Tag Archives: Berkshire

There’s Only One Mister Tall!

Mister Tall Late Booking

I’m writing this one week into November and at the time of writing, there are many people enquiring for Christmas Magic Shows and Christmas Children’s Parties. Unfortunately, a lot of them are finding that I am not available on their dates. They have left it too late.

So I thought I’d write with a possible answer to the question –

When Do I Book a Children’s Entertainer?

Can I book the day before my party?

Unfortunately, people sometimes get let down at the last minute by the entertainer they have booked, and they then ring around looking for somebody to help them out. If you only have a day’s notice, you will be very lucky to find somebody good available. So it could be a case of just getting someone to bale you out. One thing to consider when trying to book for the next day, is that many Children’s Entertainers are ‘suspicious’ of such a late booking. Therefore it is important that you can prove you are genuine in your enquiry.

By the way, to reduce the chances of being let down, ALWAYS choose an Entertainer who will provide written confirmation of the booking and who has a good reputation.

Can I book one or two weeks before my party?

Depending on the time of year and how flexible you can be with your event’s timing, you might be able to book the Children’s Entertainer you want for your party. Throughout the year, there are many busy periods. Obviously Christmas and Halloween are busy, but sometimes there is no obvious explanation for it. If you only have a fixed time for your party, the entertainer you want may already be booked, so you would need to change your time to get them.

If you aren’t looking for anyone in particular, then contact an agency and they might have a Children’s Entertainer available.

How about a month before, will that be okay?

Again it does depend on the time of year. There are some weekends in December that will be in high demand and on these weekends, I am booked up months in advance. If you are booking one month before your Children’s Party, try to be flexible with your times. Be prepared for either a morning or afternoon slot, or switching to a different day. Then you are likely to be able to book the Children’s Entertainer you want.

Again, if you don’t mind who you have, then an agency will get you someone.

So really, you’re saying I should book at least six weeks before?

Basically Yes. The thing is, there is only one Mister Tall. When you think that there are just two, two hour party slots (11.00 to 1.00 and 3.00 to 5.00) per day at a weekend, you can see why it is easy for me to be booked up early. So what I’m suggesting is that if you really do want me, or another specific children’s entertainer, at the time you prefer, you should book as soon as possible. If you leave it – it might be too late. For instance, there are some Christmas Party Organisers, who book me for the following year, immediately after their party. So really what I’m saying is…

Don’t Delay! Book Today!

Doing It Yourself?

SOME TIPS FOR ORGANISING YOUR OWN CHILDREN’S BIRTHDAY PARTY

 Mister Tall DIY Party

Hopefully I’m not talking myself out of a job, but here is some advice about running your own Children’s Birthday Party

How long should the party be?

Plan for your children’s party to be a maximum of two hours. Some parents do have three hour parties. This is a very long time for children, as they can find it very tiring. Whatever you decide, I recommend you split your time in to short segments, with a different activity in each segment. This will keep the children occupied and will hold their attention. The food time will be one of these segments, but here’s a thing – If you plan for the children to take 30 minutes to eat; they will take 10! And if you plan for them to take 10 minutes, yes, you guessed it, they’ll take 30!!!

How much party food do I need?

You know how it is when you are preparing for your party, you are worried that there won’t be enough food. So you make lots of sandwiches, get plenty of nibbles and tons of sweet things. Then at the end of the party you have lots of sandwiches, plenty of nibbles and tons of sweet things left over! I have found that the best way to avoid having lots of leftover food is to make up a food package for each child. You can buy a party box or colourful food bag for each guest and fill it with the party snacks. Have a few of these packs as spare, just in case extra guests arrive, but you should find you won’t have a mountain of leftovers.

How many children shall I invite?

Generally speaking, children like to invite their class mates to their party. So that could be thirty children. Therefore if you are holding a party for two children, you could have up to sixty kids! That is a lot of noise! The thing is, you might invite that many and prepare to feed that many, but only have half as many turn up on the day. So…

How can I be sure of how many children will arrive?

Hmmm, well, who knows?!? There can be a problem with parents actually replying to invites. I’ll be honest I have been at parties where the Birthday children’s parents really didn’t know how many children were going to turn up. Here are a couple of ways that you might get some clues…

To make sure not so many children are away, avoid holding your party during school holidays – perhaps arrange it for the last weekend before the end of term, or the first weekend after the start of term.

Try to get the invited children’s parents’ mobile numbers – then text them to ask if they are coming. And maybe send a reminder a few days before.

Facebook – as above, send them a message, so they give to you an answer.

Finally, be prepared for extras! It’s not uncommon for a sibling or two to be brought along to the party as well.

Latecomers and Early Birds

Whatever time you decide to start your party, there will always be someone who arrives early and someone who arrives late. It’s just one of those things. If the parents stay, provide some seating for them and maybe some beverages. If they drop and run, do make sure that you have a contact number for them and remind them what time the party finishes.

What games shall I do?

There are loads of traditional games that you can do. Children like musical bumps and statues, but they don’t like being eliminated. Also if you have a lot of children at your party and you eliminate most of them, you’ll have a hoard of restless children milling around. So think of ways of playing games where everyone stays in. Remember, children do like to run around and they also like to play ‘Boys V Girls’ games.

This might be a helpful tip – Be sure to have one point of focus for the children, a loud voice or amplified voice. And have something to play music loud enough.

Sometimes parents play a game (like Pass The Parcel) with the aim of giving every child a small prize. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this. I have seen the last children to get their prize become upset because they are last and have also seen children get forgotten.

Balloons

Nearly every Children’s Birthday party has balloons. So I thought I’d give them a little mention. They are great to use on a gate post or front door to show where the party is. They are great decorations on walls or in some form of sculpture. They also make great footballs, rugby balls and weapons. I’m not saying that as a suggestion. It is a fact and if you have some balloons on the floor, or within reach, they will be used in that way. Just be prepared.

Also if you have a special helium balloon, which is for the Birthday Child, keep it safely out of reach. Keep it special and then it can be enjoyed for long after the party.

Scared by the whole idea?

The idea of having to entertain a couple of dozen partied up children for one hundred and twenty minutes might fill you with dread. Well it can be done and you will survive. But if you really are scared and don’t fancy the challenge and live in Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey, Berkshire, Wiltshire or Dorset, book me and I’ll run your whole party for you.

You won’t need to worry, it will be less stressful and you might even enjoy it!

A Halloween Music Top Ten?

Hampshire Halloween Magician, Count Von Tall Halloween Magic

It’s nearly Halloween! You can tell because the shops are full of Scary Fancy Dress Costumes and big bags of sweets.

So I thought I would share with you, my top ten Halloween songs. Now before I reveal them, I’m not saying that these are the best Halloween songs, but they are the ones I would play at Children’s Halloween Parties. So you won’t see any Alice Cooper, Iron Maiden or Slipknot tracks. (But to be honest I wouldn’t mind the opportunity to play AC/DC’s Highway To Hell.)

I’m going to put them in reverse order and offer a brief explanation about why I think they’re good.

No 10 – Witch Doctor by either The Cartoons or Alvin & The Chipmunks.

Any song that has “Ooh Eeh Ooh Ah Ah Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang” in it has to be worth a mention. It’s not a spooky song and so is only included in my Halloween list because of the word Witch. It’s got a good beat to it, so children can dance and jump around.

No 9 – The Addams Family Theme Song

Most kids probably haven’t actually heard of The Addams Family, so it’s a grown-up’s duty to educate them! It’s a cool song, funny lyrics and you can practise clicking your fingers.

No 8 – The Munsters Theme Song

Really it’s the same as Number 9, who are the Munsters???? But it is a groovy sixties tune, full of surf guitar and stuff. It’s perfect to use as background music while the little ones are playing a spooky game.

No 7 – Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell

Yes, it’s from the Eighties and it’s got Michael Jackson going ‘Hey hey’ in the background. But it’s easy to dance to and fast enough to keep the kids going. One thing about these songs is that they are all fairly old, so Halloween is a great time to blow the cobwebs off of them.

No 6 – Amityville by Lovebug Starski

Notice I’ve said by Lovebug Starski, NOT Eminem. That’s a completely different song and might raise a few eyebrows if you played it for children. This has wailing, howling, monsters and funny lyrics and can be danced to. It is quite a long song, so you might want to cut it short.

 No 5 – She Wolf by Shakira

It’s got the word ‘Wolf’. It has howling. And you can sing along to the chorus. Surely it’s right for Halloween. You can also do a sort of wolf dance to it. I won’t show you, you can do your own thing!

No 4 – Monster Mash by Bobby Boris Pickett & The Crypt Kickers

This came out in 1962!!! It’s obviously a Halloween anthem. It’s always going to be played. I’ve put it quite high in my top ten, but I did ‘Um and Ah’ about it. Why? Well it is very slow, so it’s not a great song to get the kids dancing.

No 3 – Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr

When the new Ghostbuster film comes out, they’ll probably have a different theme, but for now, children are familiar with this song. They know it enough to enjoy shouting “Ghostbusters!” at the right time and do dance along to it.

No 2 – Monster by The Automatic

This is bouncy, so all the children will be jumping up and down. And they’re definitely going to be asking “What’s That Coming Over The Hill? Is It A Monster?”

So here it is my number one Halloween song…

No 1 – Let It Go by Idina Menzel

Obviously this is the most scariest song ever! Oh alright, here’s the real number one…

No 1 – Thriller by Michael Jackson

Well that’s no surprise is it? But it is simply the best Halloween song ever. As soon as the Creaking door opens and the footsteps start everyone knows the song. You can get the children to do zombie dancing and to sing the chorus. You might even see some of the kids doing Michael Jackson moves.

So that’s my Top Ten Halloween Tunes. In case you’re wondering, Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show was at number eleven.

So as the end of October approaches, my Halloween character – Count Von Tall will be out of his coffin and making children and families laugh around the South Coast.

Fangs for reading!

Finding The Right Entertainer For You

Choose

 

Booking a Children’s Entertainer can cost a lot of money. So how can you be sure that you are spending yours on the right one? By the end of this blog you will know How To Choose The Most Suitable Children’s Entertainer For Your Event. But before you skip to the last bit, read about the ways you could be caught out.

A few years ago, there was only one source of reference for finding a Clown, Magician or Party Entertainer. It was the Yellow Pages. This directory was The Place to look – and it wasn’t easy to advertise in it. You could get a free line, but nobody would see you or you could pay for an advert. This was expensive, a small box would cost hundreds of pounds. This cost deterred ‘fly by night’ Entertainers. Only committed Entertainers would commit to an advert. In fact, you weren’t considered a ‘real’ Entertainer unless you had an advert in the Yellow Pages.

These days it is not only very easy to become a Children’s Entertainer, it is incredibly easy to set up a free, attractive website and give a false impression of professionalism. So how can you see through the pretence and avoid being stung?

“A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS”

When you look at an Entertainer’s website, Can You See Any Photographs? There is a trend for Kids’ Entertainers to use cartoons or caricatures in their promotional material. This is fine, but quite often the image looks nothing like the real thing. If you can’t see any photographs of the Entertainer – Ask yourself why? Would you buy a mobile phone from looking at a cartoon? Probably not, so make sure you have seen what the Entertainer really looks like.

“OH, YOU LOOK OLDER IN REAL LIFE!”

When you see a photograph, How Old Is It? One disadvantage of websites is that it can be difficult to update the images. It is possible that the photograph is many years old and the Entertainer has aged dramatically. There are many youthful looking Entertainers who look a lot greyer and wrinklier in reality! One way to see more recent photos would be to check their Facebook page. This might have more recent images and therefore you can be happier in making your decision. If there are no photographs there, then be really worried!

“HE WAS SO GOOD, I’M GOING TO NAME MY NEXT SIX CHILDREN AFTER HIM!”

So you like the look of a particular Children’s Entertainer and you’re now looking for something that will tell you about How Good They Are or How Other Parents Rated Them. You are likely to find lots of Claims, Quotes & Reviews on their Website, Facebook page or Netmums Advert.  But can you trust these? If a Shop or Product makes a claim, by law, it must be provable. However in the case of Entertainers, this isn’t so. Unfortunately, this means that there are some Entertainers who may make false claims. Therefore it is best to consider their claims and ask yourself if they are reasonable and possible. Then either dismiss them or ask for proof. The same could be said for any Celebrity Quotes. Ask for proof and if there is any hesitation in the Entertainer’s reply, then it probably didn’t happen. Finally in this section, I come to Reviews or Testimonials. With experience of internet shopping, it is common practise to check out the reviews of a product before buying. There will generally be a mix of good and bad, and from this you will be able to decide if the product is right for you. When looking at an Entertainer’s reviews, bear this in mind – There will rarely be any bad ones. Why? It is because if somebody posts a negative review on Facebook or Netmums, it can be removed. So when you look through the good reviews, be aware that like the Claims and the Quotes, these might be fictitious. Unfortunately, it is too easy for Entertainers to make up their own review. So to check if they are real, check the people who made the ‘review’, have they made other contributions to the review site? Do they have real history? Are they related to the Entertainer? And do the reviews all say the same thing? To sum up, I’m really saying that your decision shouldn’t be based on their reviews alone.

“WOW! PICTURES THAT MOVE!”

Is There A Video Of The Entertainer? This can be a good thing to help you choose. Look on Facebook or Youtube and see if there is any footage or show reel of the Entertainer in action. It doesn’t have to be their show, but it should be video and not just a montage of photos. This will let you see and hear them and will give you a better idea of whether you like them or not. Like I said before, if there are only cartoon images or no images of the Entertainer, be very worried!

“I SAW THIS ENTERTAINER AND…”

I’m nearly there, we’re very close to finding out the best way to choose an Entertainer and this is the second best way. Recommendation! If your friends or a member of your family has used an Entertainer, they will give you the most honest review ever. They will tell you if they were bad, boring or brilliant! They will also let you know whether or not you should also use them. Just a thing, if they do say that the Entertainer was ‘bad’, ask them why? This information might give you pointers to help you choose.

“DAH DAH DAH” (That’s supposed to be a trumpet fanfare!)

So here it is… The best way To Choose The Most Suitable Children’s Entertainer For Your Event. Book an Entertainer you have already seen. It sounds obvious really, but it is the best way. You will have seen their show, their appearance and their behaviour. You will know exactly what they look like and you will know if you like their act. And this is why it is the best way.

So to finish, what I’m saying is when you are booking someone for your Children’s Party, use as much care as you would when making a large purchase. And if you choose carefully and make the right choice, your child will be the happiest boy or girl in the world!

I hope you have found this blog helpful. If so, please share it with your friends on Facebook etc and feel free to add any comments.

Service!

tennis-ball--grass-court--Wimbledon-generic-jpg

The Wimbledon Tennis Championships are under way. So for the next two weeks, we’ll be hearing Umpires calling the word – SERVICE!

So LET me tell you about the SERVICE I offer.

My aim is to provide you with a service which has NO FAULTS!

I have a SET of procedures that I follow to help you have less stress and make your function ACE!

When you book, you will receive written confirmation of your booking.

On the day before your booking, I will text you to confirm everything is okay and I will prepare my show to MATCH the ages of the children.

Again to reduce your stress, I will arrive at your venue in good time and will be ready to start on time.

All the GAMES at my parties are non-elimination and are suitable for all ages.

All the music I play is vetted and checked for any inappropriate lyrics.

It’s true that the children might make a RAQUET, but everyone will LOVE the party!