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What to Look for When Booking a Venue for a Children's Party


The best venue for your party will depend upon the type of party you will be having and where you live. In this article I will examine some ideas from my 25 years experience as an entertainer.

The best places for a children's party is a rented hall, such as the local community or church hall. Having a small party at home is nice, but can lead to problems. Halls differ in quality, price and what they offer. I suggest you think about the following things when looking at hiring a hall.

You should visit the hall you intend to book before hiring it. If it is a hall you have not been to before, this is essential.

Look to see if the hall is warm or whether there is a smell of damp. There is nothing worse than arriving at a hall in mid winter to find it hasn't been used for a while, it is freezing cold and smells of damp. This type of halls are becoming fewer and fewer, but check just in case.

·            The kitchen

What type of kitchen can you use? Some parents will want to make tea and coffee or even cook some hot dogs or heat up sausage rolls for the party guests. If you want to do this, ask and make sure you can use the kitchen and find out what facilities you are able to use. Some kitchens can be shared with a playgroup or community group and you will not be able to use any cups, spoons or boil a kettle as they are not generally owned by the owner of the hall. Check what pots and pans you can or cannot use, if heating food. You may need to take your own pans.   Check what you can and cannot use. I have seen parents panic on several occasions, as they have not checked and find they cannot do what they wanted to do.

·            Parking 

The next think you should check is the parking. Many people book shows at hotels, very common in Blackpool, where there are no car parks and the hotel is surrounded by double yellow lines. This makes it almost impossible for guests to park. This can also delay the arrival of guests and provide a security headache for those with cars, having to park on uninviting streets. Make sure your venue has parking facilities if you want things to work like clockwork.

·            Room hire 

The third thing to ask about is cost and here is a very important rule you need to remember. If you are having a 2 hour party, you will need to book the room for a minimum of 3 hours if you are having an entertainer, but you will need up to 4 hours if you are doing the entire party yourself. You need time to set up and time to clean and pack away after the party.    If you are having an entertainer, my suggestion for a 2 hour party is to book two, 45 minute slots of either games, magic show, game show, disco or balloon modelling. The first 45 minutes can be spent setting out the food while the children are entertained, 30 minutes in the middle to serve the food and the last 45 minute slot of entertainment can be used to clear things away. By the end of the show, everything will be packed away and you will be ready to leave. If you are entertaining the children yourself, you will need more time to set up and clear away. This means using a children's entertainer could save you money if the hall charges by the hour.

·            Risk assessment 

Many venues require certain formalities to be completed before you can hire a hall. Increasingly some halls are now asking parents to fill out risk assessment forms. Don't be scared by these, they are straightforward and a good entertainer may be able help you fill it out. In addition, by booking an Equity Union member as an entertainer, they will be covered by a 10 million pound public liability insurance and should have portable appliance testing certification. This should be written in your risk assessment form and is one less thing you have to think about.  

·           Lighting and discos  

This is something most parents never even think about when booking a hall. If you are booking an entertainer who does a disco, make sure you can get the hall dark enough to see the lights. Many halls do not have curtains for blackout, or curtains so thin that they let in daylight. Check how dark the room gets if you are considering a disco, and think about looking for a different hall, using bin liners to black out windows or changing the disco for something else.

A good, experienced children's entertainer will be able to help you with suitable venue hire which can make your party cost effective, in addition to being a sensational event.

For all enquires or to make a booking, ring Chris Cotton on 07941 5503150 or 01772 633363 or complete the enquiry form .

by Chris Cotton - 28th January 2011

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