What’s a party without balloons?

Magicians have an expression we often use when we sing the praises of a magic trick. The expression is “Packs small, plays big.” It means that for a fraction of space in the bag of tricks (a valuable resource for a magician who travels from show to show), the effect has a big effect on the audience. So it is with balloons, they are inexpensive, and they have a big impact in setting the party mood. They are probably the most typical symbol of celebration. Balloons are used to decorate, like toys to play with, twisted into sculptures, even presented instead of flowers to brighten someone’s day.

The least expensive and easiest way to use balloons as toys and decorations for your party is to buy a bag of uninflated balloons, inflate them by mouth, and spread them around the party room. Kids will immediately turn them into volleyballs and hit them. An adult or older child can turn that activity into an official game, making teams or couples that try to keep their balloon airborne the longest. Balloons can also be taped to walls around the party room to make the room more festive looking.

Helium inflated balloons are welcomed additions to most parties. You can purchase balloons already inflated at most party stores. Keep in mind that helium inflated balloons can be a challenge to travel home with. For sure, they will block the view out the back of the minivan, and for some reason, these balloons seem to know that they have an excellent chance to escape your clutches and fly to the heavens as soon as you open the car door. Be ready for that. Many party stores also sell helium in a tank that you can buy or rent, take home and fill balloons yourself. It’s fun to try once or twice. Here’s a tip: have your string or ribbons cut to size and ready to go before you inflate the balloons, it’s hard to cut the ribbon holding an inflated helium balloon. If you have ceiling fans in the party room, you might want to forget helium-inflated balloons because you can always count on someone turning on the fan and at least one balloon and string getting tangled in the rotating fan blades.

Balloon animal twisting is an excellent addition to any party with kids. And there are many ways to incorporate them into your party. For starters, you can hire a balloon twister. Some balloon twisters are downright artists. Their sculptures win awards. Really. Twisters attend conventions with lectures, shows, and contests. Twisters are an interesting breed. You may hire a magician or a face painter who can also twist balloons for an added fee. Their creatures won’t be as unique or intricate as a twister’s, but they can usually twist a small variety of common requests like dogs, flowers, hats, etc. Just don’t expect them to create a Spiderman or motorcycle. Keep in mind that generally speaking, only one partygoer at a time is entertained when balloons are being twisted. The others either have their balloon already in hand or are waiting in line for their turn. That’s not an issue if the celebrants are patient mild-manner youngsters, but if they are rambunctious pre-teen boys who are all requesting swords, expect a lot of duels that can get out of hand quickly.

If you are interested in learning how to twist balloons, Jenny has a great website (thenymelrosefamily.com) that will teach you how to twist a balloon dog, a lovely balloon flower, and what seems to be every little boy’s request when I twist balloons, a balloon sword. Here’s the link: How to twist balloons.

You’ll need to get balloons. Qualatex 260’s are best and a pump. Please don’t think you can blow them up with your mouth. All you’ll do is blow off the top of your head.

Balloons and pumps are available from Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Qualatex-Traditional-Assortment-Biodegradable-100-Units/dp/B000GTLDIS/ref=asc_df_B000GTLDIS/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=295661513923&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=15463562347144223816&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1022879&hvtargid=aud-801381245258:pla-563091081242&psc=1

I don’t’ recommend you attempt to twist balloon sculptures at a large party, especially if you are by yourself. Consider trying it for a small party with just a handful of guests or at a sleepover. For a group of pre-teens, you might want to try teaching attendees how to twist a balloon dog. It’s a fun activity for a group of children who like to do things with their hands. The best tip I can provide is to have a large number of balloons inflated and ready to go before the guests arrive. Most hand pumps take a little too much time to inflate balloons. And you want each to have a balloon in hand when you begin. Also, anticipate breakage and have more than one for each guest.

I have two words of caution to share about balloons. Balloons are choking hazards. If you expect very young children who are still putting all manner of things in their mouths to be in attendance, make sure to have adult supervision or forget about balloons. Also, some people are allergic to latex the material most balloons are made of. It’s not the most common allergy, but some people are allergic. If you know that a guest has a latex allergy, don’t use latex balloons. You can still use mylar balloons. They are great for decorating.

For more tips to make your birthday party a success, click here.

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