Magical Party Requirements
Children’s parties can be utter chaos with children all running around screaming with food all over the floor, but if you follow the formula below, I will have them laughing their socks off, totally engaged, having fun and the party will be brilliant fun and stress-free for all!
From performing at nearly 1000 parties and events, I have found the following to be essential to make a brilliant show.
Please don’t serve any food, sweets, snacks or drinks to the children while the entertainment is taking place (snacks/food are best during the break). Please tell this to others helping in the party. Please cover or keep food out of reach of children so they don’t start getting food during the show (others will follow and it will be disruptive). If one or two children are allowed to eat, all the others will follow. Please, no popcorn machine! Popcorn at children’s parties ends up as a terrible mess with it all over every inch of the floor.
Please don’t blow up balloons to let loose on the floor as it makes getting the children’s attention impossible. If there are any balloons being played with, I won’t be able to start the entertainment. Best not to give any out in the 30 minutes before I begin as taking them off children will cause dissapointment and with very little ones, probably tears.
If balloons get loose during the party please take them away and put them out of sight. After I have finished; when you hear me say “that’s the end of the show!”, you are welcome to let the children play with balloons as I pack up.
The entertainment has to take place indoors; unless pre-arranged. I will need to perform with my back to a wall away from doors otherwise people passing behind will cause disruption.
Some adult supervision will be necessary at all times. Please ensure that at least two responsible adults remain in the room during the entertainment.
Invite time: For the two-hour party, you are best to invite people for my start time. Usually a few will be early, some will be on time and a few will be late. If they all get there before I start, they will start running around and the party will start off wild.
If you have a bouncy castle (children’s parties are much better without them; less chaotic and there are often accidents on them), I will have to reduce the booking to the one-hour package. The bouncy castle must be switched off during the entertainment. They are easily deflated and reinflated.
If the venue is indoors, the children will need to stay in the room during the show. If they are allowed to go outdoors or into other rooms, I will lose control of them. If it is very hot and doors to the outside are opened up, the opening will need to be blocked by chairs or some sort of barrier. In summer, the little ones can go outside as they arrive before I start, if it’s sunny you could set up the food tables outside and they could go outside again at the end of my show. But they would need to be brought in for the show. I would need to be helped by parents with this.
I never push anyone to be a volunteer who does not want to be but I usually use the birthday child/children at about ten minutes into the start of the magic show in the first half of the party which will be about eg 11.30 (11-1) There are some lovely and funny photo/video moments to capture. If you are busy dealing with food/guests, get an uncle/friend to take some photos/videos. For videos, turn your phone horizontal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRtaU8QfH0g Several shorter videos of around one minute are better as they will be easier to share with friends/family.
“The show is just for the children. We will be at the back chatting.” Doing this will make the show rubbish. The magic show is a family show with lots of jokes for the grown-ups and is much more fun for the children with the adults laughing too. Chairs need to be put out for parents for the magic show. The best arrangement for chairs is to be in a semi-circle of two or three rows facing the show, giving space for the little ones to sit in front of me and have a dance but not to be right at the back as this creates an “us and them” atmosphere and doesn’t make the show as fun for everybody. There’s time for the grown-ups to chat at the beginning of the party and during the food break and the games part. In the two-hour package, the second half is much more informal.
Ask a couple of friends or family members to help you to set up, arrange chairs, etc and to pack away and clean at the end. They are happy to help as they all know the work involved in having parties. Pack the chairs away when the party has finished. An hour at least is best to get in and set up the room. If you only have thirty minutes, then you will definitely will need help. If there are only one or two of you setting up the room in thirty minutes you will be very rushed and probably stressed.
Some venues have trolleys to put chairs or tables on to move them. These make the task much easier but be careful to put the trolleys away quickly as children will start playing on them and might hurt themselves. (Seen it twice!)
Have you read all the way to here?! Wow, you are amazing.
Coughlan’s Bakery – excellent for birthday cakes.
They have branches across East Surrey and South London. The majority of their cakes are collected in store but they can arrange delivery if needed. Do mention that Ritchie Rosson recommended them.
Tel.: 020 8684 2304
If you buy something like a sparkling candle for the birthday cake, I recommend that you buy two as sometimes they do not light properly. Traditional candles are better as they are good fun for the birthday child to blow out and it always gets a big cheer.
Pizza is the easiest food to serve and deal with. You can serve it to the children and the parents. Check for allergies/diets with parents.
If you want cold drinks for your guests such as beers and wine, be aware that some venues do not have fridges and you might want to bring a bucket of ice. Put children’s names on water/juice bottles with name stickers.
Balloons look great on the walls (stick them at head height so children don’t pull them down). Put balloons on the front door/gate to welcome guests. If the venue entrance is not so easy to find, put a few balloons up to direct guests where to enter.
Blow balloons up to a round shape. If they look like a lightbulb you have blown them too much and they will pop very easily (sometimes randomly during the party or sometimes in a poor child’s face!). BANG! Tell the dads this as they normally get given this job. This is the most ignored of my party tips haha!
Party Invitations: Vistaprint are great.
Honeycomb Decorations like these look really stylish and are an easy alternative to balloons on the walls and can be used at parties again and again.
Balloon letters i.e. “happy birthday” with individual balloons for each letter. DON’T DO IT! They take at least an hour to blow up and often one of the letters pops or goes flat quickly after all that work putting them up.
Balloon arches I recommend hiring a professional for such a job or they can look messy. If you do attempt something like a balloon arch, give yourself plenty of time to get to the venue. I would recommend at least 90 minutes to do that.
If you have big helium balloons on a string with a weight, don’t let the children play with them, as quickly they will break it off the weight and the balloon will be on the ceiling. Happens every time!
Some people put helium balloons tied to all the chairs. If you do this and a child unties one, please stop them as every other child will follow and suddenly balloons will be flying everywhere. Happens every time! Have a full bottle of helium. I’ve often seen dad’s having to drive off to find a party shop selling helium 20 minutes before the party kick-off time.
If you have balloons on the walls or elsewhere, it’s best give them to children to take home at the end so you won’t have a car full of them driving home. If you do want to pop them, bring a pin and burst them at the knot end so it’s not so loud. Do not stamp on the balloons as it will give me and everyone else there a headache.
If you have not booked a venue yet; small/ medium halls or venues that do not have high ceilings are best for children’s parties. Find a venue/tips on venues here:
Large halls/venues are much noisier and are harder to decorate with bunting, honeycomb decorations, balloons etc.
No cushions or chairs are required for children (and will block the space for games/dancing) but if you do have play mats or large rugs for the children to sit on during the show, they are good. If not, no worries as children are very happy to sit on the floor.
For a two-hour party, please serve food halfway at e.g. 3-5pm party: food at 4:00 pm. When you see me start the dancing part, you will know that there is five minutes until the food break.
Bringing out the birthday cake and singing happy birthday in the food break around 15 minutes into it. I have a lovely happy birthday song/music. Let me know one-minute before you are bringing it out. Place the cake away from the performance area. The cake is best not served to eat in the food break as this will cut short the show. Best to cut it to serve at the end of the party or to take home in the party bags. Sit the birthday child near to the area you are bringing the cake from so you don’t have many steps to walk with it. Make a space on the table in front of the birthday child to put the cake out i.e. move away plates, etc. Somebody stay with him/her so they don’t run off while you get the cake! Be careful not to leave the knife out on the children’s table.
I do not entertain the children while they eat as it is an impossible feat. It is much better that I keep the show going when I have their full attention.
Toddlers often enjoy the entertainment but they should not be allowed to repeatedly wander into the performance area for health and safety and because it will disrupt the show.
“Let’s bring toys for the toddlers to play with!”
This is not a good idea as some older children will want to play with those things and I will lose their attention which is the secret to entertaining children.
Toys/colouring books/ball pits/swords/noisemakers/fidget spinners/tablets and other distractions should be put away. Other music/TVs should be turned off.
I don’t recommend giving noisemaking toys in the party bags as they will drive the parents crackers at the end of the party and on the way home.
Surprise! Some people make Ritchie’s Magic Show a surprise for the birthday child. That is fine. But the opposite is better. If you show the birthday child and siblings my photos and videos they will be familiar with me and happier to see me and less shy. The other children will also be less shy when they know me so feel free to share my video in parents Whatsapp groups and on social media.
Winter: Be careful of cranking the heating up high when you arrive and the hall is empty. When everyone arrives and is running around, it will become like an oven.
Costumes with masks and capes if given out to wear at the party, will mostly end up on the floor five minutes later.
Piñata is fun but it can be a little chaotic and create a lot of mess. It’s also quite slow and does not engage all the children as it is mostly them waiting for their turn. If you do have Piñata, keep the queue of children well behind the person swinging the stick.
Some tables in venues are quite grubby and are best to be covered.
Consider bringing table cloths or cover paper such as this one:
If you are having a team to come in to decorate, make sure that they know about the lay out of the show to allow adequate space.
- Birthday Cake
- Birthday Cake Candles
- Matches and Lighter (check it works). Best bring both just in case.
- Bluetack (some venues do not allow tape on the walls)
- Table cloths/paper (if needed).
- Knife for cake (keep it well out of reach of little ones)
- Banners if you have them.
- Coffee/tea bags
- Soya Milk
- Wine glasses
- Tea Cups
- Pin to pop balloons at the end if necessary.
- Helium canister if required
- Plates/cups/cutlery if required
- Bottle opener
- The birthday child 😉
I bring some of the smaller items like a lighter in case you forget too, so ask me on the day if you forgot something.
One of my awesome clients Lisa Looker has an awesome party supply business here:
She created a discount for anyone that I recommend her to, if they use the code RITCHIE, they will get 10% off all party decorations.
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