Running a Party Planner Business: Equipment and Inventory
Helpful Party Supplies
If you generally offer to supply party favors, buy them in bulk or on sale. Always include the cost (itemized) as part of your fee.
You can pin the nose on the birthday girl or boy by blowing up a photo of the child and giving each blindfolded child a nose to pin on the photo. If children have to sit or concentrate too long, you'll find they lose interest. Keep your games simple and fast moving. If the party is indoors, use indoor games; outdoors, use outdoor games.
The party is for the birthday child. Your primary goal, as a party planner, is to make the child feel special. A second goal is to assure the birthday guests have a good time.
A child's birthday party can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. Consider the party a success if no one bursts out crying. Here are some examples of party emergencies you may be required to deal with:
Two children brought the identical gift -- You can always re-gift, but be careful you don't give it back to a child who was aware of the slip-up. Rather, smooth it over, "Hey Johnny, now we can all play both games at the same time."
- A child wet their pants -- Guide them discretely from the room and ask the hostess for a clean change of clothes. Bag the child's soiled clothes to return to the mother, or return them on their way out the door. Discretion is greatly appreciated.
- A mother reprimands someone else's child -- Ask the mother if she would please speak to the child's mother about the issue when she arrives, out of hearing range from the children.
- Children arguing over take-home-party-bags -- Put the names on the outside of the bags in bold and firmly, but nicely say, "Only the bag with your name on it is yours."
Event Tool Kit
All party planners have a special "tool kit" for those unexpected emergencies that crop up. This doesn't mean you should show up looking like "Rosie the Riveter." Place your "stuff" in a carry-on with wheels, a good-sized brief case, or a professional-looking gym bag. Here are suggestions for items you might include.
- Aspirin or Tylenol
- Handi-Wipes or hand sanitizer
- Sunscreen and bug spray
- First-aid kit
- Extension cords
- Batteries - all sizes
- Glue gun and glue sticks
- Twist ties
- Cellophane tape
- White and black ribbon
- Hammer, Nails, and Tacks
When it comes to larger inventory and props, it may pay to just rent what you need rather than purchase. You might keep fabric for draping, special vases, and centerpieces, difficult-to-rent table drapes and skirts, and even a dais.
You and your child can have fun making birthday invitations together. It builds a little suspense and anticipation in any child to prepare the invitations and send them out. There are many ideas for fun and easy party invitations you can make. Below is an example from a website you can check out should you decide to look into crafting your party invitations:
Print out and make this free birthday party invitation featuring a birthday cake and gift.
In most instances, you can right-click on the card image below and choose to save it or print it! Print it onto a full sheet of paper, fold on the dotted lines, and then trim the edges so they are even. Don't forget to print out the envelope!
Sit down with your child and find out what type of birthday party he or she wants. This will set the theme and determine if your budget, creativity, and your energy can provide that type of party. If not, it's no big deal to scale down. Just don't put the idea for the costly stuff out there. If you don't mention clowns and pony rides, think about some other themes such as:
- Pool parties
- Country Western
- Circus with clown entertainment
- Pirate party
- Slumber party
- Back-to-school Barbecue
A word of advice: Try not to overdo. A Harry Potter party with Harry Potter decorations, Harry Potter games, Harry Potter toys, and -- you guessed it -- Harry Potter birthday cake served on Harry Potter plates. Way too much HP.
Keep in mind, if your child is fortunate enough to have a pool, it may be the color of weak tea by the end of the festivities. Call your pool maintenance person or hazardous waste experts to sanitize it for you.
In-house and Outside Party Venues
Safety is a priority at a child's party. While you may not think of children's parties being dangerous, here are some tips to bump the safety factor up a notch:
1. If you plan to decorate with balloons, remember they are a major choking hazard for children. Keep the balloons beyond reach or use Mylar balloons.
2. Keep party favors age-appropriate. A small jar of Play-Doh, non-toxic bubble blowing solution, tennis balls or a deck of cards are in keeping with appropriate favors. Stay away from breakable toys.
3. If the party is being held at Chuck E. Cheese's, or somewhere other than the child's home, again, have more than one adult to help supervise children when they go to the bathroom, and to keep an eye on things. Ask each parent to tell you who will be picking up the child at the end of the birthday party.
4. Childproof your yard if games will be played outdoors. Any sharp object sticking up from the ground, or something that could cause a child to trip and fall, should be removed or safety-proofed.
Timing Children's Parties and Keeping Them Busy
One of the secrets is to keep the children busy at all times without any calm in the proceedings. Unoccupied children cause problems ;-) When one activity winds down or ends, another must start. Mustn't give the little darlings time to think of what they would rather be doing, because heaven help us all if boredom sets in. Make a timetable. For example:
Here are some ideas for gift bag fillings:
- Pens that write different colors
- If you're lucky enough to have Chinatown nearby, the little shops hold treasures for children's gift bags.
- An inexpensive calculator
- Clear lip gloss for children
- Highlighter pen
- Silly string
- Elastic hair ties
- A great key chain
Bottom line, keep children's parties flowing like race car grade lubricating oil.
Children's Party Tips and Ideas
Portion control eliminates, "You got more than me," and soft foods eliminates the need for sharp objects at the table.Children should know the boundaries. It's good for future neighbor relations. Remember, children will most likely eat their recommended calorie intake at one party. You can't watch them every second. Always use that wonderful plastic on the table. Of course, paper plates and napkins save clean-up.There are always the exceptions. Be realistic and keep a few coloring books or videos handy.
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