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Unique party favors, games, and entertainment

Peacock your party

for The Brooklyn Paper

Your child’s regularly scheduled piano lessons will be replaced by cram-sessions with Torah tutors, the party planner will become your new BFF, and don’t even think about popping in that second Rosetta Stone French CD — once you start planning a bar mitzvah, life as you knew it is, in fact, over.

But, not for your guests.

To them, this is a yet another fun outing squeezed into their already busy schedules. Your child’s friends are all around the same age and there can be two or three bar mitzvahs in one weekend — if not in the same day! Sometimes these parties can blend together, like when you mix a bunch of sodas together at a fountain, and after a while, it all just tastes like sugary goodness. Here’s how to make your party’s flavor as distinctive Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry:

Games, games, games!

Not everyone enjoys doing the Electric Slide, so while the DJ is spinning your child’s favorite songs, set up stations across the venue with all kinds of games. Valerie Truisi of The Main Event, an entertainment company, says at well-executed parties the games reflect the theme and always lead to a prize. For instance, bringing in a mid-sized, glow-in-the-dark basketball hoop would be great for a neon theme, an old-fashioned, strong-man arm wrestling contest works for a circus party, and a classic air hockey game where the winner wins tickets to an actual hockey game for a sports fan are all great ideas. Another option, for your guests who are not athletically inclined, is hiring a host to lead a live session of “Jeopardy,” “The Price is Right,” or “Wheel of Fortune.” Game and quiz shows are popular because everyone can participate and the questions can be customized for family jokes, the theme, and hometown trivia.

Something unexpected

Surprise your guests! Spencer Kramer, president of A Hot Mitzvah and A Hot Party, once helped a family set up a 12-foot tall, oversized yellow smiley face at a bar mitzvah. The smiley itself measured eight feet and had a bright red tongue coming out of it and guests were encouraged to shoot fist-sized beanbags into it. Kramer says the smiley was a success because it was something no one anticipated.

“The way to design a creative station is more in the customization of the station,” he says. “You could take a typical game station and add something new to revitalize it.”

Paint stations

Small children love to get their faces painted at the county fair, but kids’ fascination with paint doesn’t end at age 5. Today, party planners can help you set up a station where guests can customize their own item — shirts and apparel, usually — with non-stick paint. Of course, there’s usually a professional artist behind the booth to ensure the children receive something beautiful and that the parents won’t have to deal with a mess after. Each item, like a shirt, can be also be branded with the bar mitzvah child’s party logo, or hosts can leave the design up to the guests, allowing them to create the ultimate, personal party favor.

Photo favors

Most prefer Instagram and Facebook uploads to Polaroids and disposable cameras, but having a physical object to hold will prove most memorable. A picture’s worth a thousand words, and years from now, photos will transport everyone who attended your child’s party back to that night. To give your guests and your child this gift, arrange a planner to set up a photo booth where images can be instantly printed and framed. Like the painted shirts, you can choose to place your child’s party logo on the frame or leave the design up to each guest. Most companies that provide these services, like The Main Event, allow guests to take an unlimited amount of photos and place each one inside colorful and customizable frames.

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