloons. This was repeated in other media adaptations of the stories.
  • Discussed in David Brin's Glory Season; the balloon-like creatures called zoor have enough lift that children can can ride the larger ones by grabbing onto their tentacles.
  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl has a variation involving seagulls. Of course, James got the idea by thinking of the balloon version.
  • Happens to the titular old lady, a balloon seller, in Mrs Cockles Cat.
  • The Twits, also by Dahl. Mr. Twit, having already convinced Mrs. Twit that she's shrinking, ties her to a couple hundred balloons, and her feet to a ring in the ground, and leaves her there to 'stretch'. Then Mrs. Twit accidentally gives him the idea to cut her loose...
  • Winnie the Pooh uses one of Christopher Robin's balloons to get honey from a beehive high up a tree.
  • The sci-fi comedy Bread Overhead by Fritz Leiber, a bread company seeking to make bread that's lighter than those of its competitors injects the bread with hydrogen. This makes the bread so light it goes floating off the production line and into the sky. Hilarity Ensues until the bread finally comes to rest in a famine-stricken Ukraine, solving a world-endangering crisis.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The trope is subverted in the Abbott and Costello show when Lou was trying to get a fat woman on her feet with some balloons, unaware that Bud is doing the real work with a lifting jack.
  • America's Got Talent: Extreme has Erika Lemay, an aerial artist who performed her aerial silk art while being lifted about 90-feet above ground by a bunch of balloons. The beauty and danger of her act so impressed the judges and Terry that, even though they've all used up their golden buzzer, they unanimously agree that she deserve the Golden Buzzer and she was put through the finals.
  • In the third season of Arrested Development, George tries to escape from house arrest by attaching weather balloons to a deck chair (apparently inspired by the "Larry Lawnchair" example below). Given that he's a Bluth, it ends about as well as you'd expect.
  • The A-Team: In "Pros and Cons", Murdock and Hannibal escape a prison by filling plastic bags with hot air, powered by hair dryers.
    Hannibal: Murdock, how'd I ever let you talk me into this?
    Murdock: I don't know: I have intermittent memory loss! *floats away cackling*
  • Done successfully by Jon Tickle on Brainiac: Science Abuse.
  • Pretty sure they did this to Graham Norton during a Comic Relief one year.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Happened in one of the earliest episodes of El Chavo del ocho.
  • The final episode of Green Wing ends with Caroline being carried up into the sky by a mass of helium filled balloons at her wedding reception. The DVD boxset extras shows an alternate ending where Guy and Mac grab onto Caroline's ankles and are taken up with her. It ends with Mac saying, "Caroline, there's something I've been meaning to tell you."
  • National Geographic Channel's How Hard Can It Be has made and floated a house inspired by Up.
  • There was an episode of the little-remembered New Leave It to Beaver show featuring this gag.
  • Happened in The Lucy Show episode "Kiddie Parties Inc.": Lucy tries to bring a batch of helium balloons to a party, which leads to her floating away, flying through a flock of geese and crashing into a church steeple.
  • MacGyver (1985) used a big bunch of balloons tied to a police radio and a tape player and set them free to jam the police communications and enable a family of Roma to defect to the west from Hungary.
  • Mind Your Language have an episode where Mr. Brown and his students runs a fundraising campaign. Notably, Brown and Jamila had to sell balloons in Hyde Park, but as Jamila tries getting change for customers, she hands the twenty or so balloons she's carrying to Brown (himself already having his hands full) causing the latter to comically float off. There's a minor Special Effects Failure that you can see the wires attached on Barry Evans, though.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus:
    • In one episode, during one of Terry Gilliam's animations, a man grabbed a bunch of balloons and floated away. He was then attacked by a bird with a cannon where its head should be, which was trying to burst the balloons.
    • "The Golden Age of Ballooning" episode, riffing on the Montgolfier Bros. and Ferdinand Von Zeppelin. Notably a scene where Zeppelin's brother(Terry Jones) tried to blow up a giant balloon, only to have the air rush back into his lungs, inflating himself(and tearing off his clothes), turning himself into a giant balloon.
  • Mr. Bean once put some balloons on a baby's pram, and it flies off and he has to make chase.
  • MythBusters researched how many you'd need. It takes a lot of balloons to lift a person — even if it's just a five-year-old! Specifically, it takes 3,500 party-size balloons to lift a 40-pound child. It's also worthwhile to note that, due to volumetrics, it takes a lot more small balloons to equal the volume of one slightly larger diameter balloon. In other words, 3,500 party balloons can only lift a 40-pound child, but a single helium or hydrogen balloon about 16 feet in diameter can carry most adults. Also, because hot air carries about a third as much as gas, most "hopper" or "backpack" hot air balloons must be around 25 feet in diameter to carry most people.
  • Played for Laughs in Saved by the Bell: The New Class. Ryan's revenge of humiliation against his stepbrother Nicky in the episode "Oh, Brother" is to trick him (with Eric playing along with Ryan's scheme) into helping Screech to sell extra balloons. Sure enough, the "outfit" Screech has in mind for both Nicky and himself is to have each of them hold a lot of balloons (not just in hand, but all over their own bodies as well), which earns nothing but boos and mockery from the people Screech hopes to sell balloons to as a result. Discouraged, Nicky hands the balloons he's holding to Screech before leaving, and the sheer amount of balloons Screech is holding causes him to take flightnote .
  • The opening credits to Webster had a sequence of still photos showing the title character being lofted by a bunch of balloons before being caught by his adoptive parents.
  • Weaponized by the Balloonman in Gotham, who fastens large balloons to his victims and sends them off to eventually fall to their deaths (if the thin air and cold don't finish them off first).

    Music Videos 
  • A little girl in Tal Bachman's "She's So High" gets carried off by some balloons that the lady trades her for her cup (which the latter "dives" into at the end).

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Deconstructed in Baldo. Hundreds of balloons raise a boy and a chair off the ground just as high as the first-story window of his house, which the wind immediately smacks him into, breaking it and knocking him off the chair and into a thorny rosebush.
  • In Bloom County, one of Oliver Wendell Jones' schemes involves tying a good many helium balloons to Cutter John's wheelchair and floating him to Africa to turn the American ambassador black with one of Oliver's inventions (it was a plan to battle apartheid). The entire thing was treated as a parody of a space program, and ended with Cutter and Opus getting stranded in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Calvin and Hobbes had a storyline where Calvin was lifted off the ground by his balloon. When Calvin tries it for real in a much earlier strip by using a stepladder to jump off, he promptly falls splat on his face, losing the balloon in the process.
  • An old New Yorker magazine cartoon by George Price depicts a policeman talking on a street-corner call box while handcuffed to a man who's held aloft by a handful of balloons: "Vending without a license...and get over here quick!"
  • A Peanuts strip had Linus with a balloon and Lucy trying to help him by tying it to various parts of his body. When she ties it to his shoelace, it turns him upside-down.
  • Dick Cavalli's Winthrop had a kid named Foster whose shtick was musing about life while hanging in midair from a single balloon.
  • Marvin:
    • In the 1985 story arc where we see Marvin get his stuffed rabbit Floppet, it briefly floats away on a bunch of balloons. Marvin's dad Jeff chases the toy down and catches it after chasing it by car.
    • A variation involving bubble gum happens on 5/24/1987 when Marvin blows a bubble gum bubble that causes him to float off the ground, out his window and outside the house as a man in a bus stop looks on.

  • The backglass for Hurricane shows a clown being carried away by a handful of balloons.

    Puppet Shows 
  • On Fraggle Rock, Wembly uses a bunch of balloons tied to a basket to return a baby bird to the Gorgs' Garden in one episode.
  • Sesame Street:
    • Kermit the Frog is demonstrating a Rube Goldberg Device to turn on a radio: the last step involves using a balloon to turn on the radio. Of course, nothing works the way it's supposed to, and at the very end, Kermit sees the balloon float away taking the radio with it.
    • Kermit and Grover are demonstrating light and heavy objects; the final light object is a large balloon, and Grover picks it up and promptly floats away.
    • On one of the baker segments, a man is holding four balloons, and this causes him to start floating away.
    • A man is apparently mugging a balloon vendor by stealing his balloons and popping them. He steals the largest balloon, he floats away, and up in the air he meets three blackbirds. The largest one pops his balloon, sending him crashing back to the ground and getting what he deserved.

  • Cirque du Soleil has used this trope twice.
    • In Mystere, while the High Bar act was being set up, the female baby (played by an adult actress) was lifted skyward by a clutch of red balloons. This bit of stage business was dropped in a 2012 retool, perhaps because the new trapeze act's rigging made it unworkable, but she still has the balloons and even descends to Earth during the finale. In any case, the ascent/descent is accomplished with wires.
    • Corteo has a whole act that serves as a Real Life version of this trope, the "helium dance". The Clowness, played by a little person, is fitted into a harness that dangles from several giant balloons and proceeds to float over the stage and audience.
  • There's a play called Up! (no relation to the film) about a Larry Lawnchair-type.
  • Also a musical: Flight of the Lawnchair Man.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • The Animal Crossing series has balloons carrying gift packages that occasionally float through your town. These sometimes have entire refrigerators, or big bags of coins, hanging from a single party balloon. In earlier games, you had to hope they landed in a tree for you, but later games let you shoot them down with slingshots.
  • The entire concept of Balloon Fight: you and the enemies are flying with balloons, and trying to pop each other's balloons to defeat your foes.
  • The Dead Lander Beta enemy from Bug Fables floats with balloons... balloons that just so happen to be indestructible, and will never pop no matter how much punishment they receive. Given the alien nature of the Dead Landers, these could easily be odd growths that merely resemble balloons, but it's never clarified either way.
  • When the blonde girl in Cold and Flu Invasion is cured, she gets a balloon and floats to the ceiling.
  • Two of the endings of Chrono Trigger have certain characters get carried away by balloons.
  • Demon's World have multiple areas where a balloon as large as your characters floats by. You can jump and grab them to float around for several seconds, either to hover over pits too wide to jump across, access power-ups at the top of the screen, or dodge enemies on ground level.
  • Donkey Kong Country:
    • Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze: The Red Balloons that served as extra lives in the original series are now justified; when you're defeated, the death screen shows your Kongs using the balloons to ride back to the nearest checkpoint.
    • The Nintendo 3DS port of Returns reintroduced Green Balloons (which would go on to appear in Tropical Freeze as well), but unlike in the SNES trilogy where they granted two extra lives, these are bought from the games' stores and used as a Bottomless Pit Rescue Service — if a Kong falls into a pit while they have a Green Balloon equipped, it'll lift them back out.
    • In Tropical Freeze, Funky Kong ponders how many balloons he needs to attach to his surfboard to get some air if the player buys Red Balloons from his shop.
  • Feeding Frenzy Shipwreck Showdown: During the several levels where the playable fish can jump out of the water, there are items occasionally flying around the stage while attached to balloons.
  • Garfield's Nightmare: In some of the sky levels, there are wooden platform hovering with the help of four balloons each, allowing Garfield to ride them and reach high places. changing direction whenever necessary. The fourth level also has red balloons that, upon being stood on, move onto a direction marked by a yellow arrow drawn on them (and that arrow changes direction each time Garfield jumps, similar to certain directional platforms in Super Mario Bros. 3).
  • Garry's Mod defaults to a optimistic amount of lift from a balloon, but allows players to adjust the lifting power. It's possible to get a fifty ton cargo container to go soaring into the sky with a single balloon. The lift slider can be set to negatives, resulting in balloons with the density of plutonium or neutronium.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts: One of the "Hundred Acre Wood" mini-games has Winnie the Pooh using a balloon to float up the honey tree, while Sora stops bees from attacking him.
    • Kingdom Hearts II: The first mini-game requires Sora to use a balloon to save Piglet from a hurricane while scoring 18,000 points for the journal.
  • Kirby Mass Attack: The Balloon Bobbleship, which appears in the fifth level of the Sandy Canyon, is some kind of gondola attached to ten balloons. The Kirbys use to ascend into the air.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: The Octo Balloons obtained from defeated Octoroks can be dropped on and attached to any movable object to make it float, ranging from weapons to barrels to rafts to unaware/incapacitated enemies, although their use is limited by the fact that they pop after a few seconds. In Master Mode, extra enemies spawn on floating platforms held up by live inflated Octoroks.
  • The Legendary Starfy: The Sky Swabbies enemies are simply regular Swabbies flying around thanks to the three balloons attached to their clothing.
  • Magic Pockets: Bubble gum gives you an inflatable lift.
  • Makai Kingdom: The Balloon weapon — single use, lifts the user out of the stage for the rest of the level. This makes it nearly useless for your own characters, but deadly in the hands of an enemy, as any enemy removed from the stage adds their levels to every other enemy left on the battlefield.
  • McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure: If Ronald has balloons in his inventory, they can prevent him from losing a life if he falls into a pit. Ronald also has temporary control over the balloons, and can use them to reach higher places and/or items.
  • The Balloon Adapter from Mega Man 4 is a hidden utility that allows Mega Man to create balloons he can use as floating platforms.
  • In Mystery Case Files: Madame Fate, one of the background animations in the Kitty Carnival is a little cat flying while attached holding three balloons.
  • Odo Odo Oddity for the PlayStation, where you travel through various fantasy lands while battling assorted robots with three balloons attached to your back.
  • In Pac-Man Party, the minigame Pop 'N Balloons involves the player characters being attached to clusters of 30 balloons each, and being sent floating through the air. The players use the Wii Remote pointer to aim and shoot at the balloons to pop them and make their opponents fall.
  • Pikmin 2: Careening Dirigibugs float in the air with five colorful balloon-like parts of their body. They pop when hit with enough Pikmin and knocked down, but they have the ability to re-inflate them to go back up.
  • Pitfall Harry uses a balloon to traverse a large open area in Pitfall! II: The Lost Caverns.
  • The Balloon Zombie from Plants vs. Zombies, as the name indicates, has a balloon tied around his waist as his signature characteristic. It allows him to float clear over any plants that don't pop the balloon, something that only cacti and cattails can do. The sequel changes his mechanics to where he can be stopped by certain defensive plants like the Tall-Nut, and he can be hit by any plant that has a projectile attack, though the balloon is way harder to pop, adding to his total health.
  • Pokémon:
    • Drifloon, a Pokemon that looks like a balloon, is said to carry off children who mistake it for a normal balloon and grab its stringlike tails. However, since they're only 16 inches (40 cm) tall and weigh 2.6 pounds (1.2 kg), they wind up getting carried away by said child or blown around by any breeze. Its evolution Drifblim, however, can learn Fly.
    • There's also the Air Balloon, an item that allows Pokémon to float and avoid Ground-type attacks. A single red balloon is enough to lift even the monstrous, half-ton Snorlax into the air!
    • Certain Pikachu obtained via events are able to use the move Fly; according to the card game, Pokémon Snap, and PokéPark Wii, they do so with this trope. With the average Pikachu only weighing about 13 lbs, this is a lot more plausible than it is for humans.
    • Pokémon Dash has hidden sprites that depict Pikachu and Munchlax flying in this manner, and Munchlax is also shown flying with helium balloons in official art. However, actual gameplay averts it, as all flying is done in proper hot air balloons.
  • Both the helium- and air-balloon versions occur in the classic arcade game Pooyan.
  • Top Hunter: Roddy & Cathy occasionally have balloons carrying either crates containing pickups, or random mooks, floating into the screen once in a while. These balloons are invulnerable though, the crates / enemies they're carrying can be shot at, but afterwards the balloon simply floats away.
  • Totally Accurate Battle Simulator lets you do this to enemy units of any size, provided you have a sufficiently large number of balloon archers.
  • Trials of Mana has an airship (used by the Nevarlan thieves) that uses colourful balloons to stay airborne.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Odyssey: Luigi is held aloft by a balloon on his back. As the player's rank in Balloon World increases, he attaches more balloons to a maximum of four.
    • Mario Party 3: In the minigame Bobbing Bow-loons, a solo character is hovering in the skies with a balloon, and there are five other balloons with one item each encased inside them. The player's objective is to use a bow to shoot an arrow at one of the balloons to burst it and claim the item it has inside. All balloons lower and rise at different speeds, so timing is key. Missing all balloons will make the arrow bounce off the nearby stone tower and ricochet at the player's balloon, making them fall down and lose the minigame.
    • Mario Party 4:
      • In the minigame Toad's Quick Draw, some Koopa Troopas will open a train wagon's ceiling to unleash balloons of different colors. When Toad raises a flag, the players have to shoot at the balloon whose color matches that of the raised flag. The first character to fire the correct balloon earns one point. Whoever scores three points wins.
      • The Bowser minigame Balloon of Doom. Players jump on a plunger and inflate a balloon; the person who pops the balloon gets fire breath in the face.
    • Mario Party 5: The minigame Merry Poppings has two dueling characters being suspended in the skies with 30 balloons each, and being armed with blowguns. By pressing A and B simultaneously, a character can shoot at their rival's balloons to burst them. Whoever manages to burst the other's 30 balloons first wins; if 5 minutes pass and both characters are still floating, then all their balloons will explode and both will fall down, ending the minigame in a tie.
    • Mario Party 7: The closely-named minigame Balloonatic has a player hovering above a sea with three balloons, while the other three players are shooting cannonballs at them from a wooden ship. The solo player is immune to the cannonballs, but the balloons aren't, so they have to move constantly to dodge the projectiles. If all three balloons are bursted, then the player will fall onto the water and the rival trio will win; but if the solo player manages to resist with at least one balloon during 30 seconds, then they'll win.
    • Paper Mario: Color Splash: This is the effect of the Balloon card. Three balloons appear over each enemy and lift them away from the stage, ending the battle immediately. This is also mandatory to beat Ludwig, as the balloons will carry his submarine over solid ground, allowing Mario to destroy it.
  • In the "Alleys and Gullies" level of the Toy Story 2 video game, there's a mission where Buzz must ride a balloon being blown by a fan to collect a Pizza Planet token atop a trash can.
  • The Baby Bart level of Virtual Bart for the SNES and Genesis has a section where Bart hangs on to a bunch of balloons to float above the hazards of the fence (namely dogs and cats).
  • Whiplash: Inflating Redmond with helium makes you float upwards. Spanx can speed up the process by spinning his tail like a propeller.
  • In World of Goo, one type of goo-ball turns into balloons, which have to be used to lift up other parts of the structures you build.
  • The Yoshi's Island features Shy Guys and items dangling from balloons.

    Web Animation 

    Web Original 
  • Homestar Runner: One Strong Bad E-Mail shows Strong Bad, Strong Mad, and The Cheat inhaling helium from leftover party balloons to make their voices high. The Cheat accidentally inhales his entire balloon, blowing himself up and causing him to fly away.
  • Film Riot has an episode where they make a camera stabilizer with balloons.

    Western Animation 
  • The DreamWorks Animation logo from 2004-2010. In almost all of their early films and several television series, the company's trademark credits always showed the kid floating up to the moon to fish via a bundle of balloons. Unfortunately, they've started skipping past the Balloonacy part with later films.
  • In one of the teaser openings of The Alvin Show, Alvin buys a bunch of balloons and hands them to Dave, sending him floating away to the sky.
  • Animaniacs: This is shown happening to Buttons and Mindy in "The Monkey Song": first as a Funny Background Event before returning as a Brick Joke. It's also used as part of a "Good Idea, Bad Idea" sketch:
    Good Idea: Giving a small child a balloon.
    Bad Idea: Giving a small child a bunch of balloons. (little girl floats away)
  • On Beat Bugs, this is tried in "Blackbird" as a method to help Blackbird to fly again when she has a broken wing, but it fails because she pops the balloons with her working wing.
  • Beavis And Butthead - happens to Beavis when they buy a bunch of balloons at a marine park (hearing earlier how dolphins are in danger of choking on balloons). Butt-head gets him down with a slingshot - hitting Beavis in the crotch and making him let go.
  • Happens once in Beethoven: The Animated Series: Mr. Huggs floats off when a bully ties balloons to him.
  • This is part of the premise of the Don Hertzfeldt cartoon Billys Balloon. (The other part is that balloons are sadists.)
  • In Birdz, Tommy the turkey is held aloft by a single balloon concealed in a backpack. This becomes a plot point in one episode, where his friends try to convince him to ditch the balloon, only to realize that turkeys can't fly.
  • This happens to Cleo in one episode of Clifford the Big Red Dog, in which she tries to get a balloon as a get-well present for a sick Emily-Elizabeth, only to get tangled in the strings, and begin to float away, until Clifford stops her.
  • Happens to George in Curious George when a group of children each gives him their balloon. Ted aka "the Man in the Yellow Hat" then grabs the rest of the balloons from the vendor and flies off in pursuit.
  • The Dog & Pony Show: One episode has Lily Bud being carried away by a balloon. Dog and Pony commandeer a hot air balloon to pursue her.
  • Doctor Snuggles: In "The Sensational Balloon Race", this is how the Doctor's balloon racer flies. He and his assistants blow up several party balloons by mouth which is able to lift their gondola up into the air.
  • In one episode of the U.S. Acres segment of Garfield and Friends, Wade Duck spent the whole winter trying (and failing) to fly. Later, when several characters tried to stop an out of control tractor, they gave Wade their balloons and they made him float.
  • In a variant of this trope, Get Muggsy! has Carl and Tred inhale helium and tie strings to themselves to sneak into a park, with obvious results.
  • In "Giant Among Us" on Goldie & Bear, Goldie and Bear try this as a means of getting the Giant back up to his home when the beanstalk is accidentally broken by magic. It fails when the 4 and 20 blackbirds pop the balloons.
  • Goldie Gold and Action Jack: A variation but with a gadget instead of helium balloons; one episode had Goldie use a gadget called a balloon buckle to save herself, Jack and another from hanging off a cliff. The balloon buckle inflated big enough and was able to carry all three characters to safely land at a nearby airfield after Goldie manually deflates the buckle.
  • In "Carried Away" on Henry Hugglemonster, Cobby invents a machine that can make balloons, which are apparently helium. The machine malfunctions and starts filling up the Hugglemonster house, which is a problem because they're currently hosting Mr. Growl of The Grr Factor, who is known for never riding in airplanes because he's terribly afraid of heights. He and his family spend most of the story trying to hide from Mr. Growl the fact the house is in the air, while also searching for a way to take care of the balloon problem.
  • Kick Buttowski: In "Love Stinks!", Kick suspends a skateboard ramp in the air above his house by means of helium balloons.
  • In an episode of King of the Hill, Dale tries the balloons-tied-to-a-lawnchair version with Bill as a test subject. Hilarity Ensues when the chair ends up flying away and Dale attempts to shoot down the balloons, only for the chair to fall and Bill to get tangled in the balloons, causing him to drift all the way to Mexico.
  • In the music video for the song "Cheaters Never Really Win" at the end of the Little Dogs on the Prairie episode "Cheating", Darcy cheats in a sack race by using a bunch of balloons to float over her competitors only to be shot down by Miss Kitty via a pea shooter.
  • Used often enough as part of a gag involving a Rube Goldberg Device in old Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry cartoons.
    • Happens to Claude Cat as part of Hubie and Bertie pretending that he's dead and heading for Cat Heaven in the short Hypo-Chondri Cat
    • Happens to Bugs Bunny in Bushy Hare
    • Happens to Sylvester in Pizza Tweety Pie
  • In MGM cartoon The Milky Way, three party balloons take three kittens into space. Justified by the ending, which reveals that the kittens were just pretending.
  • In an Imagine Spot from Muppet Babies (1984), the Muppet Babies go to a fun park, where Baby Animal spots a balloon vendor, and wants all of his balloons, which he takes, and begins to float away.
  • In the Mighty Magiswords episode "Suitable Armor" Vambre tries to float up a tree with a helium animal balloon in order to save a cat. Unfortunately, her balloon gets popped by one of the branches.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
  • Happened at least a few times in various The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh episodes, such as "Balloonatics" (season 1 episode 5).
  • In Oscar's Orchestra's first episode, “The Battle Begins”, Oscar gets up to the balcony of Thadius Vent’s palace(the palace is on a giant mountain) by using three bunches of balloons. In addition, Trevor, Eric, and Rebecca were inside him(he’s a grand piano), so the balloons were carrying a tuba, a triangle, a 10 year old child, and a grand piano through the air.
  • In The Perils of Penelope Pitstop episode "The Boardwalk Booby Trap", the Hooded Claw gets rid of the Ant Hill Mob by giving them helium balloons that cause them to float away.
  • This happens to Pocoyo on Pocoyo in "Umbrella Umbrella." Sure, it was with an umbrella, but the same basic idea applies.
  • In the Regular Show episode "Just Set Up The Chairs", a depressed Pops floats off on a bunch of balloons when Benson reminds him the birthday party they're holding isn't for him.
  • From the work of Richard Scarry:
    • In The Busy World of Richard Scarry, the opening of "Mr. Raccoon's Different Day" has Mr. Frumble accidentally floating into the sky with several helium balloons. Unlike the second example below, all of the balloons burst for no reason and Mr. Frumble falls to the ground but lands safely.
    • In an episode of Busytown Mysteries, Pig Won't floats away with helium balloons. Huckle and friends fly up to Pig Won't with a helicopter, pop the balloons with a sharp pencil and save him.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Subverted in "Lost Our Lisa". Homer, wanting to get to higher ground to look for Lisa, buys a bunch of balloons, says "I hope this works"... and then trades them to a construction worker for the use of his cherry picker.
      "Well, I've already got some balloons, but...they're not this nice. Deal!"
    • In another episode, Homer tries to patrol the Springfield border from a lawnchair on balloons, but as soon as he sits down the chair collapses. Lenny and Carl get on instead, and are instantly propelled into the stratosphere (where the Up house is seen in the distance).
    • In a first-season episode, a single balloon is enough to lift Maggie about six inches off the floor.
    • At the end of "Million Dollar Abie", Abe and Lisa are floating on balloon-held lawn chairs to avoid the bulls running rampant through Springfield below. Unfortunately, some bulls come along with floating chairs of their own.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Rock Bottom", a fish that SpongeBob thought was going to attack him returns his balloon that he took earlier and inflates it, letting SpongeBob fly back home.
    • When SpongeBob and Bubble Buddy were cornered by an angry mob, SpongeBob inflates Bubble Buddy to escape; they don't get far.
    • In "The Sponge Who Could Fly", one of SpongeBob's attempts to fly involved tying some balloons to a lawnchair. When he removed the brick that he used as an anchor as a demonstration to Patrick, it floated away without him.
    • In "The Main Drain", SpongeBob and Patrick lifted Patrick's rock with balloons to find a legendary drain plug.
  • Wacky Races:
    • In The Great Cold Rush Race, Dastardly inflated an inflatable version of the Mean Machine from inside it to overtake the other cars into first place, but it backfired when Muttley tapped him on the back, inflating Dastardly.
    • In Whizzin' to Washington, Dastardly uses his breath to inflate a giant balloon hoping to send the other cars away by popping it. The balloon floats while Dastardly is inflating it, allowing the cars to pass.
  • American Dad!: In "Dirty Rotten Merlot Shame," Francine is trying to tell Stan that Roger kissed her while they were on a wine-tasting trip but Roger keeps finding ways of stopping her. He ties a hot air balloon's tow rope to Francine's foot, causing her to dangle upside down when it takes off.
  • In "Into the Hundred Acre Wood" from Doc McStuffins, this is the reason why Pooh is floating in the air, per usual of trying to float up to get honey from bees.
  • The Beatles episode "Strawberry Fields" ends with the group's limo departing skywards from the orphanage they visited—the car is festooned with helium-filled balloons.
    John: It's all in the mind, y'know!
  • Die Sendung mit der Maus: In a Maus spot, the little elephant (who is still extremely heavy) blows a bubblegum balloon and crosses a chasm.
  • In the Ready Jet Go! episode "Every Day Is Earth Day”, Sunspot is able to puff up like a balloon, and Jet flies away while holding on to him.

    Real Life 
  • A guy named Larry Walters did it, and there's a movie based on his story, called Danny Deckchair (the real dude was nicknamed Lawnchair Larry). Kind of counts as an inversion, actually; he only intended to lift himself and the titular lawnchair a hundred feet or so, and severely overestimated how many military-surplus weather balloons he'd need to accomplish this.
  • A Brazilian priest did this for fund-raising reasons. However, he lost control and was found dead weeks later, earning him a Darwin Award.
  • A Brazilian couple claimed their kid was inside a balloon that was floating around. However, once it landed, it was revealed the boy wasn't there and his parents were just pulling a scam.
  • A dirigible is basically a giant helium balloon (or hydrogen, which is even lighter, if you don't mind the slight explosion problem.) If it seems like these sometimes-colossal ships carry an absurdly disproportionate amount on board, relative to the tiny amount a party balloon or hot air balloon carries in proportion to their size, then look no further than the magic of the Square-Cube Law.
  • On October 15, 2009, in Fort Collins, Colorado, it seemed that a child climbed into an experimental helium filled weather balloon, which slipped its mooring and floated away, thus causing a huge media sensation. When the balloon landed near Denver International Airport, rescuers discovered that the kid was not inside, and soon after, an ominous photograph surfaced showing the payload basket apparently falling off the balloon. What really happened is that it was a hoax planned by the kid's father to publicize a Reality Show. Even before the hoax was revealed, there were a number of knowledgeable people pointing out that the craft in question wasn't large enough to carry the child.
  • In May 2010 a man named Jonathan Trappe crossed the English Channel in this manner.
  • About eight party balloons, as you might find at a restaurant if it is someone's birthday, are sufficient to float a small teddy bear that somebody might get on their birthday. Turns out ceiling fans will NOT cut up everything they touch.
  • When an infant at the 'gravity works' stage of development (throws everything on the ground) is handed a helium balloon, they will try and throw it to the ground. Hilarity Ensues.
  • This was the idea behind the Fulton Skyhook used by the US Air Force and the CIA. A man on the ground would inflate a balloon, which would lift him up into the air. Then a passing airplane or helicopter would snag the balloon and reel him in.
  • In 1870, a duel took place between a French and Prussian balloon.


Video Example(s):


Balloon Travel

When the anglerfish who had chased after SpongeBob's balloon earlier brings it back, SpongeBob tries to explain to him that he has a bigger problem than that as he can't get home, while anglerfish fills the balloon with air. It's only when SpongeBob rises off the ground does he learn anglerfish was helping him to float back home. When SpongeBob offers his gratitude to him in with a Rock Bottomite accent, he finds the anglerfish can speak just fine.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (22 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThisIsNoTimeForKnitting

Media sources: