Planning Your Child’s Birthday Party

Tips on putting together a carefully planned amazing birthday party!

Knoxville Party Magic would like to help you put together a carefully planned amazing birthday party! Your child’s birthday is one of the most important times in their life. Throwing a fun party is a fantastic way to celebrate this special event! As parents, we feel compelled to provide the best we can for our kids, but at what cost?

A memorable birthday party can make a huge dent in your bank account if you’re not careful. The best way to do that is to start with a plan. Then carefully budget and track your expenses, projected expenses and stick to the plan!

Parties are so much fun and provide loads of wonderful memories for our little ones. However, there is a chance they will not even be aware of the huge amount of money you have spent to provide it!

The way I see it…

As a professional children’s entertainer, I see the entire gamut of parties. Some done with a minimal amount of funds to those where parents rent dance halls, DJ’s, Bounce Houses, mobile video game trailers, etc! However, a carefully planned amazing birthday party doesn’t need to break the bank or send you to the silly farm with anxiety attacks!carefully planned amazing birthday party

My advice to parents that book me is to realize that children will be engaging with me for 80% of the time. The other 20% is spent eating party food and receiving gifts. Keep this in mind when planning your party and considering decor and extras.

The fact of the matter is that kids remember the experience, the fun they had with their friends, laughing, playing and maybe pigging out on the cake they with the special design they expressly requested! Think of things that are most likely to stick in your child’s memory and spend your money on those things that matter.

A great way to save money is to make your own decorations with your child(ren)! Your kids will treasure the experience. The results of a carefully planned amazing birthday party will create lasting memories. So try not to make it a chore. This party may be some of the best memories you share with them in the future!

Knoxville Party Magic – How fees are determined

Establishing appropriate fees

Ever wonder how coffee shops go about establishing appropriate fees? I recently stopped for coffee at a bagel place and noticed on the counter that they were selling Rice Crispy Marshmallow Treats. One little block about 2 inches square was $2.79. Regardless of the cost, I’m sure they sell plenty and no one bats an eye on the price. Will customers understand the costs involved in producing that little chunk of sweetness? Maybe not and I doubt they’ll question the clerk on why it’s priced higher than the box of cereal itself! 

establishing appropriate fees

Children’s Entertainer Fees

It’s very different when clients are considering hiring entertainment for their children. When quoting my services to potential clients they are always taken aback by my fees. As a professional balloon twister/face painter/kids magician/entertainer, I often have to justify my rates… something the clerk at the coffee shop is never asked to do. Neither is the caterer, the venue manager, the photographer, etc. But for some reason, kid’s entertainers do.

Is Knoxville Party Magic Charging Too Much?

Generally, most people think that I charge way too much for what I do. This reaction isn’t limited to the mom who wants to throw her child a party… I get the same reaction from corporations looking for entertainment during their company events. I’ve often been told, “Come on now, you take a couple of $0.05 balloons and within a few minutes produce a cute little balloon animal and you want $X.XX an hour for this? Are you kidding me?”. 

Charging the right amount is nothing to laugh at!

No, I’m not kidding. Whether I’m twisting balloons, painting faces, performing as Ms. Tickle or putting up spectacular balloon decor, this is my business – not a hobby. I pay my bills with this income… I’m blessed that I can earn a living doing something that I absolutely love! However,  just because I love what I do doesn’t mean I should do it for free. I’m going to simply explain how I go about establishing appropriate fees. 

So, when the time comes and you find yourself considering hiring me (or any other entertainer), to perform for an hour or so at your event, think about this:

Items or areas considered when establishing costs to clients

Before the show:

I will spend a minimum of an hour preparing for this event to make it perfect for you and your guests. Twice as much time if you’re hiring Ms. Tickle for a magic show.

Behind the scenes:

Exchanging emails to negotiate, finalize and confirm your gig. Sometimes I have threads of 15 or more emails… there’s a lot of time involved in correspondence.


I carry over $1M in liability insurance – hopefully, I will never need to use it but for your peace of mind, I still have to have it and I have to pay for it.


I’ve had background checks done and I participate in an ongoing program to maintain certification on child-safe issues. If you’re going to let a stranger in your home, don’t you want it to be someone you can trust and obtain referrals for? I have an established business and can easily provide referrals.


Once we have an agreement, rest assured that I will show up and perform. If for some unforeseeable reason I wouldn’t be able to show up, I will find a replacement for me. My reputation is on the line and I will do everything I can to maintain it at the highest level.

Business expenses:

My office and studio located in our home occupy almost all of the basement. Furthermore, in addition to regular overhead costs, I have a vehicle used almost exclusively for my business, which clearly identifies my business.


A large chunk of my income goes towards ongoing education so I can continue to improve my skills, learn current trends and be better at what I do.


Keeping a respectable inventory of products doesn’t come cheap. Sure a bag of balloons is less than $10 but I can’t operate my business on one bag of balloons and professional grade, FDA approved face paint doesn’t come from Walmart.


Knoxville Party Magic is a legitimate business and I pay taxes – including collecting and remitting sales tax when applicable.


Not to toot my horn but kids love me! Isn’t that important to you as a parent? It’s proven that folks do business with people they know, like and trust! Should I have the opportunity to discuss your event with you, you’ll quickly find me easy to work with and will have no doubts as to whether you’re hiring the right person. And if I’m not the right fit, I’ll be happy to recommend someone that would be!

I could easily go on but I don’t want this post to appear as a rant because it isn’t. I simply want to educate folks on how Knoxville Party Magic operates. Should I be fortunate enough to be hired for your next event, know that you are getting your money’s worth and more!

So, the next time you walk into that coffee shop and spot that little chunk of Rice Crispy Marshmallow Treat, remember why it costs more than a box of cereal!

How to Host the Perfect Kids Magic Show for Everyone’s Pleasure!

Poor Party Planning Could Ruin Everyone’s Day

Ms.Tickle recently performed her kids magic show at a birthday party where the host/parent was not well prepared and things didn’t go as they should. Had she followed the advice in my Party Guide, things may have gone a little smoother!

Examples of poor planning of a kids magic show

  • Not knowing how many people are going to show up (casual invitations, no RSVP’s required)
  • Not planning times for greeting guests
  • Meal/food/drink/cake time unplanned
  • Family dog making off with magic props
  • No designated seating area for kidsTips for planning a party that includes a kids magic show.
  • Scheduling Ms. Tickle too early
  • Too many activities (pool, bounce house, game truck, etc.)
  • Payment for Ms.Tickle not prepared 🙁
  • Ms.Tickle almost collapsing from heat stroke!

Ms. Tickle’s special request

Please take note that I prefer that children older than 6 sit separately from the little ones during the kids magic show. Although always welcomed as spectators, they will not be asked to participate. My show is geared for the little ones and older children tend to spoil the “magic”. For instance, I may bring out Daisy the dog and while the little ones are totally mesmerized, the older children will take great pleasure in letting everyone know that, “It’s only a puppet – it’s not a real dog!”, thus ruining the effect for the younger children.

Tips for planning a successful party and kids magic show

Here’s some advice that will make your party a success:

  • Do send out invitations and stress the importance of replying by a specific date. Knowing how many people to expect will help immensely with food, drinks and cake size. The day before the party, call the people who have not responded and politely ask if they received your invitation – this will prompt an immediate reply from them.
  • Establish a time frame for the entire party and make your guests aware of it. Usually, 2 hours is plenty of time for catching up, kids play, entertainment, food, drinks and possibly opening the gifts.
  • Schedule Ms.Tickle at least 30 minutes into party time. This ensures that everyone has arrived.
  • Ms.Tickle will arrive approximately 15 minutes early for setup and to meet the immediate family. Her show must start on time and will finish on time regardless if everyone has arrived or not.  She may have another engagement following yours and can’t be delayed. Furthermore, she cannot “start over” when late guests arrive.
  • Ms.Tickle doesn’t need a lot of space for her shows but children must sit on the floor. Adults should stick around and seat themselves behind the children. Refrain from serving food or drink during the show.
  • If the party is in a private home, Ms.Tickle will not use a PA system.  Please keep adult chatter to a whisper. She cannot speak over the conversations.
  • Keep the family dog in another room. Ms.Tickle doesn’t need an assistant at her kid’s magic show.
  • Have your payment ready for her when she arrives.  It is very unpleasant for her to track you down among your guests when she’s ready to leave and could possibly make her late for her next engagement.
  • Do limit the number of activities offered. If the children have access to too many things, it will be very hard to keep their attention on the magic show and their attitude could spoil the magical effect on the other kids.
  • Finally, be kind and provide Ms. Tickle with a glass of iced water!

Thrill your guests by throwing the perfect party when following these simple guidelines!

A Memorable Kids Birthday Party Should Include Loot Bags

Loot bags or not? That is the question!

A unique idea for a memorable party favor. Souvenirs such as party (loot) bags help to make a memorable kids birthday party and are a great idea, but they shouldn’t break the bank.

memorable kids birthday party knoxville

Creative souvenirs are not expensive.

The answer is definitely YES  to party bags (also referred to as Loot Bags). Many children have been conditioned to expect them and it acts as a “Thank you” for coming to the party. However, no need to fill them with cheap, junk type items to save money. Providing a “take-home” souvenir makes for a memorable kids birthday party shouldn’t break your budget.

A take home craft that they have made at the party can double up as a party favor.  Your children’s entertainer may also be able to twist balloons and offer those as “take-homes”.  Or you can simply contact a balloon twister to see if they’ll provide sculptures that you can pick up or have them deliver before the party.  You’ll be surprised at how inexpensive this can be and you’ll probably get creations that are much nicer than what they can provide on location.

Another great idea are balloon candy cups. Many balloon artists offer them (as I do), and they can cost as little as $5.00 a piece!

You could also plan your party decorations to end up as party give aways!  Helium balloons that serve as decorations during the party can be sent home with the guests when the party ends -saving you not only money, but also the hassle of getting rid of them later!

memorable kids birthday party Knoxville

A helium balloon is a very cool party favor.

Speaking of Helium, you can purchase your own Mylar balloons along with a tank of Helium from any local party store.  By planning wisely, you could save enough money to be able to provide one awesome balloon to each guest.  Imagine the boys leaving with their favorite super hero balloon – Batman, Raphael or Spiderman and the girls leaving with their current hero, Elsa or Anna!  You’ll be the mom remembered for giving out the coolest party “bags”! A little bit of creative thinking can save you some money and may  ultimately be quite unique.

I encourage you to use my budget tracker found at the bottom of my Magic Show page. It will help you keep tabs of where you are with your party expenses.

Remember that it’s all about creating memories and if I can help you in any way, please do not hesitate to call me! When it comes to planning a memorable kids birthday party in the Knoxville area, my number is the only number you need. 865-567-4806.

Successfully Hiring Children’s Party Entertainment

The secret to successfully hiring children’s party entertainment

Generally speaking, the secret to successfully hiring children’s party entertainment is not all that complicated.  Realize that not all children’s entertainers are the same – just like all barbers are not the same.  Ask the right questions to receive answers pertaining to the entertainment you expect.  It is not complicated if you follow a few simple guidelines.

Prepare a checklist with important questions

First, decide on the type of party entertainment you will offer your guests.  Will there be magic shows, balloon twisting, face painting, etc? There are different kinds of entertainers to choose from.  Some specialize in adult audiences and have no experience with children.  Some excellent artists don’t do so well entertaining kids. An excellent magician advertising kid’s shows may not be a good entertainer. Decide what’s important for you! It’s important that you pick someone who has experience and knowledge entertaining children and keeping them amused and under control at all times.  It’s not important that they can perform Las Vegas style magic. Most importantly you need someone that loves what they do and that kids easily relate to.

Secondly, after determining what you will offer your guests, proceed with a Google search using keywords such as (your town) and “children’s party entertainers, party magic”, etc., and examine what that reveals. Follow with a quick check of that person’s website or Facebook page.  Consider a quick search on Youtube using the names of the various entertainers you have found.  Very often clients will post videos taken at their events of which the entertainer is not aware of.  Don’t hesitate to email and ask for references from previous clients before making a commitment.  

Third, ask the entertainer what he or she offers and what their show consists of.  Ask what the total length of the show will be.  Expect professional entertainers to offer different shows depending on the age of the children.

A conversation with your selected candidates should be like a job interview

You’re hiring! Go ahead and ask! Ask if there will be guest participation. Will there be a “special” moment for the birthday child or guest of honor? Is the show accompanied by music? If you speak to the entertainer directly, evaluate your conversation.  Did he/she sound confident? Energetic? Interested? Is this the voice/tone of someone you want entertaining your little guests? Did he/she sound professional? Go ahead and ask what kind of vehicle they drive. Is it a newer model? Is it identified with the company name and logo?

successfully hiring children's party entertainment

Lastly but not least important

Finally, if an entertainer’s rate is much lower than others researched, my advice is that you should continue to keep looking until you find the entertainer that feels right for you. After contacting several entertainers and getting quotes, you will have a good idea on pricing. Some entertainers are confident enough to offer a 100% satisfaction guaranty.  Ask for it if they don’t and get it in writing! We recommend you spend a little bit more to find someone who you will be proud to say that you hired.


As you can see, successfully hiring children’s party entertainment is not all that complicated if you know the right questions to ask! Finally and most importantly, if you’re searching in the Knoxville area, search no more – head to this link & fill in the form!  Expect a return phone call within 24 hours or less, guaranteed! If you’re anxious to put into action what you’ve learned above, pick up the phone and give me a call! I’d be happy to talk about your party & how I can make it easier on you!