Updated: Sep 14, 2021
When I look back at the last few months it’s clear to see that the entire world has turned upside down. 6 months ago walking into a bank with a mask on would have gotten you arrested, but now it’s the law. And that’s not the only thing that has changed. For me, one of the biggest groups that have had their lives changed are children. Most haven’t been to school since march, and some of the biggest events of children's lives have had to be cancelled or postponed due to lockdown. Birthday parties are a prime example of this. A key event in any child’s social calendar, birthday parties have been non-existent up until recently when guidelines changed to allow some events. Now parents have the hard task of figuring out how to arrange a children’s birthday party whilst meeting all the vague guidelines that are currently in place. The good news is though that certain performers are perfectly suited to the new guidelines – magicians! And here is why magicians are perfect for post lockdown children's parties.
Magicians can perform outdoors
One of the biggest concerns that people have is where to hold the party. A lot of venues haven’t opened fully yet, and people have no idea about how many people are allowed in each venue or what the policies are regarding other aspects of a party like food. One venue though has minimal restrictions – the great outdoors. Since the government allowed outdoor performances it’s now possible to hold parties outside in public places such as parks, fields or open spaces (with permission from the landowner of course).
While meeting up with your friends outside is nice it isn’t exactly a party. Parties need entertainment and one of the best choices for a post lockdown outdoors party is a magic show. A temporary “stage” can be set up and your child can be entertained in a minimal risk environment with everyone spread out into socially distanced bubbles. Masks aren’t needed and there is no need to worry about kids running up and down as the great magic show will keep them occupied and glued to their seats in awe. It also looks a lot more impressive to other parents that they arrive to see a show, instead of sitting in a park watching the kids go crazy! You can invite parents to bring along a little picnic and blanket and make it more of a meal and a show! (As a side note: a lot of people like to compete with others and not that I’m advocating this, but it does look good to walk up to a party where theres a stage area, seating and seeing kids excited about a show!)
(A pre-covid outdoor show)
Magicians can perform online
The outdoors option is a good idea, especially now that things are opening up more, but there are still concerns about safety and bubbles. Lots of people are putting out conflicting advice about who you can meet and who you shouldn’t meet. Some people may not feel safe about going into crowded areas and wouldn’t feel comfortable taking their children to a party. But there are other options for celebrating your child’s birthday. Like everything else nowadays there is always the option to do an online party. Using software like Zoom it’s now possible to get all your friends together for a party where they can all see each other, chat even play games online and have a virtual party. But one of the things to consider with this is that leaving kids to their own devices online will last about 5 minutes before they wander off.
To make your party last and keep the kids entertained, I’d recommend hiring a childrens magician to do a short show via zoom for your child and their friends. That way they get to meet their friends virtually and still get entertained. Online magic shows can be personalised and still very interactive. The children can speak with each other, play games and even chat on the message board and get involved with the show – all from the comfort of their own homes. There’s no need to worry about social distancing and bubbles etc, they can just sit back and enjoy the show. One thing that makes magic the perfect entertainment for online parties is that magicians like myself have tailored their shows to be specifically online. The online version of my show is different to the live show as its designed to work with the restrictions of a camera and a virtual audience. Using my years of experience I’ve been able to adjust each trick that it works as a virtual show and gives people the sense they’ve actually watching a live show that they can get involved in!
(A screenshot from one of my bedtime stories with me and Charlie)
There is another advantage to hiring a magician for an online show – they are normally cheaper than hiring them to perform outdoors. There are a lot less costs involved for a magician so they can reduce their price which makes it a better option if you are on a budget.
Magic shows work in socially distanced environments
Let’s be honest. Social distancing is a pain. Even for adults it’s clear to see that walking through Asda (or Walmart for the odd American that’s reading this article) people struggle to follow the basic rules of social distancing. A few weeks ago I was in a superstore and walked past the reduced section as it was being restocked. Needless to say social distancing went out the window as people clambered over each other to get 10p off some ready-made noodles. This got me thinking, how can we expect children to follow social distancing when we can’t even do it ourselves as adults.
That’s why I find it good to have a magic show at a children’s party. There are many reasons why magic shows promote good social distancing. This is because when booking a show with myself I will send through guidelines as to how people should sit at one of my shows. I encourage people to sit in family bubbles, each bubble socially distanced from the next one so that people can relax and watch the show without concern about others getting too close. I even bring spots to help mark out seating areas for people. This way there is little stress for families.
This is all well and good of course, but what's the point of encouraging people to sit in groups. We all know that children are excitable bundles of energy that love to bounce around, especially at a party. How on earth do you expect them to socially distance at a birthday party? That is where having a magic show comes in useful. Magic shows are a focal point for the children. For the 45 minutes of the show their eyes are glued to the stage. I make sure that my show is engaging and will keep little ones (and adults) occupied. There is another reason why I ask people to sit in family bubbles – the parents. Having a child sitting with their family members promotes both good behaviour and makes the magic show a family event.
Recently I realised that I had more enjoyment seeing my child enjoying a show then I did of the actual show myself. By sitting children with their families in groups it means that not only do the parents encourage them to stay where they are but also brings the whole family into the entertainment and the grown ups get to enjoy seeing their little ones laugh and enjoy the show. It also encourages people to socially distance without them realising it. By sitting in their families it actually makes people want to stay in their group and not go to others, making people comply with social distancing without realising it. Having a focal point like a magic show at a party encourages people to socially distance without it being forced on them.
Magic is interactive without interaction
I realise that sounds a bit confusing but let me explain. Think back to the last pre-COVID party you went to. Whether there was a magician there or a general entertainer the whole party revolves around interacting with others. From high fives to playing tag, people are encouraged to interact at parties. With social distancing and guidelines as they are at the moment these things aren’t encouraged. This kind of takes all the fun out of a party so the question arises, how exactly can you make a party fun without the close up interaction that we’ve all come to expect.
This is where a magic show comes in useful, especially one that has been redesigned since COVID. Personally I have spent weeks re-writing my magic show. The show that I now take to parties is completely different to the ones I used to tour. To ensure social distancing and everyone’s safety I have temporarily cut bringing people up onto the stage with me, throwing things out into the audience etc. I won’t lie – it was incredibly upsetting as I ended up getting rid of a lot of my favourite bits of my show, but I’ve replaced them with new material that is funny, magical and entertaining – and most importantly interacts with the audience without the need for them to get up and get close, bump into others – shout out loud etc. While the close-up interaction is temporarily gone, the show is still personal, and children and adults can have a connection with the show and still feel involved whilst sitting in their seats. I can’t think of many other entertainers who are able to do this to a high standard which is why it makes a magic show a great choice for your next party.
Magic shows have great hygiene and sterilisation practices
Since the start of COVID, like many others I have had to reconsider what I can offer. Many party entertainers can’t perform yet as what they offer doesn’t promote social distancing or is effective at managing cross contamination etc. Part of my business is affected by this. One of the services I have temporarily had to pause offering is circus workshops. While I can sterilise everything before I bring it out, it is impossible for me to prevent cross contamination during a workshop where people throw things to one another or pick up a plate someone else has used. The same can be said for many other entertainers. Arts and crafts can’t work well, nor can play equipment or traditional party hosts. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to have entertainment at your party as a magic show is a viable option that promotes good hygiene.
From the moment I enter the venue to do a magic show everything that I do is designed to promote good hygiene practices. Before I even arrive at the venue, every item that I use is cleaned/sterilised so that by the time I arrive at your venue I can set up with the confidence that there is minimal risk to you. When I arrive at the venue, I will set up a dedicated stage area that is separate to the area where the audience is. From this moment on, everything is kept separate from the audience. There is very little opportunity for cross contamination in a magic show. The show can go on and be packed away with very little chance for someone to come into contact with one of my props. I also take extra precautions to ensure no cross contamination. During the show and set up I wear a visor and during the show I use a microphone so there is no need to shout and raise my voice – which is currently against guidelines. All this is done without affecting the quality of the show so that your guests get amazing entertainment without realising the extra precautions that have gone into making the show extra safe for you and your guest.
Magic shows please venues
I realise this is probably last thing on your list when it comes to planning a birthday party, but a sit down magic show can reassure a venue and persuade them to let you book them for a party. Currently for many venues it is a bit of a grey area when it comes to opening up. Venues have been told by various organisations that they can open for entertainment, but most are understandably nervous about opening up to parties. As venues may be held responsible the volunteers who organise these venues may not want to put themselves at risk of getting into trouble or becoming the latest hotspot. They may need extra convincing to let you hire their hall and having a sit down show like a magic show could help persuade them to let you hire the venue.
Venues are being strict as to what they will allow. Many now are only allowing sit down shows with no food etc. While this isn’t perfect, it still allows you to have some sort of party with their friends in a socially responsible way, especially now that winter is coming and the weather is turning. Putting on a “private magic show” allows you to celebrate your child’s birthday and as it’s classed as a show it follows a lot of the guidelines that managers are setting for their venues. This is where it differs from a traditional party as magic shows can be classed as a sit down show and with supporting evidence, they seem a lot safer option for venues.
One of the reasons to book someone like myself for a magic show is that I’ve developed a pack of information that is designed for private venues to assure them that everything has been planned. From provisional seating plans/staging to risk assessments and safe systems of work, when booking one of my magic shows these are available to venues so they know that we will take every precaution possible when booking their venue. Unfortunately this isn’t a guarantee that they will let you hire the venue, but booking a professional magic show with supporting documents like mine can reassure them that you are taking steps to work with them and support their needs.
And that’s basically it. These are the reasons why I think it’s a good idea to have a magic show at your next party. If this is something that you are thinking about or if you have any questions about post lockdown parties then please get in touch using the contact form on this site. I’m a professional family magician working in Essex with over a decade of experience entertaining people. If you are looking for entertainment for your next childrens birthday party then take a look at what Magic Dave can offer!