Seattle School Carnivals: 2014 Planning Edition

Mechanical Tilted Swing ride at an awesome carnival!

Seattle School District’s last day of school is June 19th. Prior to releasing students for the summer, most schools choose to hold a School Carnival to celebrate the end of the year with some fun. Last year, we focused on planning carnival rentals, so this year we are going to focus more on individual options for those rentals. Seattle School District has cracked down harder on their ‘no inflatable policy’, so alternative options are more important than ever. Over the years, we have increased our selection of non-inflatable rentals specifically to provide more options for school carnivals. Let’s highlight a few of the best options;

Carnival Challenge Games

These challenging carnival games are the perfect addition or replacement to any existing rented inflatables your school might have.  Carnival game rentals can range from Classic Ring Toss to new wacky variations such as the Cow Milking Competition.  Carnival challenge games have the added benefit of rewarding participants with prizes when they accomplish the given task.  PTAs love the incredible value that carnival games offer, with rental prices typically allowing three or four games in place of one inflatable. The addition of a variety of games is guaranteed to add a great level of depth to your event and the kids will love all the different options.

Mouth-Watering Concessions

Make the Carnival Experience real by adding the sweet and salty flavors of a true big-top experience.  Concession rentals are easy enough to rent, use, and return so you don’t have to worry about the high purchase price of the machines. Kids go crazy for cotton candy and the snack will keep their spirits and energy high for the whole carnival.  If you prefer salty over sweet, rental popcorn machines are always a great healthier alternative.  The benefits of renting concession machines go beyond cost savings, there is the added ‘no-hassle’ clause that means you don’t have to clean the machine prior to returning it. The cleaning service is included in the cost of the rental. If you are looking for ways to monetize your school carnival to offset the cost or raise money, selling concessions for a few dollars each can cover the cost of the rental and then some.

Water Wizardry

No school carnival is complete without soaking your principal in the dunk tank! Unfortunately, dunk tanks fall under risk managements definition of dangerous due to the risk of drowning. Fortunately there are several awesome dunk tank alternatives. Our favorite dunk tank alternative is the Splash Blast. This highly portable unit soaks the participant almost as thoroughly as a true dunk tank. It makes an impressive noise and show of water sprays when the target is hit.  There are a few other risk-management approved water rental options that you can learn more about, but we highly recommend the Splash Blast. Of course, with Seattle’s weather, you might not even need a water attraction!

Mechanical Mayhem

True carnivals have true carnival rides. We call these spinning, moving, and swinging contraptions mechanical rides.  Surprisingly, because the ride experience is controlled and participants are strapped in, most of these options are permitted at school carnivals.  By having a large mechanical ride at your Seattle school carnival you are providing an experience that won’t be forgotten any time soon. Kid’s will remember the mechanical ride year after year and expect it to be back; so once you commit, plan on having a motorized attraction every year. The most budget conscious and popular ride is the Tubs Of Fun with it’s teacup like experience it’s not far off from the real thing.

If you need any assistance picking safe, allowable options don’t hesitate to get help planning your Seattle School Carnival.  Remember to book early as dates fill up quickly and equipment gets snatched up.  We look forward to seeing the best school carnivals ever in 2014!


High School Graduation Celebrations

Celebrate High School Graduation with a Rockin' Grad Party

As Seattle embraces it’s wettest season, High School Seniors everywhere are bunkering down to complete their courses. High School graduation is less than four months away, and many of the Grad Night planning committees are well underway. Groups of thoughtful parents all over the state are carefully budgeting and planning for their student’s last Hoorah before college. One of the primary benefits of graduation parties is creating a safe, controlled environment for students to celebrate while preventing the use of drugs and alcohol.   Unless the parents have children that have previously graduated, chances are this is their first experience planning a Grad Party. Fortunately we have some tips to get you started.

Multiple Locations

Most graduation parties typically take place at three separate locations. The newly graduated students are whisked away in a bus following their celebratory ceremony.  Picking the right locations can be difficult depending on your groups size and personality. Some typical locations include bowling alleys, Go-Kart facilities, or large rental halls.  The groups will spend approximately three hours at each location, providing the graduates with fun throughout the entire night. Depending on how intricate your parent planning wants to be, each location can have it’s own theme, or an overall theme for the night. It is typically a good idea for two of your locations to have some sort of ‘built-in’ entertainment (i.e., bowling at the bowling alley).  When selecting your facilities, keep in mind that the location won’t be the only source of fun.

Filling the Space with Food, Fun, and Games

Almost more important than selecting venues, is making sure that each location is filled with fun activities, food, and music.  Every location should have some sort of food and beverage option. Check with your venues, some will require that you utilize their catering options. Others won’t have built in options, but even Safeway Sandwiches or Costco Pizza is an adequate option. You don’t have to have a full meal at every location, snacking options will often fit the bill.  For music, you can book a DJ, or just rent a sound system and pick your own playlist. When it comes to other filler entertainment there are a ton of options including laser tag, mechanical bulls, photo booths, bouncy boxing, and much more.

Quality Entertainment for Quality Kids

Keep in mind that this is your child’s special night. This sort of opportunity deservers a special performance. Typically reserved for the last location, it is recommended that you provide at least one high quality entertainer for the evening. The two typical choices are Magicians and Hypnotists.  Hypnotists are typically the better choice, but you run the risk of no one actually being hypnotized.  This is a rare occurrence, and successful shows are usually worth the risk. Magicians can be great, but unless they are very high quality, the kids can get easily bored and move onto other things. Other great options to fill an hour of your night could be a comedian or a stunt man.

These simple guidelines are sure to help you create a memorable experience for every Senior Grad. Remember to always make the event you own with creative decorations, and special activities that fit your group’s personality. If you need some assistance with planning you can always leave it to the event planning experts. Keep your event safe, and congratulations to all of the Seniors!


Holiday Event Photography

Book your holiday event photographer today!

Most of the planning for upcoming holiday parties is in full swing. There are a number of photography options to consider when planning the memory-capturing portion of your event.  Depending on your guests and theme, one photography rental might be better than another, or you might require a combination of rentals to truly create lasting event memories. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered with an in-depth breakdown,


The photo booth is considered a classic and is always a hit with the couples. However, at a company holiday party a traditional photobooth can seem uninviting and dull. A square box in the corner of the room doesn’t necessarily entice guests to participate. Fortunately, Clowns Unlimited has you covered with our new ‘PhotoStrip’ line of photobooths. With four outward facing touch panel LCDs and music, the PhotoStrip can become and inviting, captivating piece of your event. Complete with options to add wigs and hats, or modify the photo to become street art or sepia, every guest at your event will be eager to participate and immediately receives a photo to take home with them.

Onsite Photography with Printing

Elaborate dresses and suits are one of the most enticing portions of winter events that elevate them from summer company picnics.  Many guests spend a lot of time preparing themselves for a glamorous evening complete with high heels and makeup. Our Onsite Photography with Printing perfectly encapsulates the evenings elegance with a winter backdrop and prom-like ambiance.  Professional Photography and Lighting, followed by onsite editing and printing, provides your guests with a full featured experience.  Guests can retrieve their framed photographs minutes after the shoot and are left with a lasting impression of this years festivities.

Walk-Around Photographer

Gambling, fire-breathing, dancing, intricate catering displays, karaoke, toasts, performances, and so much more; These are the elements that define your event.  Remember every element by hiring a walk-around photographer. The photographer will mingle gracefully and professionally with your guests, determined to do your holiday party justice with a camera.

Whatever option(s) you choose for your event, know that Bouncer Rental NW and National Event Pros can deliver the service for you quickly, professionally, and at a competitive price.

(Bonus Rental: Make a “Frame Crafting Station” for your guests to show their more artistic side. Arts and crafts repeatedly prove to be popular, especially among adults. Give your guests the option of making their evening that much more memorable.)


How to Rent a Bounce House

Bouncy Castle


When planning a children’s birthday party, parents often don’t know where to begin. There are countless options and ideas out there. If you have decided to rent a bounce house for your kid’s party there are a few steps you need to take in order for your event to run smoothly and make sure your guests have a safe, fun time.

1. Pick a Date and Time

The first thing you need to accomplish is picking a date for your party.  Most vendors have a limited supply of bounce houses and a restricted delivery schedule. Knowing what day and time you want the bounce house for your party will help the bounce house company determine what availability they have.  The other advantage of picking a date and time early on is that you can send out invitations soon enough for your guests to reserve the date. After all, you want people to come to you party!

2. Choose a Location

Knowing where you are going to setup the bounce house is almost as important as knowing when you need it. Different companies have different restrictions on where they can put inflatables. Often, if your party is going to be in a public park, additional insurance or staff are required to use the inflatable. If you aren’t planning on hosting the party at your house, the inflatable company needs to know where the party is going to be so they can give you more accurate delivery charges. Finally, different surfaces require unique supplies to secure them properly; knowing the location of your bounce house can insure safety for all party participants.

3. Select a Vendor

Depending on where you live, there may be multiple bounce house rental companies available. Pricing shouldn’t be your only consideration when it comes to picking a vendor. Reputation, Safety, and Insurance are all critical aspects of any company you choose. Any legitimate inflatable rental company will have all of their equipment inspected by the state and insured.  However, this is only one piece to the puzzle; an inspected company doesn’t necessarily guarantee a safely operated company.  A great inflatable company will hire their own employees, run background trucks, and train the employees to setup and operate inflatables in the safest manner popular. Don’t be afraid to ask the company questions about their operations, especially when it comes to your family’s safety.

4. Let your Child Pick Out their Favorite Bounce House

Here comes the fun part! Let your child pick out their favorite bounce house from the company you choose. Bounce houses come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and themes.  Whatever bounce house your child chooses, it’s sure to be a hit.

5. Check the Space and Power requirements

Every bounce house can be a different shape and size. Make sure you check with your vendor on how much space you need. Typically you want the space to be at least a little bit bigger the actual inflatable. You need room for the entrance, and don’t want the sides rubbing against a fence, bush, or house.  Check how many circuits of power you need. Most basic bounce houses only require on circuit of power. If your bounce house is larger it might require two circuits. A circuit in a house is not just a single outlet, but a combination of outlets on the same breaker. Make sure you aren’t running any other equipment on the same circuit when the delivery drivers setup your event. Popping a circuit is never fun and can lead to delays in your party.

6. Book your Party

Once you have all the details confirmed, work with your inflatable company to submit payment and a signed contract. Make sure you have a copy of your invoice that shows you have paid. Make sure you understand their cancellation policies and operating rules for weather in case its raining. Hold onto your final invoice in case there are any issues with the company later.

7. Confirm your Reservation the Week of the Event

No matter who you book through, it is always a good idea to confirm your reservation a couple days prior to your event. The event industry is a busy one, especially during the summer, sometimes things get missed. Some companies will call you to do their own confirmations, if they don’t make sure you make a call on a weekday during normal business hours to confirm your reservation. This is also the best time ask any last minute questions you might have about your upcoming party.

8. Bounce all Day!

The party is here! It’s time for fun and games. Your delivery drivers should arrive at least 30 minutes before your booked time slot. The should be friendly, courteous, quick, and safe. Once they are setup and on their way to other deliveries, you can have all the bouncing fun you want! Remember that you are responsible for safety once the unit is setup, and that the delivery drivers can only do so much. Follow the rules that they give you to keep all of your guests safe. Most of all, have a great time!


Preparing for March Madness

March Madness Tournament

Start your spring off the right way by celebrating March Madness!

March Madness is quickly approaching! The NCAA sponsored tournament is a chance for sports fans everywhere to cheer on their favorite college basketball teams. This once a year event is popular all over the United States. Take advantage of the three week tournament by hosting a March Madness event at your company.  Throwing a party will boost employee morale and kick off Spring the right way. Here are some ideas to get you started:


1. Fill Out Brackets

Most basketball fans love to guess who will win the championship by filling out a bracket and competing with their friends to see who gets more of the games correct.  Start an office pool to go to whoever predicts the most wins. If you want to discourage gambling, buy some prizes and give those away in lieu of money. Even if one of your coworkers knows nothing about basketball, there are always upsets, and it will encourage them to follow along in the fun with the possibility of winning a prize at the end.


Rent a Satellite Receiver for your event!

Who knew you could rent these?

2. Bring in Satellite TV

Make lunch breaks more interesting by having the games on. The Seattle Games2U Franchise will bring out 50″ Plasma TVs with remote satellite receivers and leave them there for the duration of the event. Setup some chairs in the break room and let your employees have at it. Don’t forget to bring chips and dip so they have something to munch on. When the games aren’t on, you can have the latest basketball video game running on the TV. Sure your productivity levels might drop, but you will build employee loyalty and happiness.


3. Rent Interactive Entertainment

If staring at glowing boxes isn’t your idea of a good time, maybe you can go for some more interactive entertainment instead.  Pop-A-Shot rentals are always popular among kids and adults, no previous basketball experience required! If you are looking for a different twist on the classic double shot hoop game, check out this unique basketball inflatable. Participants compete to get rid of their basketballs first. Every time a shot is made, it returns to their opponents side. It is a race against time to see who can make their shots faster.  If you want to get really crazy, you can rent a bungee basketball game. Two players compete to make 2 baskets first, the only catch is that they are harnessed to a massive bungee cord. Every time they get close to the basket, they are yanked back. One of these interactive options is guaranteed to spice up your March Madness event.


4. Have a Potluck

No event is complete without food. Everyone eats and hosting a potluck is the best way to include everyone in the festivities. Have a custom basketball cake made. Host your potluck as close as possible to the final game, Monday April 8th. Encourage everyone in the office to bring in unique food and find a way to present it as a basketball theme. If you want to serve hamburgers and hot dogs, consider renting a propane grill and putting it in the front of the office. We don’t think April is too early to start barbecuing in Seattle!

Whatever route you decide to go for your March Madness festivities, you will be sure to create some memories! Feel free to post your march madness party ideas in the comments section below.


Tips for Planning a School Carnival

Girl playing on an inflatable ride at her school carnival!

Your school carnival will be the talk of the town!

Schools all over Washington have been hosting carnivals for the past several decades. One of the unique features of a school carnival is that the event is organized by a different group of PTA parents every year.  This can give the Carnival a fresh look every year, but also means that the planners are starting from scratch. Often, the PTA doesn’t know where to start this daunting task, so here are a few tips when you are ready to get started.

1. Pick A Date

Pick a date for your upcoming school calendar

June 7th, 2013 is booking up fast!

Before you can do anything else, you need to decide when you will be entertaining hundreds of families. Most schools host their carnivals onsite, so make sure you communicate with your principal on what day you would like to celebrate.  Most school carnivals take place on a Friday evening starting around 5pm.  Consider picking a Monday through Thursday instead. Many equipment vendors will give you a 20% discount for not booking on a Friday through Sunday. Additionally, carnivals that have switched their date to a weekday see higher attendance as people haven’t left for weekend trips or other family activities. If you are charging to participate, more people means more money for your school.



2. Decide Whether To Charge Or Not

Budget, demographics, and previous history are all important variables to consider when making this decision. Knowing who is attending your carnival is the most important. Can the attending families afford to pay for tickets if you decide to charge?  What is your PTA budget and will you be able to eat the cost of hosting the carnival for free? Have you charged in previous years? If you have charged, how much did you charge per ticket?  We have seen successful carnivals that are free to attend and participate as well as pay-to-play events that actually generate money for the school. Make sure you take everything into consideration when making the determination.


3. Know Your District’s Risk Management Regulations

Every school district has different restrictions on what they allow at the schools. These rules and regulations are determined by ‘Risk Management Groups’ and are constantly changing. Recently, King County School District’s risk management group changed their rules on inflatables. Any inflatables that kid’s can enter and jump around in are no longer allowed. This includes obstacle courses, bouncers, and combo units. Interestingly enough, inflatable slides are still a viable option with their new rules. If you are planning a school carnival in Seattle and you have depended on traditional inflatables in the past, you will have to look at alternative entertainment options. Another common risk management rule is no standing water at the event. If your school has had a dunk tank in the past, you will have to look into dunk tank alternatives. Whatever equipment you decide on, make sure you communicate with your risk management director to avoid a potential conflict.


Pirate themed events are fun for everyone!4. Choose A Theme

Increase the excitement at you carnival by choosing a unique theme every year. While not absolutely necessary, it can make everything a lot more fun for all of the families involved. Choose from themes like Plundering Pirates, Wild West Rodeo, Hawaiian Luau, or Classic Carnival.  Pick your equipment and decorations to match. You can make most of your own decorations using construction paper and other simple craft items. Themes will help turn your event into an experience that families won’t soon forget.


5. Pick Your Entertainment Vendors

There are plenty of activities that you can host without the help of a professional vendor.  Some options are a cake walk, homemade carnival games, pizza by the slice, and field activities. If you want to bring in unique entertainment such as inflatables, performers, or mechanical rides, search for local rental companies and call them to determine pricing and availability. Before selecting your vendor make sure they are a fully insured, licensed, and inspected company and that safety is their top priority. If you have picked a theme, find out if they have inflatables or carnival games that coordinate with the event.

Once you have selected a rental company, you will need to work with them to get the equipment you want within your budget. You can often get discounts by providing volunteers to run the attractions. If you are having trouble enlisting parent volunteers, offer incentives such as free tickets or food for their children.


6. Execute Your Event

Once you have all your ducks in a row, you are ready to have a school carnival! The week of the event, touch base with your entertainment vendors and verify times, location, and equipment. Make sure you have your army of volunteers lined up to help decorate and coordinate.  Double check with the school facilities management that you have enough power to run all of your attractions. If everything is ready to go, your school carnival should go off without a hitch.

You should now have some direction if you are just starting the process of hosting a school carnival. It’s almost March, so make sure you start planning if you haven’t already. Rental companies book out early and have limited availability. If you still have questions, just ask your local rental company! They will be more than happy to assist you with planning every step of the way.