If they were grading children's party business this year, most special event professionals would give it a D.
In the latest online poll from Special Events, 57 percent of respondents say their children's party business—bar and bat mitzvahs, Sweet 16s, quinceaneras and the like—is worse this year than last. Another 23 percent say business is on par this year with last, with 19 percent saying business is better this year than last.
The business crunch is leading event pros who plan children's parties to focus on the essentials: keeping kids happy and out of trouble.
THEY WEAR IT WELL
When it comes to the requisite party favor, only two words rule, according to Vince Hart, vice president of sales for Chicago-based Kehoe Designs. Hart, who plans from 60 to 70 mitzvahs during high season, which runs September though May, says "branding" and "apparel" are key.
“Today there are really only one or two options for favors—hoodies with their custom-printed logos, and pajama pants with the logo on the seat,” Hart notes. These message-branded pieces aren’t just totally trendy and a nice souvenir--they’re practical, too. “The great thing is that all the kids take their hoodies and pajamas to camp over the summer," Hart says, "and that is all they wear all day.”
STAY BUSY, STAY SAFE
Eve Deikel Wendel, creative director of Minneapolis-based Eve Events, plans only a handful of children's events a year. Yet she's firm on the rules: "If you don’t keep teens involved, they get bored, they wander and they get in trouble,” she says.
To keep kids out of mischief, Wendel incorporates ample entertainment into the event environment. In the past, this has included importing hot New York urban artists to her Midwestern kids’ events, including “dueling DJs” and an up-and-coming rapper.
To minimize the risk of contraband, crashers and other potential problems without crashing the fun, Wendel likes to incorporate a security element into the event theme and environment. Any event with a dance club or lounge element can include burly bouncers and thorough bag checks, which add to the authenticity of the theme while enhancing kids’ safety, she notes.
For the full story, see the May-June issue of Special Events.
Photo by iStockphoto.com / © Alexander Kosev