Set the stage to party

[attach]6048[/attach]Party planning is inevitably part of a parent’s to-do list, whether it’s for a birthday, the end of the school year or a neighbourhood gathering.

While there are wonderful facilities that take the party work and mess out of your home, there really isn’t anything quite like opening your doors and bringing the party to you.

“As a parent I always enjoyed planning my kids’ birthday parties with them,” says Diane Hamilton, VP of Corporate Sales for Amazing Party and Costume, Canada’s largest party store. “They would help with the planning, shopping and decorating. I really liked the way they would get involved.”

After working in the field for over 20 years, Hamilton has seen a noticeable shift in the last five years.

“Parties are no longer simple, people like to have a theme,” she says. “For example where we used to carry just a few disco items, now there are cut-outs, hanging disco balls and costumes to match.”

Television and movies tend to shape what kids want and party stores are filled with supplies to bring the theme right into your home.

“In the past if a child wanted a Spiderman theme they would have to go to a movie theatre and watch the movie but now Mom can buy it and bring it home,” says Hamilton.

While there is much to be said for the ease of taking your party off-site, like no pre and post-party cleaning, no cooking and no broken dishes, keeping the party at home is much more personal and fun. Hamilton takes a lot of enjoyment from watching party planners light up as they explore her store and their one-of-a-kind house party begins to take shape.

“It really engages people’s imaginations and they get so excited. It taps into their creativity and makes it fun.”

As the selection of supplies has expanded, costs have gone down and it really does not take a huge investment to make a party theme shine through. Hamilton recommends scene setters that can set the stage for under $20.

“They roll out to be 30-40 feet long and have fantastic graphics to make your room or backyard look like a beach, jungle or disco floor. The quality of the images is great and they sell for around $16.”

With the boom in the party planning industry, Hamilton says decorations for almost any theme — from luau to the Queen’s Jubilee — can be found.

“The sky really is the limit,” says Hamilton.