The Complete Children's Party Survival Guide
Children's Party
Survival Guide for Children's Parties

Booking a Children's Entertainer
Many people, faced with the daunting prospect of a couple of dozen excited little ones descending upon their home, decide to recruit the services of a member of that happy, fearless and ever enthusiastic band of lifesavers, known simply as, Children's Entertainers.
Clowns, Magic, Puppets, Music

Strange though it may seem, these apparently normal and well adjusted people actually enjoy facing countless groups of expectant offspring, day in and day out, often with nothing more than a magic wand, a ready wit and a gaily coloured bow-tie between them and their audience.

So much so that in recent years the numbers of Children's Entertainers have swelled to the point where a bewildering array of Clowns, Magicians, Puppeteers, Jugglers, etc. etc. are available to anyone in need of their considerable skills and bravery. What's more, for a modest fee (it says here), they are prepared to travel anywhere (within reason) at a moments notice (the more moments the better) and entertain those little or even not so little ones with their many varied talents.

The main problem for the potential booker is, who do we book and where do we find them? A good directory of entertainers is what is required and, seeing as you are here already, you could do a great deal worse than browsing through The Complete Children's Party Survival Guide's very own Entertainers Directory.

Before you do so however, you may like to avail yourself of the following tips designed to assist in the process of booking Professional Children's Entertainment.

Booking an entertainer for the first time can be a somewhat daunting experience. Many people will thumb through the Yellow Pages, phoning one number after another with no real idea of what they are looking for or what kind of performer will be best for their party. It is of course very difficult to imagine what the show will be like from a verbal description on the phone. Most entertainers will do their very best to paint a clear picture of what they do and, if they sound cheerful and enthusiastic, it is a fair bet that they will deliver their performance in a similar manner.

These days an ever increasing number of Children's Entertainers are full time professionals who will, in the course of their careers, have entertained a wide variety of children in many different situations. They will have appeared anywhere from television studios and theatres to village halls, front rooms, back gardens and shopping centres. Their audiences will have included children of all age ranges and they will be used to audiences as small as one child and as large as five hundred or more. Bearing this in mind it is important to listen to the entertainers advice about the best type of show for your party. One of the major mistakes is to have a fixed idea of what you want and, despite all advice to the contrary, to stick with that idea until you find someone who will take on the job. This invariably leads to disappointment on the big day when you realise that the show is not being received as well as you would like.

Price is of course a major consideration for many people but beware of allowing this to cloud your judgement. In any given area the majority of entertainers will charge a similar fee. Rest assured that they will all be aware of the average price being charged by their colleagues and the chances are that any price differences will not be more than a few pounds. In this situation it is simply not worth basing your choice purely on price. There are of course always exceptions to this rule and you will undoubtedly come across one or two who are either way above or way below the average. As a general rule stick with an average priced entertainer, by all means check out the other ends of the price scale but always ask why their prices are so different from the rest.

Always book your entertainer before finalising the party date or venue. It is a mistake to send out the invitations or book the hall before checking to see if you can get an entertainer for that day. Even if they have a free time slot for the day in question, it is highly unlikely that it will fit in exactly with your arrangements. The most popular time for parties is of course the weekend and if you are booking entertainment for a Saturday or Sunday be sure to do this well in advance of the date. Seasoned bookers will have reserved their entertainers several months in advance. In the case of Christmas Parties it is not unusual for people to book a year ahead. As a general rule of thumb try and have a couple of alternative dates to hand when you are booking and it is never too early to book. This advice is doubly relevant if you are trying to engage the services of one particular entertainer who has been recommended to you or one that your child has particularly asked for.

Bearing in mind the above points here is a list of the main questions you need to ask when phoning round for an entertainer.

Establish this at the outset. If you have to have the party on a particular day or at a particular time, you need to know if the entertainer is available before anything else.
What type/s of entertainment they can provide
In response to this most entertainers will ask you how old the children are, how many guests there will be and where you are holding the party. Based on this information they will be able to give you a description of the different services that they provide. Listening carefully to this and possibly making notes, will avoid any misunderstanding later.

Clarification of any details so far

Check over any points that you are not clear about and ask any questions which you feel are relevant at this time before asking the $64,000 question.
The fee
Establish the charges for each of the services which the entertainer has described. (Hopefully these will be a little less than $64,000)
Any other questions
Anything else you can think of at this point.

Once you have decided to book a particular entertainer he/she will ask you for all details pertaining to the party. Many bookings are completed over the phone with a minimum of fuss. Remember you can always call back to confirm anything you are not sure of. Many people call a couple of days before the event to make sure all is well. Not all entertainers send out confirmation letters automatically. If you are desperate to have something in writing you can always ask and in most cases this will not be a problem although you may be asked to provide a deposit in this case. You will normally not be asked to provide written confirmation yourself but feel free to do so if you prefer.

One final point, do make a careful note of which entertainer you have booked. It is not unheard of for people to phone round so many different ones that they end up forgetting who is coming to the party and have to contact everyone in their original list which can be a trifle embarrassing. Worse still people have been known to book more than one entertainer for the same event. If you feel that this could happen to you, then a written confirmation from both sides is a good idea.

Armed with all of the above you should now be well prepared to pick up that phone and book youself a Children's Entertainer. We're really very nice people, (well most of us :-) and will be looking forward to your call. To view our directory click on the "Entertainers" button in left-hand menu.

Happy Hunting!

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