When to book?I tend to book 2-3 months in advance. But then, my children have birthdays around Christmas, which I assume is going to be a busy period, plus I want the worry of whether something is booked or not out of the way so I can worry about other things! Of course, what with all the other notable times throughout the year such as Easter, Midsummer, Halloween, Bonfire Night, etc, it’s never going to be safe to assume it’s not a busy period.

The other things to consider are any ‘local factors’. For example, if many of the intended guests are in groups such as Cubs, Scouts, Brownies, Guides, etc, then you need to check that it’s not the Pack Camp or similar that weekend! Similarly, you may need to check that the local dance groups aren’t putting on a show that weekend, the swimming team isn’t away at a tournament or the local Pony Club isn’t off at a show!

Who do you book? Sometimes, especially with younger children, they want the same as Freddie in their class. The same party, the same entertainer, everything. Depends on your point of view, but to my mind, there’s nothing wrong with hiring the same entertainer, if that’s what the child wants. If they did a good job last time, chances are they will this time. You can always vary the games, the food and the decorations.

If you want someone new, look in the local papers or maybe ask the people you are booking the hall with. Of course, don’t forget Google – a search for “Archery Party” brings ups a number of sites such as this one, Amazing Archery, who, while they’re based in Chippenham, have a mobile service and are willing to travel. Other areas have similar services – these just happen to be the ones we used at a successful party in the past.

Plus, ask around – a personal recommendation is worth a lot and you may get some idea/themes that you’ve not considered. Once you’ve got some contacts, give them a call/have a chat with the would-be entertainer. For example, my favorite DJ told me he would turn the volume down below his usual because the children were Infant age; I didn’t need to suggest anything to him. If they sound fun, gregarious, entertaining, they probably are. If they have lots of rules and regulations, watch out!

Price – there’s probably limited flexibility here as in practice they mostly charge more or less the same unless they are coming out of area, in which case traveling costs need to be considered – but do get a quote rather than assuming that would rule anyone out. Also, if you time your party such that they can still book an evening event, it should keep the price down for you – discuss it with the entertainer, as a small shift in the schedule for you might be enough to make a significant difference to them.