Best and fastest face painting Northern Virginia...
party balloons, too!

Birthday Party Helpful Hints



The the following list of questions & answers to have a great party:

Use the KISS method...Keep It Simple, Silly...and in this order

     1)  Entertainment
     2)  Cake
     3)  Presents

  • An ideal number of children for a party is 10-20. This may also depend on where your party is located.  Any more than 20 children can get out of hand with the children running, screaming, etc.  (Trust me, I've been in this business for 29 years.)
  • Face paint dries right away and, as a rule, unless the children are sweating a LOT, won't get on furniture. If you want to keep the design, spray it with a light coating or two of hairspray. (If used on the face, be careful not to get the hairspray in the child's eyes. Take a magazine to fan them with for about a minute before they open their eyes.)
  • Book your entertainer as early as possible. (Arla books as much as 6 months in advance, but if there are time slots as little as the next day.)
  • Try to keep the noise in the room to a minimum. A room full of adults talking makes it difficult for the children to hear.  Might it be better to have the adults in the next room.  (However, we would prefer to have at least one adult in the room with Arla or her artists just in case a child needs help.  We are there to entertain, not to babysit.) 
  • If you are having an outside party at a park, make sure to book the gazebo or a picnic shelter just in case it rains.  At Faces by Arla and Company, we do our parties rain or shine.
  • Consider having an 11 AM or earlier party. You have the entertainment, cake and ice cream, open presents, and you are done for the day. The children are much more refreshed at 11:00 AM rather than in the afternoon, too. Also, in the summertime, it's much cooler than at 1:00-2:00 PM.
  • Avoid surprises at your party.  When calling for an entertainer, ensure you get a seasoned professional who has experience.  This will allow you to have the most professional person available to make your party a success.

    If you are "shopping around" to compare pricing, ask the following questions:
  • What kinds of paints do you use? (If the answer is acrylic paints, DO NOT HIRE this person.) Acrylic paints can burn into the skin causing permanent scarring. Also, acrylic paints are VERY hard to clean off the skin.)   
  • Ask what brand of paints they are using. If they cannot answer right away, they are probably not a professional painter. Paint brands are VERY important to the professional face painter. We use paints that have FDA approved ingredients for the skin.
  • How many faces can you do in one hour? If the answer is 10-12, this person probably doesn't paint very often. Most full face painters can do about 15 in one hour. Arla does 20 comfortably in an hour.
  • Do you do cheek art or full faces?  Most professional face painters today do full faces, rather than cheek art. They are easier and faster to do. And the full face painting provides more aesthetic value than just a small piece of cheek art.
  • Are you insured? (If not, again, DO NOT HIRE this person. It only means they are doing face painting as a hobby, not as a professional. If something should happen, God forbid, they are not covered.)  Arla is insured.
  • How long have you been doing face painting?   (You may find lesser expensive painters with less experience, but if they run into problems, the more experienced person will make your party a success instead of a near failure.)  Arla has been in business for over 29 years.  She was the one who actually brought full face painting into the Washington DC area many years ago and taught many of the painter here to face paint.
  • How much do you charge?  Is there a charge for more than "x" amount of children? Are there a minimum number of hours?
  • Is there a deposit or booking fee? Most professionals get about 30-50% deposit.   Many entertainment companies today require full payment prior to the party.  (You have to pay for your plane ticket in full up front.  It's the same principle.)  
  • When is payment expected?
  • What is the reschedule/cancellation policy? (PLEASE don't intentionally reschedule or cancel a party. We artists do this to make a living, just like you do. When you cancel, normally we have turned down other people who would have liked to have had that same time slot and it is VERY difficult to book someone else at the last minute to fill it. Plus, you might lose your deposit on a reschedule.)  Arla takes a "Booking Fee" that holds the date and time of the party.  It applies to the party, but is non-refundable should you cancel or reschedule.

    How do I get people here on time?
  • Write on your invitations that "Arla, the face painter, will be here at "X" time". People in this area tend to be fashionably late and if they know an entertainer will be there, they tend to be on time because they don't want to miss part of the "show."
  • Invite the guests 15 minutes to 1/2 hour earlier than Arla's arrival time if she's doing balloons.  Invite them at the same time Arla's supposed to be there if she's doing face painting.  (That way she can paint them as they arrive and they are not just standing around waiting in line to be painted.)
  • Anything else that should be considered to have a successful party?
  • Weekends are the busiest time for birthday parties. For this reason we suggest you book Arla at least a month in advance. Arla has been known to book parties as much as a year in advance. Also, once you book your time, it is reserved for you. Arla turns down other bookings during that time (normally 4-20 per week), so please do not cancel.  You might also consider a weekday party after school as many entertainers will give a weekday discount.
  • Goodie bags are somewhat expected nowadays, but don't go overboard. You don't have to spend a fortune on them. After all, the emphasis for the party should be on your child, not the others. Party stores, K-Mart, WalMart, dollar stores and other kinds of stores
    offer party favors like stickers, rings, pads of paper, pencils and other small items that can be added.  (ASK ARLA ABOUT CANDY CUPS THAT CAN BE PURCHASED FROM HER.  These are cups filled with candy that have a balloon attached to the top of the cup.  They normally run from $5-$10 each.)
  • You can have the cake and ice cream either before or after Arla's performance.
  • Presents should be the last thing on your agenda for the party. That way the birthday child can play with them immediately after opening instead of waiting for the party to finish.
  • Pass around a disposable camera to the adults and let others take pictures for you. Candid shots are usually the best.
  • If your party is outside, consider having the face painting in the shade or even indoors while the children play outdoors.  This makes everyone more comfortable.
  • If you are having a pool party, ask Arla for temporary tattoos. These glitter tattoos are done with medical adhesive and usually stay on for as much as 7 days.
  • Let the kids have a good time. Being quiet is not what they do best.
  • Ask about extras. Arla offers jewels for face painting at an extra $5, but wow, are they worth it!  (Glitter is free!)
  • Set the room temperature cooler than usual. A room full of children will make the room
    warmer and can make some children sleepy and cranky.
  • Pre-light the birthday candles, then blow them out right away. It makes it much easier to light them when it comes time for lighting for the child to blow them out.
  • Put some balloons on the mailbox so your guests can know exactly where the party is located.  They don't have to be helium balloons.  Just regular latex balloons tied to the mailbox will work.
  • Allow an hour before the party for you and your family to "rest" so you can enjoy the party without being harried or hurried before guests arrive.
  • Another thing to do while the guests are being face painted is to have a fun bus.  Check out their site.   http://www.partybuswdc.com