Party Entertainment

Birthday ClownThe question:
I'd like to hire an entertainer for my child's party. I was thinking of something like a clown or a magician. What other options are there, and how do I make sure I get a good one? How much should I expect to pay? Thanks for your help. - Dorothy, Milwaukee WI

The Party Planner Answers:

Entertainment for a party has come a long way. Besides clowns and magicians, you can opt for one of the following choices:

  • Face painters
  • Puppeteers
  • Jugglers
  • Storytellers
  • Costumed characters

Most entertainers charge about $65-$80 an hour. However, you may be able to find services that provide clowns who juggle and do magic tricks, so you get more for your buck!

Consider entertainers who have been recommended by friends or relatives. Other great resources are the Yellow Pages or local parenting publications.  One thing to keep in mind for younger children: do not let the entertainment be a surprise. Some children may be scared when seeing the entertainer in person.

Some hiring considerations:

  • Ask for names and phone numbers of satisfied customers you can use as references.
  • Be sure the entertainer is used to working for children (they will be prepared for lack of attention or sudden outbursts).
  • Let the entertainer know of any expected guests that may be handicapped, allergic reactions to animals, etc, so he can adjust the show accordingly.
  • Prepare the children for the type of entertainer. Show a videotape of such entertainment to get them ready for what they might see and hear (the entertainer might also have such a videotape).
  • Ask the entertainer what age group their service targeted for.
  • Try to meet with the entertainer or obtain a photograph. A personal visual of who will be making your child smile is well worth it!

Not all kids want -- or are ready for -- an entertainer. Be sure your child is involved in this decision.



Comments on "How to hire a birthday party clown or magician"

S The Magic Clown March 25, 2014 | 3:42 PM

Sorry but whoever wrote this article doesn't know what he's talking about, $ 65 to $ 80 an hour? YES, the price is WAY OFF, no real professional would work for less than $ 150 an hour on the low end.

stephanie June 16, 2013 | 12:59 PM

i don't know wht these comments are but i don't Know anyone who would pay $150 $200 or even more stupid $300 are you kidding me you professional magician must not make any money i certainly would not pay you that much money

Capstone The Magician March 31, 2012 | 11:02 AM

I am a full-time, professional magician specializing in family and children's entertainment. I've been in the business for over 30 years. There are several unrealistic and inaccurate pieces of information in this article: #1 "Most entertainers charge about $65-$80 an hour." I don't know where these "entertainers" are but they must be starving. Expect at least $200 for a professional party entertainer. #2 "Ask for names and phone numbers of satisfied customers you can use as references." I don't know of any professional entertainer who would give out the telephone number of a past client to a complete stranger. A professional will have a website and it should have references listed. Expect these references to be schools, libraries, etc... If individuals are listed they will likely be just first name and last initial to protect the person's privacy. #3 "Try to meet with the entertainer..." Entertainers do not have time to meet with parents prior to being booked for a birthday party. That's why we have websites with photos, bio, references, etc... #4 "Not all kids want -- or are ready for -- an entertainer. Be sure your child is involved in this decision." Most young children don't know what they want. Children older than 7-8 may be able to have some input in the decision, but having raised 4 kids of my own I would strongly suggest the parent make these decisions. The best way to find out about children's party entertainers is to find out which ones perform for your local library and/or school system. Schools and libraries have professional standards for performers so you can rest assured that if a performer is good enough for them, they'll be good enough for your child's party.

Professional Magician June 03, 2010 | 10:47 AM

I am a professional magician and would have to disagree with the pricing listed above. It depends upon the area of the country you live in, but realistically, look to pay between $150 and $300 for a GOOD children's entertainer. Truly entertaining a group of children is an craft that takes years to hone -- and that ability is well worth the price.

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