While it might not seem an enormous endeavour, sometimes providing something for your guests to do, especially children, can be a challenge. That’s where hiring a professional might come in handy, someone to take some of the work off of your shoulders and keep your guests occupied during the festivities.
To start with, you will need to decide on a theme because this will often inform your decision on entertainment. Having a backyard party – a bouncy castle might be in order? Throwing a princess theme party, a professional Princess will fit the bill? Doing an animal or zoo theme, a face painter or petting zoo would be suitable entertainment?
- Consider the age of your party goers. Babies and tots might not respond well to clowns or a life-sized mascot. It might be best to find an activity that’s more age appropriate. A musical entertainer or puppeteer might be more suitable for children under three. If you’re unsure, ask the entertainer their ideal age range.
- Decide if your party will be indoors or out. Some entertainers like clowns and illusionists work best inside, while carnival attractions like popcorn and cotton candy machines work best outside. Balloonists and face painters, meanwhile, will work well both in and out of doors. Just make sure to provide ample shade. Also plan a rain day alternative, just in case.
- One of the best places to search out entertainment is on the internet. Keep these things in mind when looking: How long have they been in business? Is their website in order? Do they offer pictures or a portfolio of their work and testimonials from past clients? Do they have a favourable rating on social media? These will provide good clues into how professional the entertainer is. Also, feel free to ask for references.
- Ask if the entertainer carries their own insurance. While an independent performer might not, a reputable business should have this.
- Get a quote ahead of time so that there are no unexpected surprises. Get payment terms from your entertainer; is there a deposit required and what types of payment will they accept?
- Make sure to discuss with entertainer the time they will arrive, what, if anything they will need you to provide. For instance, a face painter will usually require a table and two chairs, plus access to water, a magician will likely need a table and some quiet time before hand to set up.
- In most situations, tipping is optional, although most entertainers will always appreciate it.
Need some help coming up with ideas for your child’s next birthday party? Happy Faces Party has curated our top 20 kids’ birthday party themes to get you started. You don’t have to break the budget; you’ll find many do-it-yourself theme ideas on Pinterest for décor, food, party games and more or check out the party section of your local $ store. Here are some helpful suggestions:
- Disney Princesses – Have all of your guests dress as their favourite Disney princess. Offer up tiaras to your little guests (or make it a craft!), play their favourite Disney theme songs (like Frozen or Beauty and the Beast) and have a face painting station complete with glitter and gems or Sparkle tattoos.
- Pirate / Jake the Pirate – Include a treasure hunt into your theme party using a pirate map that includes a “buried” treasure. Keep the them going with loot bags filled with pirate patches and telescope and have a balloon twister on hand to make swords.
- Super Heroes – With Marvel being more popular than ever, Batman, Superman, Spiderman and Captain America are always a hit with the kids. Face painting works in great with this theme.
- Star Wars / space – there’s no shortage of Star Wars party theme ideas. Complement your party with light saber balloons.
- Ninjas / Mutant Ninja Turtles – Decorate with the room with colourful patio lanterns and balloons (or use a red/black Ninja color theme), serve snacks like candy “Sushi” and fortune cookies in Chinese take-out containers with chop-sticks, and offer Ninja bandanas, toy nunchucks and ninja daggers in their loot bags.
- Summer Fun – Why not turn your backyard into an ultimate fun zone. Include an inflatable like a bouncy castle and a water feature like an outdoor sprinkler or slip and slide. Pack loot bags with sidewalk chalk, skipping rope and bubbles for the ultimate in outdoor fun.
- Dora/Diego – As your guests arrive, offer each a backpack full of useful items and a map of a planned adventure. Complete the theme with a volcano birthday cake.
- Disney’s Airplane / Cars – Complete theme with easy to find décor items and loot bags.
- Thomas the Tank Engine / Trains – Calling all engineers. Decorate your little one’s party with easy to find décor: plates and cups, banners and balloons. Offer each child an engineer hat, red bandana and train whistle and have an adult dress up like Mr. Conductor. All aboard!
- Dinosaur / Jurassic Park – Using a sand table (or sandbox if outdoors), have a dinosaur dig with plastic shovels and tools, coloured play sand and assorted plastic dinosaurs and bones.
- Yo Gabba Gabba – Have the kids dress as their favourite character. In the theme, have a dance party with a DJ, play statues and offer up prizes.
- Spongebob Squarepants – Decorate the party like Bikini Bottom with a Tiki theme decor. Serve crabby patties and drinks in plastic coconut glasses with paper umbrellas along wit Patrick and Spongebob cupcakes.
- Video game theme (Super Mario Bros/Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong) – Rent and arcade game or host your party at a kid friendly arcade. Create food and décor around the theme: Pac Man Birthday cake, game console ice cream sandwiches or cookies and Creeper fruit punch.
- Scavenger Hunt / Easter egg hunt – All kids love a hunt inside or out! Make clues to keep the game challenging and offer up an ultimate “prize” that everyone can share.
- Jungle/Zoo/Madagascar – There are so many options for décor including party hats, banners, plates and cups and table cloths (or create your own!). Offer a balloon twister to create fun, keepsake animals or hire a professional face painter to paint lively monkeys, tigers or giraffes.
- Spa/glam – Offer your junior guests a spa feel by including sparkle tattoos and a “mani/pedi” nail painting station.
- Hockey/sports – there are tonnes of NHL ideas (or other sport leagues for that matter) that can inspire your theme party: from hockey pennants and Stanley Cup centre-piece decor, to hockey puck cup cakes or hockey jersey cookies or an ice rink theme cake, you’re sure to create a memorable party for your little league player.
- Carnival/Circus – For the biggest impact and for a memorable party for kids and adults alike, set up a “big top” tent, rent a real popcorn or cotton candy machine, and serve hotdog or corn dogs and corn on the cob. Have a balloon twister on hand for added entertainment.
- Spy/Detective – Create a detective mystery and have all of the kids involved in solving the clues. Offer the kids walkie-talkies and other toy spy gadgets.
- Fairy – Have your little guests come dressed as fairies or have on hand fairy wings, tutus and sparkly wands for quick dress-up. Set a delightful table for a fairy tea party with little sandwiches, cupcakes and pink punch. Decorate the table with flowers, butterflies and fairy dust.