Clown party entertainer for a child's birthday partyEntertainment is an essential element of any child’s party. This can range from coloring printable pages, to making a fun craft, to age-old favorite games, to scavenger hunts. Often entertainment follows the theme of the party and takes up the majority of the time.

One of the ways that parents can cut their time spent planning activities is to hire one of the many entertainers that are available in their communities. Often, they are able to match and enhance your theme and provide fun. If you have the budget for it, and little time to plan, an entertainer may be the perfect solution.

An alternative to entertainers coming to your home is to take your party to an outside venue that will also provide the activities for the kids. This plan is very popular, as many parents don’t want to clean their homes before and after the party, and organize and implement the entertainment themselves.

One of the essential things you must consider when deciding on entertainment is how much space you have in your home. This will determine if you will host the party there or elsewhere. If you decide to have the party in your home and have a small space, this should not worry you, as there are certainly ways to manage the party-goers.

What entertainers are available for my party?—>


When planning your child’s party, there are many entertainer options available, including:

  • Clowns, who provide traditional entertainment and possibly balloon animals, face painting, and goody items.
  • Characters, such as Barney, Scooby Doo, and Elmo (These entertainers are licensed to wear the actual character costume that the company has created.)
  • Characters, such as purple dino, brown dog, and princess. (These entertainers are not licensed to wear the actual character costume, but their outfits look similar to the real character.)
  • Face painters
  • Magicians
  • Storytellers
  • Animal entertainers, such as reptiles, pony parties, and petting zoo animals
  • Puppeteers
  • Musicians

I have decided on the type of entertainer I want at my child’s party. What do I ask when I call the entertainer to determine which one is right for my party?


Once you have drawn up a list of entertainers, here are questions to ask the entertainer on your initial phone calls.

As an example, let’s say you have decided to hire a clown for your 4-year-old’s party:

  • What does your clown routine entail?
  • What do you consider your specialty?
  • Which age(s) is your show best geared for? Distinguish why you are the best entertainer for a 4-year-old’s party.
  • What is the length of your show?
  • What is the cost? Are there any extra fees, such as traveling fees to our home? Are there additional charges for more than “X” number of kids? Does the cost include anything more than the show? (As an example, the entertainer may include the cost of the balloon animals in the show, or he may not.)
  • Do you have references?
  • Can I come by another party to see your performance? (This may not be possible when you have a long list of entertainers, but when you have decided on one that appeals to you, it is helpful to see the entertainer at another show before making a final decision.)
  • What is the policy if you cannot make the performance? Is there a back-up entertainer on hand? How much notice do you give? What is your refund policy?
  • If I need to change the date or time of my party, is this possible?

What are some tips for hiring an entertainer?—>

  • Hire your entertainer as early as possible. Entertainer calendars book up quickly, especially around holidays and summer months. The earlier you know who you want to hire, the better.
  • Ask if there is a contract you need to sign and a deposit that needs to be paid. Make sure to complete the paperwork and pay in a timely manner to confirm your party’s entertainment.
  • Know what you are signing. Read over the paperwork carefully and make sure you understand what happens if your entertainer cannot attend your event.
  • Reconfirm your event with the entertainer a few days before the party. Specifically, review the exact time the entertainer will arrive and the flow of the party. As an example, if you will have the kids playing an outdoors game when the clown arrives, you may ask him to help round up the kids for the show. This is different to a plan that has the kids already in a group seated and ready to be entertained.
  • Discuss your expectations and understand what is going to take place during the entertainer’s routine so there are no surprises during the performance.

Reprinted with permission from Dear Peppers and Pollywogs . . . What Parents Want to Know About Planning Their Kids’ Parties, by Lisa Kothari (Peppers & Pollywogs Press, 2007);