Let’s Celebrate! Local party planners, vendors offer their tips

You’ve got the date, a rough idea of the guest list … now what? Don’t be intimidated, a few area party planners say. They’re in the business to make the big event easier.

Off site:

First, consider if you want to have the party at home or to go someplace special. The beauty of destination parties is that no-setup and cleanup thing. Many kids also have a favorite museum, restaurant or other destination that offers party packages.

Salon & Spa Kids takes the party-goers through a full spa day including manicures, pedicures, and makeovers, all while adhering to one of their many available themes, including princess, fashionista, and pop star. Their “Spa Day With A Twist” includes a dress-up portion where the party gets to dress up in theme and parade in their new costumes and pampering and the spa recently added a “Make Your Own” option that allows the kids to make their own sugar scrubs and shimmer lotions. Again, parents get to relax while the stylists take the reins on the party.

Other pre-planned party options include zoos, painting parties, ceramics workshops and more.

“Spa parties are huge right now,” owner Laura Campbell says. “Kids light up as soon as they get here, and the parents love that it’s all-inclusive so they don’t have to do anything at all. Normal salons aren’t really catered toward kids, but this is all about them.”

Off the device:

A lot of a parents still ask how they can make their child’s party stand out from other celebrations. In today’s digital world, an offline experience makes for a great day.

Magician Michael Cantori, known to partygoers as The Amazing Cantori, says kids are so connected these days that a magic show is even more of a treat. “I get a lot of comments from parents who are excited that their kids are actually getting a live performance, something in the here and now that’s three-dimensional,” he says. “They can’t just switch the channel. You’re giving them memories.” Murder mysteries, mini golf, laser tag and glass blowing are other hands-on options offered locally.

Off and running:

What if your kids aren’t intrigued by spas or magicians? It’s no surprise that places like Pikesville’s Bubala Indoor Playground has a full party-planning team. Some kids take their birthdays in stride — or on a trampoline. Owner Julie Doronina says that their party business is booming, because they cater to any theme and offer a range of activities. Another active option is Earth Treks, with locations in Timonium and Columbia. “Rock climbing is amazing and kids really seem to gravitate toward it,” says marketing director Tori Barnett. “And there’s more to it — it gives kids skills. They’re learning about problem-solving, teamwork and trust and forming a different bonds with their families and friends. It’s a birthday party, but there’s more meaning to it.”

— Rebecca Cohen and Kimberly Uslin

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