Blog

Please Choose Carefully

More Advice To Ensure You Get The Right Children’s Entertainer

In October 2015, I wrote about How To Find The Best Children’s Entertainer for your event. This latest blog is a sort of reminder or a Part Two.

I’ve titled it ‘Please Choose Carefully’ because I appreciate that you could be spending a lot of money. And if you ‘get stung’ by a disreputable entertainer, it could put you off all entertainers. Hopefully this short piece will stop that happening.

So first of all…

Are They Established?

Avoid Fly By Night Entertainers

If you were to ask Children’s Entertainers how they started, you might get some interesting replies. Some are the same as me, they did it for their children and then developed from there. Others have had a lifelong interest in Magic or Performance and this has become their path. But there are some who have started because they see it as a way to earn money.

When there are tough economic times, or when major employers make redundancies, some people look for a quick way to make money. To an outsider, a Children’s Entertainer’s job is easy and it is just what they are looking for. They buy a bright T-Shirt, some chef trousers, a couple of Magic Tricks and they call themselves an Entertainer. Now, of course, everyone has to start somewhere but these people build a nice glossy website and advertise that they can do your Child’s Birthday Party, but don’t have any experience or practice. They only gain the experience at your expense. In effect, you are paying for them to practise and sometimes with horrendous results.

Then there are the dabblers, the ones who are trying everything in an effort to get your money. One day it might be Character Parties, next it’s Discos, then a Bouncy Castle or two, then Catering, anything as long it attracts your attention. These types generally are changing their Business Name over and over. As one grand idea fails, they start something else up. Or, as soon as one business gets a bad reputation, they change the name to disguise the fact.

So when you are searching, look for some information about How They Started or How Long They Have Been Going For. An interesting thing to do is to Google their address and see if any different Business Names are listed.

You might be surprised!

Next…

What Do They Look Like?

Stay Away From Cartoon Entertainers

One of these pictures in an accurate representation of what I look like. Can you guess which one it is?

I mentioned this in the other blog, but it seems more and more entertainers are doing it so I’ll go on about it again.

When choosing the Children’s Entertainer or Magician for your Party, make sure that you see a recent photograph of them, maybe one that’s a couple of years old. If there are no photographs, or if there are only cartoons – Be Worried! The problem with the cartoons is that they generally do not look anything like the Entertainer. They are actually what the entertainer would like to think he or she looks like.

My (slightly controversial) view is that they only have the cartoons done, because they know that a recent photograph would put people off!

By the way, this photograph was taken in May of this year.

Finally…

Will You Get Who You Booked?

Don't be fobbed off

If you have searched and found the perfect Entertainer for your Party – That is Who You Should Have!

I’m sorry to say that there are some Entertainers who will take one booking and then drop it for a higher paid one. So instead of getting the chosen Magician, a substitute turns up. Sometimes, the first the booker knows about it is when the stranger walks in. In my business, this is something that all good Entertainers frown upon, but it doesn’t stop it happening.

So always get some form of confirmation that you are going to get the person you have booked. Every reputable Entertainer, or Magician will provide you with a document of confirmation. This might be an e-mail or paper contract. If you don’t get this, Be Worried.

So there you go, my second rant about Choosing The Right Entertainer For You is over. I truly do hope you get the right person, because, like I mentioned, one bad Entertainer ruins it for all the good ones.

Of course, while you are here on my website, I would like to mention that I’ve been established since 1998, only use photographs and always issue confirmation paperwork. So you might like to enquire 🙂

End of Season Celebrations

It’s The Party Season Finale

LEICESTER-large_trans++qVzuuqpFlyLIwiB6NTmJwfSVWeZ_vEN7c6bHu2jJnT8

The Football Season is coming to an end (And who’d have thought that Leicester would be Premier League Champions!)

The Cricket Season has just started (It snowed in the first week)

In Horse Racing, The Jump Season ended on April 23rd and the new Season started on April 24th.

But did you know that there is a Birthday Party Season?

It’s basically the same as the School Year, starting in September and finishing in August.

This means that if your child was born in September, their party will be the Curtain Raiser for the season. They will be the eldest in their class and all of their friends younger (some of them could be nearly a year younger).

And so it goes that if your child was born in August, theirs will be the Season Finale, with all of their classmates being older.

I use this ‘Season’ as a way of helping me plan for your Children’s Birthday Party. For instance if your son or daughter is 5 years old and their birthday is in October, most of the guests will be 4 year olds. But if their birthday is in June, most of the guests will already be 5.  So when I prepare my Magic Show for your party, I take this into account and use material that is going to work best for their age.

It’s just something I like to do to make your Child’s Birthday Party the best they’ve had!

Finding Your Birthday Party Hall

Some Tips To Help When Choosing Your Birthday Party Hall

Mister Tall In Party Hall

I thought I’d write about some things to look out for when choosing a hall for your Child’s Birthday Party. Some of these are quite important, some might be a bit picky and some are just simple tips. Hopefully I have written something that you wouldn’t have normally thought about and they help to make your Birthday Party a Success.

 Size of The Hall

First consider how many children you are inviting and then look for a hall which will hold them (and their parents) comfortably. If your hall is too small, it could be a big problem. If your hall is too big, it’s not such a problem, just look for a way to partition it into smaller sections. For example, put a row of chairs across the hall to create an area for the children to play in.

The Floor

Okay, this might be trivial but have a look at the floor to see if it’s safe for children to slide on (it’s not just a boy thing!). If it’s an old wooden floor, there could be splinters. If the floor is carpeted, be aware that drinks might be spilt on it. And if it’s a polished floor, it will be slippery if wet.

Facilities

Is the kitchen attached, with access or a serving hatch to the hall? Does it have any cooking equipment (if you need it)? Is there a fridge? And is the kitchen shared? I have been to venues where two halls are served by the same kitchen, which isn’t ideal.

Obviously Toilets are a necessity, just make sure that they are child friendly and easily accessible.

Distractions or Potential Dangers

Without being overzealous with the Health & Safety aspect, look around the hall for things that children could hurt themselves on. Look out for stacks of chairs or tables and be sure that children cannot climb on them. Children loves stages, they love to get up and dance about them. But sometimes stages are used for storage and they are quite high. It’s better to make the stage out of bounds.

Many halls are used as Pre-Schools or Playgroups and so their equipment will be there. These obviously aren’t dangerous, but they are a big distraction. See if they can be covered or kept out of sight.

The final distraction could be what’s going on outside. If there are large windows and a park or pitch outside, look for curtains. You don’t really want people looking in!

Is It Clean?

Obvious really!

Eleclickety!

When you look at the hall, find out where the power sockets are, check the light switches and make sure that the electricity is included. Okay, that sounds silly, but there are halls with coin meters.

Do look out for one of these…

Sound Limiter

These are Party Wreckers! They are called Sound Limiters and they have microphones, which measure the volume of sound in the hall. If the volume exceeds its pre-set limit – The power cuts out! Sometimes it can only be reset by the Caretaker. If the hall has one, try and find a different hall.

Accessibility

 Is there parking? I’ve mentioned this before here, so I won’t go on about it.

Is the hall upstairs and if so is there a lift? Don’t forget you’ll have a lot of stuff to bring in. Do you want to troop it up flights of stairs?

Are there any doors which will lock behind you? It’s better to find out before you get locked out!

And finally how do you get in to the hall? Does the Caretaker come along and unlock the hall? Or do you collect the key from their home? Or is the key under a brick, by the second flowerpot, next to the concrete frog? If the Caretaker unlocks it, ask them what time they will open up? Many will give you half an hour to set up and be very strict about it, some are quite relaxed and let you have more time. One thing that is important is that you get a contact number, so that you can call them if there is a problem.

So those were my suggestions. Hopefully there was something useful among them.

Remember wherever you hold your Children’s Birthday Party in Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire, Dorset & West Sussex, Mister Tall can run your whole party for you.

Don’t Forget!

Things To Remember For Your Birthday Party

Birthday Party Checklist

To be honest, organising your Children’s Birthday Party can be stressful.

And sometimes when you’re stressed, it’s easy to forget stuff.

So here is a checklist to help remind you.

THE CHILD (VERY IMPORTANT)

THE CAKE

SOME CANDLES

A KNIFE (FOR THE CAKE)

LIGHTER / MATCHES

BANNERS & DECORATIONS

DRAWING PINS

SELLOTAPE (FOR WHEN DRAWING PINS AREN’T ALLOWED!)

BLUTAC (FOR WHEN SELLOTAPE ISN’T ALLOWED!!)

WHITETAC (FOR WHEN BLUETAC ISN’T ALLOWED!!!)

BALLOONS

PUMP (SAVE YOUR PUFF)

SOME STRING (JUST IN CASE)

A PAIR OF SCISSORS

FOOD

TABLECLOTHS

PLATES (PAPER OR PLASTIC TO SAVE WASHING UP)

DRINKS FOR THE CHILDREN

TEA, COFFEE, SUGAR & MILK FOR THE ADULTS

CUPS (PAPER OR PLASTIC TO SAVE BREAKAGES)

SERVIETTES

WET WIPES (TO CLEAN OFF THOSE CHOCCY MOUSTACHES)

KITCHEN ROLLS (IN CASE THE ADULTS SPILL THEIR DRINKS)

PARTY BAGS

BIN BAGS (FOR THE RUBBISH AND TO PUT THE PRESENTS IN)

CLING FILM / FOOD BAGS (FOR ANY LEFTOVER FOOD)

OH AND TAKE SOME £1 COINS FOR THE LECCY METER (I HAVE BEEN TO A HALL WHERE THEY WERE NEEDED)

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!