Do you know who you are hiring to perform at your party? Here are some questions to ask before you book an entertainer for your child’s birthday party.
What age group is most appropriate for your presentation?
Entertainment designed for the preschool set is likely to make a 4th grader gag. Conversely, interactive activities designed with the motor skills and capabilities of a 4th grader in mind will frustrate both young children and the performer (and likely the other supervising adults). If you are dealing with a mixed age group, ask how the entertainer will accommodate all of them. Ask what takes place during the show.
How long is the show/presentation?
Most performances will be between 30 minutes and 1 hour. Several factors will help you determine the right amount of time for the performance. At a birthday party, there may be games, food, or other activities to engage children during a set amount of time. The other critical factor is age. While some 2-year olds will sit for an hour and some 10-year olds will only sit for 10 minutes, the younger the age, the shorter the presentation.
How many children can you accommodate?
Some kinds of entertainment are sensitive to the number of children in attendance. Things like face painting and balloon twisting require a certain amount of time to create a work of art for each child. Entertainment like a “stage” performance from a magician or storyteller will less likely be sensitive to group size.
What are your equipment and space requirements?
You want to determine if the entertainer will require a sound system, tables and chairs, access to electric, or special equipment of any kind from you. Find out if the performance can be in a living room, outside, or with a low ceiling if your space is limited. Ask about flexibility in changing location in the event of rain or other unforeseen circumstances.
How long do you need to set up for the show?
If the “stage” space is shared, either by other activities or another performance, you will need to determine how much time is required to both set up and break down the space and schedule the entertainment/activities accordingly.
What is the cost for the performance?
Ask if the cost is per performance or per person and if it includes travel time. If you are booking through an agent, you will likely pay the agent and the performer. Book the show directly with a performer whenever possible. As with lots of other things, you get what you pay for. The bargain basement face painter or costumed character may sound good when you book, but…
Do you have references?
You are entrusting this person or group with both your entertainment and the children. Ask for references, especially from venues and people that have hired them back. Check out their website and Facebook pages or videos of the performance.
Is it safe?
You can’t go wrong with a safety first mentality. Ask if the activity is safe and especially if it is safe for the age group at the party. Are there any precautions that you can take to make sure everyone is injury-free?
Whenever possible, speak directly with the performer. It will give you the best idea if the person is friendly and competent. Email is easier, but your interaction on the phone will reveal a lot about who you are inviting to your party.
Do you have anything else you ask or should have asked the party entertainment?
This is an excerpt from The Almost Perfect Birthday Party: A sanity-preserving guide to planning a party your child will love. Do you want more? Click this link to learn all you need to know about how to plan a great birthday party!