Birthday Parties Are Year Round Income
Birthday Parties - Party Planning
PARTIES ARE YEAR-ROUND INCOME
through October is always busy with company picnics, family reunions and
and December are busy with all of the holiday events.
Too many entertainers get lulled into the idea that January through May
are the "slow months".
Not true if you perform at birthday parties, because they are year-round.
Children don't stop having birthdays after Christmas.
Parents find that it is a wonderful time for a party, especially after
the holidays die down.
understand and agree that birthday parties are not for every entertainer.
We all have our different areas that we enjoy or excel in.
So, if you have already decided that birthdays are not for you, that is
if you have given it some thought only to discard the notion because you do not
know what they are all about, or you would not know what to do, or you are
afraid of them, read on.
Maybe what I say next will change your mind and you, too, can start
having fun with birthday parties.
realize that birthday parties are a way for friends to gather to celebrate
someone's birthday and they come to the party READY TO HAVE A GOOD TIME!
For the most part, entertaining them is quite easy, since they are all in
a good mood already.
You have a captive audience and, when you are through, they get to have
is a wonderful combination.
you are putting your birthday party package together, sit down and figure out
what you used to like at birthday parties.
Then, write down what you like to do as a children's entertainer.
Now, put the two together.
Remember, just like in a stage performance (or skit competition), you
must have a beginning, a middle and an end.
beginning is what you do as you arrive.
Greeting the children, focusing on the birthday child and his/her
"new" age, offering a birthday balloon hat, stickers for the kids, a
helium balloon, a song, setting up your props in a comedic way - any of the
above can be a good opening/beginning.
is the "middle".
What are you good at?
Magic, children's songs, puppetry, games, juggling, balloon animals,
storytelling, face painting...let your mind think of all the fun possibilities
relating to what you do.
In this section of the party, there is no "one right way"
because each of us can make our own skills work for a birthday party.
for your "ending" or exit, you can thank the birthday child for
letting you help celebrate their special day, give out hugs to those willing
(then brace yourself as they all come running!), hand out "hug"
coupons (with your name and phone number on them), sing a good-bye song or
quietly leave , once again utilizing your own style.
you have just created your birthday party (or maybe improved / enhanced your
Now that you know what you will do at the party, how do you get the
you are already out clowning in public, people already have your business card.
(Oh, did I forget to mention that business cards are ESSENTIAL?
Never be caught without a pocketful.)
It seems that, as soon as people find out you are a clown, you start to
get phone calls about birthday parties.
The calls will continue coming if you follow through with a quality
promise anything you cannot or will not deliver.
If your advertising says you do balloon animals, then you need to make
more than swords and wiener dogs.
If you call your act a "magic show", it needs to be more than
finger loops or a card trick.
of us needs to have a commitment to quality.
I have one goal that I follow in my clowning and that is:
"Every event, large or small, public or private, has the right to
have quality entertainment."
Every time you are out in the public's eye presenting professional,
family fun, more parents and event coordinators are opening up their eyes to
hiring you for their next event.
It is a wonderful way to advertise by actually showing them what you can
Most important, have fun!
PARTIES - Party Planning
a successful birthday party, the essential key ingredient lies in party planning
with the parent. Know the party and
what it is all about before you arrive. The
best way to accomplish this is to have a "booking information sheet"
for each event. When you are booking
the party and have the parent on the phone, you simply go right down the list on
the booking sheet, ask the questions and write down the answers.
That way, there are no surprises.
needed may vary from one entertainer to another, even from one party to another,
but there is basic information that is the same for everyone and every birthday.
Here is the list:
Parent(s) names (first and last)
Address - complete mailing address with zip code
Phone numbers - both day and evening
are self-explanatory. Always
remember to get daytime and evening phone numbers.
Date of event
double-check by stating the day AND date. Sometimes,
the parent wants the party on Saturday, but gives you Friday's date.
By stating both the day and date, you eliminate that as a possible
problem (a BIG problem if you show up on Friday instead of Saturday).
Time of event
time of the party should be listed both as when the party actually starts and
when you plan to arrive. For the
most part, you will be arriving shortly after the party guests arrive.
But there are instances when a special activity is planned before your
arrival and it helps if you know you are not the first on the agenda.
At a public park, it is best if the children are allowed free-play time
on the play equipment BEFORE you arrive, to get some energy worked off.
If it is a swimming party, it makes sense for the children to swim first
before you arrive to paint faces. At
a pizza parlor or fast food establishment, feeding the children first cuts down
on the interruptions to your show. It
is helpful for you to suggest these time arrangements as possibilities to the
parent in party planning. A lot of
parents are putting on this type of party for the first time and will appreciate
the party location at their home or somewhere else?
It will make a difference in your show and your agenda of planned
activities if the party is at a Discovery Zone or Gymboree.
At the local pizza parlor where your party may be only one of several in
the same party room, you will need to make adjustments in your party (i.e. there
may not be room to play your standard type of games, you may be severely limited
in how much room you have especially if you are standing in an aisle used
constantly by the waiters/waitresses, children from the other parties will also
want the balloon animals, etc.). Be
prepared to be flexible in these situations.
Play with the kids, cheer them on at the arcade games as you are
gathering them up for the show, recommend to the parents that everyone wear a
name tag so you know who belongs to your party, etc.
Birthday child's name and age
to ask if they go by a nickname. Is
their last name different than the parents'?
This is helpful information when, six months later, another family calls
you and says they saw you at Suzy Smith's party, but you have a different last
name on the party sheet. In this day
and age of extended families, it is a common occurrence for the last names to be
age of the child can also be different. Many
December birthdays choose to celebrate a "half" birthday in June or
July. Some families postpone a party
or celebrate early due to other obligations on their calendars or busy lives.
It is nice, at the party, to be able to say "TODAY is Joey's
birthday" or "Today, we are CELEBRATING Joey's birthday".
Names and ages of siblings of birthday child
you know who they are ahead of time, it is nice to acknowledge them at the party
when you are asking everyone's names. An
older brother or sister can become a helper and appreciates receiving some
Number of children expected and their age range
can be especially beneficial in planning your agenda for the party.
If the birthday child is younger and all of the guests are considerably
older, your activities / show needs to be planned accordingly.
A one year old's party is usually aimed at the older guests because they
are the ones who will understand and respond to what you are doing.
I always explain that to the parents of the one year old ahead of time
which eliminates any misunderstanding at the party.
Always let the parent know the basic scenario of your show / activities
planned so they aren't expecting one thing and you deliver something else.
Where they got your name from
this party a referral, from your phone ad or somewhere else?
This information can be helpful in a number of ways.
First you can look back at the party or parties they have already been at
to avoid duplication of activities. Second,
it enables you to recognize previous birthday children at the next party.
Third, it helps you with your marketing and promotional strategies for
the future (i.e. Is your phone book ad getting you results?
Are your advertising dollars being spent wisely?)
Directions to their house
directions from your area or, if you are traveling from one party to the next,
from where you will be coming from. Get
specific...ask for the name of the street you turn on, not just "take a
right turn after Safeway". Invest
in a Thomas Guide and replace it at least every two years.
Have one at home and one in the car.
Getting lost is usually the result of not getting good directions.
Arriving late at a party frazzled and frantic because you just spent 20
minutes going in the wrong direction is a bad way to start the birthday
celebration. Allow extra time to get
to the party, drive by the house and then park under a nice shade tree a few
blocks away to wait. This is a good
time to refresh your memory on siblings' names, whose party you have already
been at, jot down notes from your event you just finished or add to your clown
Fee you are charging
fee should be written on your booking sheet.
Even though I specify to parents that the fee should be in an envelope
and handed to me as I leave the party, I still get the occasional parent who
asks me on the porch "Now, how much do I owe you?"
If it is on the party sheet, you do not have to guess and possibly make a
mistake. Having this information on
your booking sheets will help at tax time, too.
the party, take a few minutes to jot down what you actually did, what
activities, what magic tricks were used, etc.
It helps in party planning future birthdays.
If you ever draw a blank on what to do at a different party, you can
always look back through previous party sheets and get ideas.
It is a great source of information to draw from and you will be glad you
kept track of it.
may seem like a lot at first, but it will soon become routine and easy to do.
It most certainly will make your party planning efforts worth it when
your parties are stress-free.
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