Choosing Clowns for Your Party

Clowning around takes on new meaning when an animated character arrives at a party.

Clowns, favourite look-alike cartoon characters and story book characters can add new life to a party, entertain both children and adults and add an element of surprise to an otherwise ordinary gathering.

Party planners count on them to add a stir of excitement upon arrival at any gathering.

Even at a corporate gathering, a clown can help liven the festivities, Sometimes a party needs something as silly as a clown to help people feel a little less intimidated.

Clowns can act as magicians, pulling a flower out of the hair of the most uptight guest, provoking her laugh and relax. And the same clown might act like a mime and imitate unsuspecting guests who have just arrived.

Be sure to hire a professional who can adapt well to the crowd and have a very clear understanding what is expected of him. The last thing you want to do is to offend a guest.

If the clown has been hired to entertain at a party that involves both children and adults, be clear with parents that the clown is not there to baby-sit children unless that is in fact the case.

A common is situation when the parents unknowingly drop their kids in front of the clown thinking that their children will be cared for, when in fact, the clown has been hired to entertain the entire party.

With a large group of children or a mixed party of adults and children, it’s sometimes best to hire two or three clowns to carry out different jobs during the party.

In fact, a circus theme may be appropriate to incorporate a variety of tricks of the trade.

“On one occasion, the party lasted several hours, so we scheduled different clowns at different times to break up the party and to provide a different kind of talent for our guests,” says Sarah.

For instance, one clown did various card and slight-of-hand tricks in front of small groups. A second clown created an entire magic show for the whole audience. And yet a third clown did face-painting for the children and created give-away balloon sculptures.

“That way everyone was entertained,” says Sarah.

Clowns can also help guests get involved with silly games or lead the way when group activities call for guest involvement. Even a pass-the-orange game can become a real scene when a clown adds some extra silliness.

The same can be true of cartoon characters or storybook characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Spider Man or Cinderella. Children automatically gravitate to characters they have seen in storybooks that come to life right before their very eyes.

“So many children are just entranced by seeing a life-size Spiderman that they’ve sat in awe of in the theaters or in videos,” says Sarah. “And little girls are enchanted that the real live Cinderella or Snow White might come to their birthday party.”

Most “live” characters charge by the hour or by the day, and often they not only make appearances but participate in other activities.

A Cinderella helped the girls make enchanted necklaces and bracelets from beads. They were not only delighted to see Cinderella but she helped get them involved in an activity that completely focused their attention until it was time to cut the cake. They each left the party feeling like a princess themselves.

Both cartoon/story book look-alikes and clowns can also serve as storytellers. The time-honored tradition used to be passed among guests years ago. But today, entertainers can serve as storytellers entrancing children and adults alike.

“Before the industrial revolution, there was little to entertain one another but old-fashioned story telling,” says Sarah. “It was a way to pass along traditions and tell really tall tales. Today, some clowns and look-alikes have picked up the tradition.”

Story-telling enables guests to settle down with one another and listen without having to interact or be blasted with music and electronic gadgets. The stories can be funny, enlightening or educational.

“Usually the person we hire to entertain can gauge an audience well enough to know what story will have the best response,” says Sarah.

A singles party or adult-only party may have a slightly racy theme than a family gathering where g-rated stories only are required.

In addition to clowns, or if the clowns have an additional talent, acrobatics may be appropriate if floor space is provided. Or uni-cycling can add to the circus-like atmosphere.

Or a puppet show can divert guests’ attention once again to another portion of the festivities.

So if you need to liven up the festivities, add a circus element to an extravaganza or just need some old-fashioned silliness, bring on the clowns.