Mr. J Entertainment Services
Keys To a great birthday party

Plan ahead...

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Tips to make your party a great event...

How to choose a date & time ~
A. Before you pick a date and time there are a couple of things you need to consider. Check you school calandar and make sure that there is not a concert or other special event taking place the same time your planning your party. Make sure to also check the local churches for their schedules. Many churches plan programs that may put a real crimp in your party plans.
b. Before you set the time decide if you want to serve a meal or not. If you want to serve a lunch plan your party between 11- 2. If you want to serve dinner the most popular times are 3- 6. Avoid these times if you do not want to serve a meal as people will expect it otherwise. Avoiding these times will allow you just to serve light snacks and greatly reduce your cost as well as the work involved.
How long should the party last? ~   
A typical party will last from 2-4 hours. You'll need to decide if your going to do games or hire professional entertainment.  If your hiring entertainment you can have a longer party. usually it will take about 1 hour to eat and open the presents. Also if your having entertainment don't have it start until at least 1/2 hour after the party starts. If you there will be all kinds of interuptions when guest arrive late ~ ( and they will ). Starting the entertainment 1/2 hour after the party starts will eliminate most of these problems.
Should I have my party at home or somewhere else? ~
Several factors play into this. The first is, how much room do you have? Only you know your home so you have to think about where you'll put all those excited children. In the Summer you can go outside but what if it rains?. A party at your home requires you to think of these factors. Do you have a basement or spare room that can accomidate 10 ~ 20children? If the answer is no, you could consider having your party at a place like Chuck E. Cheese or at one of the popular fast food chain places. Also many hotels have meeting rooms that can be a good place to have a larger party. The major drawback to this is the fact that many parents would rather not have to travel very far for events like this. So you'll have to make sure everything is centrally located.
Theme parties ~
Theme parties are a great way to get your guest excited about the party. The best way to pick this theme is to plan it around what your child enjoys the most. For example if your child loves star wars then have a star wars themed party. Don't plan a theme that only you enjoy or you run the risk of boring your child and believe me if your child's bored it will spread like wild fire to the other children. Once you find a theme make sure to plan all the party favors and decorations around this theme. The children will love it and really enjoy you efforts. Below are some themes that are really popular. We've also included some ideas for entertainment that will go really well with these themes.
1. A Mickey Mouse Party -  Magician
2. Western Party - Party Ponies
3. Dragon Theme - A dargon balloon Bounce.
4. Pirates - Have a treasure hunt
5. Buffalo Bills - Hire a Face painter that can reproduce the team symbols.
6. Ballerina's - Dress up your guest like ballerina's and have a recital " play some classical music and let them dance"  ~ take digital pictures and email them to your guest later.
7. Summer fun party - use fun outdoor games such as hula hoop contest, water ballon toss etc.
8. Princess - each child can come in dressy cloths. treatt theme like royalty during the party. Serve theme drinks in plastic old fashioned tea cups. serve them cup cakes on plastic fancy looking plates " purchase from toy section in places like Wal-Mart". In short treat them like like little ladies.
9. Dress Up Party - Simply have a lot of dress up clothes in a trunk and let them go wild coming up with their own outfits. Include some plastic jewlery. As a finale let them put on a fashion show. make sure to take lots of pictures. If you have a digital camera email theme to your guest at a later time. Your child's party will be remembered for a long time to come.
10. Butterflies - make each child a set of butterfly wings out of paper ~ allow them to decorate them themselves. This will keep them happily busy for a long time.
11. Pony Party - This is hugely popular with girls. have a hoby horse relay " you can usually find inewxpensive ones at many of the "dollar staores"
have them wear bandanas. make sure to have a horse pinate. As a finale have party ponies come to your house.
12. Hawaian party - This can be and indoor or outdoor party. have everybody come in their bathing suits and pass out laia. play limbo and serve tropical type foods. They'll have a blast.
Invitations - Send out your invitaions 9-14 days prior to the party. People need enough time to plan out all the details of just how to get their child to the party. People are very busy these days so make sure you give them plenty of time. Just make sure not to give them the invitations to soon or they will forget all about it... To save time on filling out all those invitations, type them up on a computer word processor and then cut them out and past them on the invitations then all you have to fill in is the persons name.
Hiring Entertainment For Your Party ~
You've made the decision to hire a professional entertainer. How do you make sure you get the best one for the money. The first thing you need to decide is how much money you want to spend. You can expect to pay between $90 and $225 for a pro ( a pro is defined as somebody who really knows how to entertain children ) ~ We'll talk about how to know this below. If you come across a performer who's charging less that $90, it's best to stay away. A true professional will not work for this price. It's important to remeber your not paying for a 45 minute magic show. Your paying for a magic show put on by a seasoned professional for 45 minutes. This is critical to remember if you want a great show. It's the difference between hoping they show will end soon or wishing the show would last longer ~ when you have a room full of excited children this makes all the difference in the world. below is a list of questions you should ask potential performers for your childs party.
1. How long have you been a performer? ~ this will tell you their experience level. You don't want a performer who's just trying this out for the first time. The number of years your looking for is 10 or more. You really want somebody who's learned from their years of experience.
2. How many shows do you do a year? ~ This is critical, if they say "2 or 3" ~ tell them thanks anyway. Like anything else in life we learn by doing, "practice makes perfect". Your looking for somebody who performs a bare minimum of 50 times a year. This way atleast you know that they're performing every weekend or so. idealy you looking for somebody who performs  200 or more shows a year.
Look for a full time performer ~ this means that this person has devoted all their efforts to becoming the very best they can be. They probably invest in conferences and workshops to make their skills even better. If you can find a full timer your chances of a great program are greatly increased.  
What kind of shows do you perform ~ you want to know if they perform regularly for children or are they primarily an adult performer. You don't want to hire a adult performer who's just looking to pick up extra cash by doing some birthday parties. Children are a whole lot different than adults. make sure you're hiring a children's performer.
3. How long does the show last? ~ the average is 45 minutes. This is very important to make sure that your getting the time covered you need. While the show is going on it's a great time to set the table and get the cake ready. If you don't ask this question you run the risk of getting surprised and running around trying to recover.
4. What's included with the show? ~ For example does the show include time for pictures. Pictures are a huge part of the birthday party expereince. Some performers charge extra for pictures. make sure you can get atleast a couple of good shots with the perfomer and the special birthday child. make sure it's agreed that taking video is ok. You'd be surprised at how many performers have a problem with this.
5. Get everything in writting ~ make sure that the performer sends you some kind of contract. Don't send any kind of deposit unless you get it all in writting. The performer should do this automatically. If they don't this is a sign your not dealing with a professional so beware!. Make sure all the info is on the contract that you discussed over the phone or email. The time, date, financial and all that's included should be on there also as well as how long the program will last. Most performers are very honest but it's just good business to make sure everybody is on the same page.
6. What do you need from me? ~ Some performers may need a table or paper plate or whatever. Find this out ahead of time so you wont be running around trying to find all this stuff at the last minute. It's hard enough just greeting the guest and seeing that everything is running smoothly. A professional will generally include all this in the contract they sent you ahead of time. For your own sanity the day of the party make sure you ask them yourself.
7. Do you have any refrences? ~ This is the most critical question you can ask. After all anybody can rant and rave a bout how great they are over the phone but can they back it up with others that say the same thing... They should have a web site that features what others have said about them. Do not hire anybody who can't prove that they are generally liked by the people they've performed for. You're looking for "glowing" reports of how much the children loved the performer.  Protect yourself and make sure you're getting a top notch performer that's proved themselves by satisfing a lot of audiences...
The questions listed above will "weed out" the pros from the ones you need to avoid. You want your child's birthday party to be fun and memorable. Just make sure it's memorable from a good stand point. Following the steps above will help make sure this is the case.
Now that you know how to select a performer, Just what kind of performers are available for birthday parties? Below you'll find a list of what's typically available ~ this can vary as new things are poping up all the time. So keep yourself aware by checking out the phone books as well as publications like The Western New York Family Magazine.  These are great sources because performers must pay to be in these so you know atleast they are investing in themselves. Other graet palces to find  good quality performers is by contacting your local pta and day care centers. This way you can check with others who have seen them perform and get their perspective on the performer in question...
1. Magician ~ great for ages 5 to 11
2. Clown ~ ages 2-9
3. Story Teller ~ ages 5-10
4. Puppet Show ~ 2-10
5. Face Painter ~ All Ages
6. Balloon Aniamls ~ ages 2 and up
7. Balloon Bounces ~ ages 5 - 10
8. Party Ponies ~ 3-10
9. Caricature Artist ~ ages 3-10
This is not an exhaustive list but it gives you a good idea of what's available as far as performers who will come to your location and provide entertainment.
Where do I get all the decorations and party favors? ~
You could order them from some place on the internet. This is easy because you don't have to leave your home and all trhe stuff comes to your door. However problems do come from this choice. First of all catalogs and online stores don't allow you the opportunity to see the and touch the mechandise personally. You have to rely on a picture and a written description. Some merchandise is just not suitable for all ages. How do you know if the mechandise will last at all?. It's pretty embarassing when the party favors break as soon as your guest touch them. As you know many items look great until you see them up close and find out that they look pretty cheap. For these reasons you should shop locally at a place where you can see and touch the items for yourself before the children do. at the end of this report you'll see a list of local stores that carry these types of things you can buy in larger supplies and save money. Some people worry about the price of gas but just wait until you see what some of these sites want for S&H. Your better off making the trip and getting what you really want from a local business where you can return defective or un-wanted mechandise.
Well we've covered a lot of ground here haven't we?. Planning a great birthday party requires some serious thought.  It's not difficult but if you consider the things we've talked about in this report it will greatly increase your odds of having the best party ever.  If you have any other questions I have not addressed call us at (716) 592-6351 or email us at ~  ~  Remember My company personally offers all the the services listed below.  We'd love to be a part of your next event.
  • Magic Shows & Workshops
  • Clowning Shows & Workshops
  • Story Telling Shows & also available for conference workshops
  • Puppetry Show & Workshops
  • Face Painting ~ Single events like parties and workshops
  • Balloon Animals ~ single events like parties and workshops
  • Imagination Theater ~ see menu of services page for description.
Have a Great Event .....

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