How to Have a Stress Free Successful Birthday Party
Very few people can say they have been to as many children’s birthday parties as I have. Every year my wife and I attend literally hundreds of birthday parties. Why is this? We are professional entertainers hired by parents to provide a magic show as part of the party festivities. After more than 17 years of parties, we have developed various shows which we guarantee to satisfy. We have noticed, however, the mistakes that well-intentioned stressed parents make when they planned the party. The following are just some of the things we have learned which can put you on track for a successful party for your child.
Imagine your child saying something like “that was the greatest party ever!” Imagine your child bragging about you, and the party you put on. Will it cost a fortune to have a successful party? It definitely will not.
Here are just some of the tips that are the key to your success:
- Involve your child in the planning as much as you can
- Determine how many children to invite (for toddlers: their age plus one, for older kids: figure twice the child’s age)
- Set a time limit: 1 ½ hours for toddlers, maximum of 3 hours for older kids
- Pick a theme: make sure the child is involved in the selection
- Games: Keep them happy. Have 2 games per hour of party (minus cake time)
- Have a backup plan in case of weather changes
Have a checklist:
- 3 to 4 weeks prior: create guest list, call entertainer to book, order supplies
- 2 to 3 weeks prior: send invitations, decide on activities & games, plan menu
- Week before party: schedule activities, order cake, make other foods & freeze
- 2 to 3 days before: buy remaining food, check batteries, get guest count
- 1 day before party: pickup or bake cake, check candles & matches, decorate
- Party day: prepare food, take plenty of pictures
Remember when planning games and activities, to make them age appropriate. It is also important to make certain you have enough prizes for everyone—for winners as well as losers. Children under age 1 do not require much, but children from age 3 to age 10 must be kept busy in order to be happy, and they thrive on interaction with each other. 11 to 13 year olds get bored quickly and are always concerned about their image. Age 14 and up are much easier to work with.
Party food must be kid friendly and age appropriate. Pizza, hot dogs, nachos, tacos, and hamburgers are always a safe bet. You can have a traditional birthday cake, but an alternative to this would be cupcakes, and the kids love them. Keep ice cream to the basics: vanilla and chocolate.
Party favors are an absolute necessity. Favors give you an opportunity for creativity too. Older kids (14 and older) do not really expect favors, but younger ones will miss them if they are not there. There are all kids of options, some of which are: individually wrapped cookies, candy, rings, pencils, and play dough. Age 10 and older like glow necklaces, light up rings, bracelets, and hats.
We have only touched on each of the party topics in this article. Our free party seminars go into greater detail on each subject above plus much more.
To summarize, put all your focus on the birthday child to make the day special. Your primary job is to make the party fun. Get help; do not try to do everything yourself. Make sure you involve the child in the planning stage. Always have a “plan B” or backup plan in case something goes wrong—like the weather. Keep safety in mind and above all, relax and have fun yourself.
Bio: Charlie Fass (Mister Illusion) is an award-winning professional magician, and has become an expert in children’s parties having been booked for hundreds of children’s parties. He also conducts free seminars for mom’s clubs on this subject where he distributes a free detailed 27 page party guide.