Planning your children’s party!
Here are some simple suggestions to help plan your party and make it run more smoothly.  
Hopefully they will help you avoid some of the normal pitfalls.
Live Theater
You are trying to create live theater for your child.  This is more then just a simple party.  
These are memories that you will cherish for a lifetime.  To make the most of the experience
you should try to keep distractions to a minimum.  Plan to keep things like the stereo,
television and loud speaking relatives in another part of the party.  Party horns and squeakers
are only fun for about a minute before they become very annoying to the adults.  If you must
give them out do it at the end of the party or in the goody bags, that way you will be glad to
see them go.  (When buying horns, the cheapest ones are the best.  They break after the kids
blow them for a minute or two.)
If you decide to have entertainment at your party you will especially want to keep distractions
to a minimum.  (Why pay good money for entertainment and then not be able to hear and
enjoy it.)
Invitations
Your party invitations should include the date, day, time and place that guests should arrive,
the time that children should be picked up if they are dropped off and the time that activities
are planned for.  (For example, the food will be served at 12PM the entertainment will start at
12:30PM the party will be over at 2:30PM please be on time.)  With an invitation like this
people will be more inclined to be on time.
Invitations should be sent out after booking the location and entertainment.  Popular locations
and entertainers may not be available at the exact time that you want them, but may be within
an hour or two of that time.  If you send out invitations with exact times and haven’t locked in
your time with the location or entertainment you may end up with something less than you
were hoping for.
Entertainment
Hiring the right entertainment for your party can be one of the most important decisions you
can make.  If you choose to hire an entertainer from somewhere other then IYQ Entertainment
(this by the way is a bad idea), these are some things you should look for.
1.      How long have they been performing?  You want someone who has been performing long
enough to know what they are doing but not so long that they are too old to handle children.
Experience should run somewhere between 5 and 35 years.
2.      What do they do?    Is the activities that they do the ones that your guests want?  Magic,
balloons, face painting etc…
3.    Is this what they do for a living?  This is a good indication as to how good they are.  If
they just do this on the weekends then they may not be very professional.  Good entertainers
can usually make a decent living just performing.
4.      Vaule vs. Price.  Is what they are offering worth what they are charging?  Remember you
are buying the memories of you and your guests.  Will they give you the memories that you
want?  If the answer is yes, then it is worth the price.    
Booking
When booking entertainment or a location for your party call as early as possible. Everyone
and their mother wants their party at 3PM on Saturday afternoon.  To get the time you want
call as soon as you decide on a date for the event.  If you wait until the last minute to book
your party, try to be flexible with the time.  This is easy to do if you haven’t already sent out
invitations.
Location
Plan ahead when deciding where your party is going to be.  If the party is going to be in your
home and you are planning to have entertainment, you will need an area for the entertainer
and for the people watching the entertainment.  Things to watch out for are low ceilings, fragile
items that a child could knock over, even moving a coffee table.
Moving items out of the way is easy when your house is empty, but not when there are 20 kids
in the way.  If you are planning on having your party in a hall, book early!  Everybody wants
the same three hours that you do.
If you are having your party in some location other than your home there are things you
should plan to take along:
1.   A lighter or matches to light the birthday cake.  (Fewer people smoke these days so it
makes it hard to find someone to light the cake).
2.    Trash bags.
3. Extra memory card for your phone! This part used to remind people to bring extra film for
your camera.
Remember those?  You will always want more storage space.  I can’t tell you how
many times people d
on't have enough memory left for a picture of the child with the cake.  
These pictures are invaluable; as the child gets older these pictures help keep track of which
birthday was which.
4.   A button that says “I’m 7 Today”. These are cheap, they show up great in pictures and they
help the entertainer identify the birthday child in a sea of little faces to call them up as
assistants.    
5.    Name stickers for the other guests.  This helps you and the entertainer keep track of who is
who.  
     Theme
Having a theme for your party is very popular these days, especially with children’s parties.  
You can find party favors and decorations to match any theme that is popular with your child.  
Often the entertainment can be matched to that theme also.  Ask your entertainer at the time
of your booking.
Signs   
A sign on the door saying that the party is here and some balloons will help your guests and
your entertainment find your party much easier.  Addresses are hard to see from the street
especially if there is traffic.
Food
If you are planning to serve food, you should plan to feed your guests before your
entertainment is scheduled to arrive.  This is a good idea for several reasons:
1.   It keeps the kids busy until the entertainment arrives so that they are not destroying your
house.
2.   It cuts down on distractions during the show.
3.   If your entertainment is performing in the food service area, like your dinning room, the
food may be cold by the time the show is over.
4. Children are often encouraged to participate in the show and need their hands free.
Save the cake and ice cream and any other sweets until the end of the party.  For one thing it is
a lot less messy to pick up those sticky plates after the kids have left.  Also, the less time that
paper plates with frosting on them are in you house the less likely they are to wind up face
down on your carpet.   
Another reason to save sweets untill the end of your party is a wonderful thing called the
SUGAR RUSH.  You don’t want this kicking in until the kids are well on their way home.  You’
ll thank me later.
Gifts
If you are going to open presents at the party, save that for the very end, while someone else is
cutting the cake.  Once presents are opened, all the kids are going to want to play with them
and you will have pieces all over your house.  Let your child unwrap the gifts and see what they
are, but don’t let them open the package until after the party.  Have a pen and paper ready to
write down who gave your child what. Cards will tend to disappear with the flying wrapping
paper and makes it hard to keep track of who to thank for what.
I hope this has been of use to you in planning your party.  If you have any other questions feel
free to call me Keith Cobb at IYQ Entertainment (847) 228-0882.
Below I have added part of an article I wrote for a clown newspaper.  It is a recipe for a great
birthday party.  
Recipe For a Great Birthday Party
Start with 10-15 kids of various ages.
Sprinkle children into party with a light snack (no sugar added), for the first half hour to an hour
(depending on the consistency of parents).
Add one game or simple activity.
When children are well mixed add in one well-seasoned Entertainer (if entertainer is not well seasoned
it may be eaten by the children before the end of the party).
Add magic, juggling, games and general silliness for 30 to 45 minutes.
Top off with face painting, tattoos or balloon animals until entertainer looks finished.
Remove Entertainer with generous handfuls of bread, (the more bread the better).
Stir in large amounts of cake, candy, ice cream and sodas.
Top off with goody bags and serve children back to parents.
IMPORTANT <Serve kids back to parents before the sugar rush kicks
in or they may boil over>!