Monday, June 20, 2011

Firefighter Birthday Party

We just planned this fabulous party at the New York Fire Museum last week. It was a spectacular party and all 30 kids had  a blast!
There were balloon artists, face painters, cupcake decorating (with lots of candy eating), and a firefighter to lead the 4 year-olds through a series of drills and activities!
This beautiful birthday cake made to look like the birthday boy and his dog.
The little firefighters had to stay hydrated with all that activity so we picked out these fabulous fire hydrant water bottles to keep them well watered!
All children became fire fighters when they dawned their fire chief hats and their snazzy personalized fire fighter jackets.
The room was decorated with balloons and a beautiful personalized birthday banner.
Grown ups and children alike decorated their arms and faces with colorful and glittery paints.
The children bounced all though out the party!
And all that was left on the floor was a pile of shoes.
It was quite a spectacle to see!
Long colorful tubes were part of the obstacle course during the children’s fire training.
And no child went home empty handed! They each had a bag with their uniforms, a fireman book and a cute dalmatian dog.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Press: Party Pooper? More kid birthday invites specify “No gifts please”

We were just written about on the "Retail me Not Insider"! Read the story below or visit the article here.

Invitations stating “your presence is our present” for engagement parties, anniversary celebrations, and other adult-oriented bashes isn’t new, but lately we’re starting to see “No gifts, please!” on birthday party invites for the 10 and under set, too. What’s next? A ban on Pin the Tail on the Donkey? A moratorium on piñatas?
We spoke with Linda Kaye, a top party planner in New York who’s put together kiddie festivities at the Central Park Zoo and the American Museum of Natural History, to hear her take on the trend.

“Presents are a big part of birthday celebrations. To tell a child, even up to an 8-year-old, that ‘We are going to donate your presents to a charity’ or ‘We are not going to have presents,’ it’s difficult for them to understand. It’s confusing. They see other kids having presents at their parties,” she says. Kaye feels that once a child is 9, he or she can help with the planning. If the child has an interest in animals, for example and wants to ask friends to help donate money toward a particular animal shelter, the request for donations in lieu of presents makes more sense. Even then, though, Kaye suggests allowing the child to have a choice: Would they prefer gifts or would they like to mention their love of this charity to their friends?

Many parents feel that their kids have an overabundance of possessions, and they don’t want their child tearing into 25 wrapped gifts just to end up with a giant mass of stuff. To cut down on the clutter and offer a lessen in giving, some parents spend time before the party helping their child pack up older, no-longer-used toys in good condition to donate to a local charity. Kaye insists, though, that there’s nothing wrong with a child wanting presents on their special day, and that developmentally it’s just too much to ask them to forgo such a cherished ritual enjoyed by most of their peers.

A party trend Kaye does approve of? Not opening presents during the get-together. “It’s rushed,” she explains, which makes it hard for the birthday boy or girl to truly appreciate each gift. “And some children may bring something less important [to the party boy or girl]” and feelings can get hurt.

To make opening presents more meaningful, Kaye suggests having a treasure hunt with your child after their party has ended and it’s just family. Hide the gifts, then leave clever clues throughout your house to the location of each present. As the birthday child finds a present, he or she can unwrap it and even take a photo to send along in the thank-you note. Other families choose not to open all the gifts on the same day as a way to control the process—and to cut down on the chaos!

If you have time, come up with another way to extend the party. Kaye and her team have last-minute games at the ready, like bringing out a big jar filled with jellybeans. Each child guesses how many are in the jar, then everyone gathers around to count it out.  The kid who gets closest wins a prize, and everyone gets to be involved and have fun—without any bruised feelings.

What do you think? Are presents a key part of birthday celebrations or do you approve of the “no presents, please” trend for kids’ celebrations? Do you like opening presents at a party, or afterward?
Andrea Pyros is a freelance writer and mother of two who lives in New York's Hudson Valley.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pulice Museum Superhero Party

Our Police Museum Parties are truly one-of-a-kind. We just
celebrated a special someone’s 4th birthday yesterday with a guest appearance of
a Superhero. The party was a total hit and the children were thrilled to have a
superhero among them.

The Police Museum offers a few different parties:
  • Superhero Party 
  • McGruff and the Case of the Missing Birthday Cake        
  • Police Academy Boot Camp Party
  • Scavenger Hunt                                                                
  • Who-Done-It Movie Making Party                                    
  • “Breaking News” Movie Making Party
  • And for the younger ones: Junior Discovery Zone

As guests arrive in the beautifully decorated birthday room, they are enlisted in the police academy by getting
measured, finger printed and receive a name badge.

Then they go through a series of warm up exercises that we call boot camp. A few obstacle courses, running through a tube and jumping inside hula hoops.

In yesterday’s birthday party, the Superhero taught the children some superhero powers of his own.

The children had decorated their own Superhero capes so they passed superhero's training with flying colors.

The superhero leads the children through a scavenger hunt through the museum in search of a special treasure, a birthday crown for the birthday child.

They search up and down, high and low, round and round in the different halls of the museum, after a very funny visit to jail, they finally find the crown and the birthday child is crowned.

Hungry tummies then proceed to the birthday party room where their coronation feast awaits them, lunch and birthday cake!

And with all goodbyes, we always send our little guests off with a bag of goodies.

Police Museum Parties can be held weekdays and weekends. Superhero parties can include the superhero of your child’s choice.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Grand TD Bank Opening

Adding festivity to a Grand Opening has been the mantra of TD Bank.  For the last ten years we have added that spark of excitement to openings in Connecticut, Pensylavania, New Jersey , New York and Queens.  This past week-end we sent a troop of performers to Washington DC to celebrate the openings in three locations. Stiltwalkers, shoe shiners, cigar rollers, sign spinners, caricaturists, and balloon artists presented their skills to the passerbys as three new locations inaugurated their openings.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Partymakers on CNN

Partymakers is on CNN. Click here to read on or continue reading for full article.

Don't kill the birthday guest

By Katia Hetter, Special to CNN
May 24, 2011 9:05 a.m. EDT
(CNN) -- The job of a children's birthday party host seems straightforward: Thomas the Tank Engine or princess theme? Traditional yellow cake with icing or ice cream cake? Jelly beans or arts and crafts in the gift bags?
To which we suggest a modern twist: Don't kill any of your guests.
For the gracious host, it's simply good etiquette. Sandra Beasley, author of the upcoming "Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales From an Allergic Life" (Crown Books, July 2011), had to refuse most childhood birthday cakes because they could have killed her.
She stood on the sidelines at her best friend's 10th pasta-making birthday party when she saw that the ingredients included eggs, which make her throat swell shut.

"One of the biggest misconceptions is that people with food allergies want the whole event to accommodate their allergies," Beasley said.
"We will martyr ourselves rather than eat anything. A lot of people don't consider how socially embarrassing it can be. When I get hives around my eyes, people think they've made me start to cry. It doesn't make for a fun picnic."

If your child doesn't have allergies, there's a good chance one of your child's friends does. And that child will eventually appear at your home for a birthday party. About 4% of children have food allergies, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC reports that the eight most common food allergens in the United States, which account for more than 90% of the country's allergies, are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.
Before you freak out that your cake could kill someone, know there is help. Most of your guests don't need every dish to be allergy-free. They just need a few options. Many supermarkets now have more options, and so do cookbooks. (If the mere presence of a particular food could harm a child, a parent should tell you.)
Pure Knead bakery owner Michelle Kelly gets a lot of business from parents of kids with allergies and parents who buy just a few cupcakes for their birthday guests with allergies.
Kelly started her Decatur, Georgia, company a year ago after she couldn't find safe food for her now 7-year-old son, who is allergic to gluten, dairy and soy.

"We have so many parents who bring their children here," said Kelly, whose bakery is free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts and shellfish (another common allergen). "I put out samples of four or five products, and the kids all look at their mothers tentatively for permission. They get to have that 'bakery experience' here."
Let's think of those little guests, those kids who don't get to sample cookies at Costco or cupcakes at the local bakery. That's a little kid you're asking to choose his health over that pasta or creamy ice cream. Imagine that with a few changes, you could be the superhero parent that will make these kids feel less like outsiders in your home.

Start with the invite
Veteran children's party planner Linda Kaye suggests including a sentence asking that the RSVP include any dietary restrictions. "This is a gracious way of saying that you would like to be sure to include something in the refreshment menu that would be allergy free," said Kaye, owner of Linda Kaye's Birthdaybakers Partymakers in Manhattan. "It's a thought very much appreciated by parents who have children with allergies."

Easy food fixes
Depending on the allergy, consider serving some nondairy sorbet or gluten-free pastries. Provide easily identifiable foods like pretzels or watermelon that won't be obscured in trail mix or fruit salad. (This will help smaller kids who have a hard time knowing what's safe.) Save any packaging from prepared foods so parents can read the list of ingredients for allergens.

Accept help
If contacted by the parent of an allergic child who wants to bring a safe dish, accept it graciously and place it amid the buffet. Do not stress that it doesn't match your food theme. Inclusiveness is more important. You might even allow that child to go first so they can be sure to get some of their special dish.
"I always come with a cupcake or something else that I make or get at a bakery," said Seattle mom Becky Moore, whose 8-year-old son has allergies to eggs, peanuts and sesame seeds.
"When people say 'Don't worry about it, I'm making the cake with the egg replacer stuff,' I totally appreciate it."
Building trust
Don't assume that kids who are old enough to be dropped off will always make the right choices. Have a quiet conversation with the parent about a child's allergies in front of the child at drop-off.
Children are taught to trust their friends' parents, but kids with allergies know that some adults don't understand their allergies. So make sure you understand what to do or tell the parent if you don't.

Party games
If you have a piñata or games with prizes, include nonfood prizes. (With the CDC reporting that 17% of children are obese and childhood obesity is on the rise, not every reward needs to be food anyway.)

Party favors
If any guests have severe allergies, make sure the gift bag snacks are wrapped, so they don't contaminate nonfood treats. Or consider going food-free in the gift bags. Beasley couldn't play with a toy that had been contaminated.

Extra credit
Make or buy a "safe" cake or cupcakes if you have a bakery nearby. You could also make a delicious Sandra-friendly chocolate cupcake that kids and adults all might like. Here's a recipe, courtesy of Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats in Washington, D.C., which made it for a wedding Beasley attended.
Going the extra mile creates a lot of love for parents who are always striving to give their kids a "normal" birthday party experience. Pure Knead's Kelly can still remember one friend's graciousness toward her son.
"The birthday child was having a dog-themed party," she said. "They had a cake made in the shape of their dog's head, and a separate cake for my son made in the shape of a dog's bone with an icing bow on top. It was amazing for my child. It was amazing for me as a parent."
For more tips on having an allergy-safe party, please go to

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Partymakers on TV Land's Best Night In

If you missed the Ultimate Children's Birthday Party on Best Night in, look no further! We have a clip to share with you with Linda Kaye and Pastry Chef Sara Pereira on how to decorate and bake some of the delicious treats on Linda Kaye's Bake-a-Cake Party Book.