Well i have been performing my magic show at children parties in London for over 20 years now and have performed at well over a 1000 children’s parties so have seen venues of all types, shapes and sizes so i like to consider myself quite well equipped to answer that question.
Now i do understand there are many considerations in finding the right place for a party and the numbers particularly is going to be a big factor. If you want to invite the whole class to the party then perhaps the lounge is not the best place for it but if you going to hire a venue then its probably best you really do give what that venue is some serious thought.
I have to say the nicest parties in my opinion are held at home. I know this often limits numbers but a party is a lot more personal at home, lounges make great little theatre’s, the kids are often a lot more comfortable on a carpet or cushion, chair or sofa than on the floor of a hall. There’s other rooms for smaller siblings or chattering adults to go (if for some crazy reason they don’t want to see the show) and obviously the catering, tea and coffee’s are so much easier.
Its also the cheapest place, you have your own music system, the parking is often easier and the set up and clear up is always easier in your own home. Overall the ambience is much nicer, its a lot more personal and the child really gets the feeling that their friends are coming to their home for their party.
I know not everyone has the facilities to have a children’s party at home but if you do my recommendation is that you do.
Often the younger kids (5-6 years olds) want to invite the whole class to their party and this often means a house party is really out of the question. Where this is the case really would examine the options thoroughly because different venues vary massively in suitability.
Church halls or village halls are often very good, reasonably priced, have all the kitchen equipment you need and have the loads of seating and tables. I do suggest you bring a nice sound system if you are going to play music and the type of music you play does affect the atmosphere greatly. Your standard children’s singalong party CD is probably not what any of them really wants to hear and if it was me i would compile a playlist of really nice music that i, the children and the adults would like to listen to on a computer or any other device and play it through the best sound system i could muster. Often its a good idea to ask the entertainer booked or any musician friends to help in this dept as hearing good quality music makes all the difference. This is something i can definitely help with.
The one thing you get with halls is space and its good to give the kids room to run around in. Having space often makes playing games easier and gives you a lot more options as to the games you do play. With halls you don’t have to worry about your ornaments nor mess and spillages and if you are organising a party with a lot of children its easy to see why parents want to do it. Function rooms in pubs and clubs can be good too. They are very similar to church halls but with a bar for the adults and beer all over the carpets! They possibly have music systems already and some have other facilities too such as stages and lights.
One issue with parties in one room is there is nowhere else for anyone to go. Often this is fine but if there are lots of people there not interested in a show such as a magic show because they are too young such as babies or younger siblings or because the adults just want to have a chat then they can make a noise and be very distracting.
In my case i really do try to get everyone there watching and getting engaged in the show and when they do it really is better for everyone.
One advantage in a house is that those not interested just go somewhere else, this is not the case in a hall.
Some people have parties in Restaurants, i’m not sure i’d recommend this really though i have performed at some good ones.Restaurants come in all shapes and sizes and serve cuisine of every style imaginable so theres no rule of thumb. In restaurants generally i prefer to perform close up magic circulating from table to table with my close up magic tricks but the show can also work well at parties if there is a room just for the party.
Having a party in a restaurant does often mean you have to pay top prices for every drink and bit of food, i’m not sure its very cost effective but i know many people have contacts with various restaurants so like to have their parties there and get very good deals when they do so.
There are actually many other places to have children’s parties, just looking at where i’ve been in the last few months, i’ve performed shows in sports clubs, leisure centres, horse riding centres, schools, offices, One o’clock clubs,, warehouses, parks, community gardens, scout huts, churches and synagogues. A reservoir, community centre’s, a football stadium boardroom, hotels and country houses. I do however go back to the beginning and say the place i would recommend above all others to have a children’s party is at home and that i certainly where i chose to have my own children’s birthday parties.