Problems with Theme Parties and Solutions to Make them Better
Over the past 25 years, I have been at many 1st birthday theme parties and seen many problems with the planning of the event. I will explain some of the main problems that occur when having a themed party. These problems occur both in the private parties and at major corporate events.
The Main Problem with a Theme Party
The number one problem at a theme party is that the theme is just too broad in scope. Parents will select a topic of “Princess Theme Party”, but Disney has six to seven different princesses. Each princess has its own cast of charters along with its own story. The best advice I can give is to select a specific princess, this way you can tailor the party to a specific look and feel. By selecting a specific princess, you can decorate the room in a specific color and not have 20 different colors. Focus the theme around the movie and not just the “Princess Theme”. Food, music and colors will be easier to incorporate into the theme design along with making it easier for the guest to get into the spirit of the theme.
Corporate parties imply a theme in their invitations, but the corporation is trying to be so clever that the theme is lost. Themes like going for the gold, or reaching for the stars— but still people will question; why are people in gold outfits walking around the room? Why is that person in a space suite? Be direct with your invite and say, “The party theme is going for the gold, please wear some gold accessories.” You are not asking people to dress up in gold attire, but to participate in the event which helps mentally build a correlation between the entertainers walking around in the gold suits and the theme of the party.
Parties that include Costumes
Hollywood, over the decades glorified theme parties with people wearing outlandish costumes and for some bizarre reason we think our party will turnout the same. Sadly, that only happens in the movies.
Even little things like expecting guests to wear a simple Mardi Gras mask will fail. When it comes to costumes, people just do not like to dress up—unless it is Halloween and even then, you will get people who will do the minimal. I have seen Western theme parties, which is just wearing blue jeans and a flannel shirt fail. Guest show up with a polo shirts and khaki pants, so my advice is do not waist the time thinking about getting your guest to wear or dress in any particular theme.
If this is a corporate party, do not expect to see the Vice President of Marketing running around in costume.
Theme parties are very common for a professional balloon entertainer. When hired for these events, I have to explain to the customer that many people will request things that are not on the theme. I was working in a trade show booth Las Vegas, at a Chiropractic convention, and the owner insisted that I make human spines. Now, put yourself in a Chiropractic position–you work all day working with spines, the last thing you want is a balloon sculpture of a spine.
If you are hiring a skilled entertainer and you want them to dress in costume, expect to pay a premium price. Professional entertainers have custom clothing, special pockets, and a trade mark look. For them to change that it may sound easy, but mentally and physically the entertainer is out of the “norm”. So do not be surprised if the entertainer requires more money to meet your specific requirements. Keep in mind, only in the movies does an entertainer have access to 100’s of costumes.
Kids at a Theme Party
When working with kids, they do not always like the same thing. They all have their favorite animals and cartoon charters. What complicates things further are parents, who ignore the theme totally and will insist on the child’s favorite character or colors. Best you can do is have generic prizes for the guest and leave the theme out of the prize selections.
Its a Party
Keep in mind that this is a party and the theme is their to create a fun atmosphere– that is , relax and make the party fun and people will have a great time. Think like Disney–create an atmosphere that is spectacular and it won’t matter what the guest wear, eat, or dink. They will be having too much fun to care.
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