Planning a birthday party but unsure where to go or what to do? Consider staying home and have the party delivered to you. Here's a sampling of popular services that organize and entertain your guests, leaving you time to enjoy the party.
For the sweet tooth
Casey Dyson, baker, owner and operator of CookieRide, delivers a fabulous cookie party to your door by way of scooter. Party guests assemble precut cookie houses, gingerbread or sugar flavored, complete with icing, candy decorations and a take-home box.
Ann Rossmark, of Columbia, hosted a gingerbread party for her children, who range in age from 4 to 12.
"They had a great time," says Rossmark. "Casey made the frosting and helped with everything, even cleanup. She's professional, and everything was nicely done."
Dyson, a former baker at Touché Touchet bakery in Columbia, takes pride in her healthful family-recipe cookies. "I can pronounce the names of all my ingredients, and I feel quite comfortable handing them out to children," she says.
$9 per person. For an additional jewelry craft, add $5 per person. Ages 6 and up; six person minimum.
Turn your home into a science lab
There's a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) surge in our nation's schools, educating and preparing students for careers in science. Why not introduce your little Einstein to the world of science through bubbling potions and sticky slime?
Future scholars and partygoers are amazed and entertained by an on-site mad scientist specializing in a "wow" variable of interactive fun. Safe demonstrations showcase air pressure, chemical reactions and electricity. Participants are guided through a take-home experiment.
$250 for up to 10 guests. Ages 6-12. Note: Baltimore City and Baltimore County residents may incur additional traveling expense.
Great Kids Events
Safari, game show, astronaut, dinosaur, cheerleading, detective, magic, spa, luau and superhero are just a few of the party theme options that Great Kids Events will deliver to your door, complete with related crafts, activities and goody bags.
For up to 15 children, ages 1-14. One-hour party is $295. Two-hour party, which includes food service, favors and other extras, is $450.
For an in-home arcade
Rolling Video Games
If your child is a video game enthusiast, get ready for a gaming thrill on wheels.
Rolling Video Games parks in front of your house and hosts your birthday party in its entertainment truck, loaded with the latest gaming systems — Wii, XBox and PlayStation — and most popular games.
Gamers will delight in the decked-out theater, furnished with high-def high-tech equipment, wide-screen TVs and comfy seating, with space for up to 16 players at a time. A gaming coach remains on-site to coordinate level of play and fun.
Janice Barnes, of Catonsville, celebrated her 9-year-old son's birthday with 24 boys in attendance. None of the boys had seen anything like it. "My son had an awesome time, and when he returned to school the following week, all the boys in his class could not stop talking about it," she says.
One-hour parties are $279. Two-hour parties, which include Evite or 20 postcard invitations, are $374. Advance reservation of eight weeks recommended.
Good Time Amusements delivers the flash factor to your party. With a range of fun to accommodate your budget, your guests can bounce, slide, mosey or spin their way to an all-out good time.
Princesses and superheroes alike enjoy themed moon bounces and slides, beginning at $150 and $350, respectively. Slight cowpokes, under 100 pounds, can ride a pony for $200 per hour. Future astronauts, age 6 and up, may take a spin on the Gyro Space Ball, for $400-$700, with a two-hour minimum.
Serving families and community events for 15 years, Sam Kern of Good Time Amusements, based in Glen Burnie, suggests parents know what may be required of them. Electricity and ventilation are important for inflatable set-up. Be aware an open area near your yard or home may appear ideal, but you may require a permit to use the space.
Adult supervision is always required. "There are lots of options, depending on what you want to do and whether you need us to attend," says Kern.
Take tag to the next level
A year-round service, TagParty brings laser and water tag to you. Parents are encouraged to sit back while two tag team coordinators manage the fun.
Silver Spring resident David Halpern used TagParty twice and raves about the service. "The most awesome thing about it is that she takes the kids while you and your adult guests visit," he says. "She deals with them, and when they come back, two hours later, they are ecstatic and had a blast."
Guests use infrared taggers to tag their opponents, or wear vests for water tag.
Full-service party package includes coordinators, infrared laser or water equipment, barriers and hides, refreshments and photography. After a 10-minute instruction session, guests are prepared for several games of tagging fun.
Ages 8 and up. Up to 16 players, 1.5-hour party, $295. Up to 24 players, Two-hour party, $375.