Balloons, Bubbles, & Face Painters

Parent Q&A

Bubble Man for Birthday Jul 10, 2019 (4 responses below)
Bubbles and face paint for a 3 year old birthday party Oct 10, 2017 (2 responses below)
  • Bubble Man for Birthday

    (4 replies)

    Hi - has anyone hosted an outdoor birthday party with a Bubble Man (i.e, someone who does a demo and then potentially sets out bubble stations for kids)? I went to the Berkeley Easter Egg Hunt in 2018 and there was a Bubble Man there and wanted to find him or someone similar. Thanks in advance for any leads!

    RE: Bubble Man for Birthday ()

    here's the bubble lady.

    RE: Bubble Man for Birthday ()

    I highly recommend Saw them do bubbles in the backyard at Ocean View Brew Works for their anniversary party. They had bubble wands for kids to use but they also did tricks and the best part was special specs that turn the bubbles into shapes when you look through them

    RE: Bubble Man for Birthday ()

    Well, not a man but a lady :)

    We used her for an  elementary school event and she was fabulous! Even the adults were impressed. Very interactive and fun for everyone. 

  • I'm looking for recommendations for a performer who can do bubbles and/or face painting for a birthday party in Berkeley. Thanks!

    We recently attended a party in El Cerrito/Kensington for 2-5 year olds with Happily Ever Laughter ( and it was wonderful - bubbles, an obstacle course and really first-rate face painting. I wasn't the one who hired them but I'd definitely consider them for a future birthday.

    I can’t recommend Angie Shin highly enough of color me rad face painting / angiehiranoshin [at]  She is the real deal. Complete pro, incredible creative artistry, great with the kids AND a mom so she gets it. She face painted over 80 kids at The Berkeley School’s Fall Festival last year and I hired her for my daughter’s birthday. Angie was equally lovely with the smaller group. Terrific with the tiny ones and for the tweens / teens as she also makes her own glitter tattoos. Enjoy your third birthday - Angie will make your faces look amazing and make the kids so happy!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Balloon Artist for 1-3 year olds

Feb 2014

Hello BPN, I am hosting a children's party (1-3 yr olds) in April in the backyard of my home in Berkeley. I am looking for a balloon artist for 45 mins to 1 hour for entertainment with a budget of $100. Please let me know any recommendations and thank you!

Hi, We hired James from James entertains and he was great. His price is above your price range indicated and he charged for travel to Pleasanton but it was well worth the money! I believe others may charge more... He was really great, his creations were delightful and the kids really enjoyed him. He's at I had 16 kids of all ages and we hired him for 1 hr and 15 min. My daughter loves peppa pig and he made one for her by looking it up on the internet. No regrets on a balloon entertainer

Recommendations for a kids party balloon artist?

April 2013

Hi - I'm thinking about hiring a balloon artist to entertain the kiddies at my son's upcoming 2nd birthday party. Does anyone know of a balloon artist they would recommend? Or what it would reasonably cost to hire one? Thanks! birthday planning mom

Twistyman! He's wonderful! He's been at several birthday parties and the Orinda 4th of July party - the kids adore him! michelle

Twistyman is the best. We hired him for many birthday parties until the kids grew out of him. He is so good and great with kids. The pirate theme was great but 2 may be too young to appreciate. Karen in rockridge

Balloons and hula hoops for kids' party

May 2012

We are having our twins' 6th birthday party at home in Oakland in June. My girl would like hula hoops (I'm looking for the woman who brings hoops to street fairs and farmer's markets, but I can't remember her name); my son would like balloon twisting. I'd also be interested in a juggler, especially one who can teach as well as perform. Any leads? Andrea

This might take some effort but you might find something on There is a message board and they might have a section on businesses run by burners. Or you could post a message there. Lots of burners have these talents and most like to make some extra cash! have fun!

Call Kaye Anderson of Hoop Power, for the hula hoops, and maybe a workshop...she's also the mom of twin girls, and her hooping workshops and classes are popular with all ages! heidi


Face painting for 4 y.o. party

May 2010

Hi, I'm looking for face painting recommendations for a 4 year old party. The ones on the BPN now are a little dated. I'm looking for someone who does this regularly (as opposed to a teenager, etc). thanks!

We've worked with both Brandy Esparza and Donna Now at the Point Richmond Music outdoor concerts each summer. Both are great with children and do wonderful designs. Brandy - bnesparza [at] Donna - DonnaNow [at] Donna is also a sign painter at Trader Joe's. Sydney Metrick

Alana Dill ( is the best I've come across. Her designs are beautiful, she uses only the safest products, and she is a lovely gentle lady who is very good with children. My 2 year old was almost in a trance while being painted with a sparkly rainbow butterfly! Rachael

Try Alana Dill at We have been to a few parties where she has done face painting. She is fabulous! Peri

Balloon artist/face painter for 3yo's birthday

May 2010

Does anyone have any recent experiences with a party entertainer for a soon to be 3 year old's birthday? I'm interested in balloon twisting and face painting for about an hour. Buki the clown looked good, but she's already booked. I came across a website called 'Happily Ever Laughter'. Any experience with this company? Thank you in advance! Tiffany

I'm a face painter myself, and a very good one, but I'm pitiful with balloons unless you want your balloon animal to resemble a pile of intestines. :-D

I've heard good things about Happily Ever Laughter, but don't know any of their cast personally.

Buki is excellent and is often booked well in advance. Cheryl Ferguson of Bay Area Stars is lots of fun. Violet the Clown from Vallejo is wonderful. Paula Moors from Petaluma is a great balloon artist. Twistyman doesn't face paint anymore, but he rocks the balloons. He's also truly hilarious. You can easily web-search for any of the above.

I know some of these folks as friends, others only by reputation among the party entertainment community. I'd be glad if you just went ahead and hired me, but if you want balloons - be glad to know you have some options.

Keep in mind that summer is busiest for entertainers! If you want a party entertainer between Memorial Day and Labor Day, or on a holiday - book early! For instance, if you want a July 4th facepainter or balloon artist to help jazz up your parade float, get cracking now. You'll be saving yourself some stress (and possibly some money, since some entertainers have a higher last-minute booking or holiday rate).

Face painting and balloons can bring fun to just about any event, for any age group. Look around online and see what's possible now - we are light-years ahead of the 'heart on the cheek' so common a few years ago.

Last but not least - no matter who you hire, make sure they're using professional-grade cosmetics - NO acrylics, Sharpies, or craft glitter on skin! Safety first.

Sincerely, Alana

I have videotaped when Celebrity Gems (510) 581-5964 has provided entertainment for children. They screen and arrange balloon artists, face painters, puppet shows, magicians, and jugglers. They say, 'We take the guess work out of planning since we screen our performers. Learn more by reading our 180 + blogs, and visiting our web.' stu

Carla Winter at has a great number of Excellent Face Painters and Balloon Artists and more than likely one in your area. Check out her site and best of luck.

Entertainer for 3rd birthday in home

Jan 2009

I'm looking for an entertainer for my daughters third birthday party which we will be having at home with a group of energetic 3-5 year olds. As I also have a 6 month old that needs my attention I am hoping to find somone who also leads the party activities and keeps things on track.

Shobi Dobi is one of the finest face painters I know and is wonderful with small children she always comes as a clown and also does clowning workshops she also is responsible for the hospital clown newsletter This is worth checking out. Sharyl

Editor: recommendations were also received for Puppeteers and Jugglers

Balloon artist for party at senior care facility

Oct 2008

Hi - I am looking for a REALLY good balloon artist for a party at a senior care facility. Anyone out there hire someone recently that might work well with adults? Looking for someone who will be kind but not condescending, communicate clearly and take their time, and who can make really great balloon jewelry and hats. Kind of like the guy you see if you google 'balloon man visits the nursing home'. Thanks! anon

I saw a recommendation a few weeks ago for this guy: anon

I found a really easy-going, relaxed balloon artist who I used for my daughter's 5th birthday party. Her name is Melissa Contildes (Tel. 510-531-6494, email: [email protected]) she has a website at She isn't as frenetic as some of the ballon artists I have met. Her personality would be a good match for the situation you describe of elderly folks. East Bay mom

We saw a balloon artist named Brian Asman at the Marin Farmers' Market last year who was quite good. We picked up his business card for reference but haven't yet hired him for anything. His phone number is 415-775-9975 and his email address is brookchef [at] Beth

We saw the this guy at the CA Academy of Sciences opening. By the time we got to the head of the line, he'd been there for four hours already and he was still cheery as can be, he's great with the kids. CL

Not sure if you're looking for a children's entertainer but we just worked with our first ''children's entertainer'' and it was great! We just celebrated a joint birthday party for our 6 and 4 year old boys. Magic Dan (415/337.8500) came to our home and entertained 25 young children (and their folks). He engaged the kids, held their attention for the entire show, and even got some laughs from the parents. Dan is very professional, respectful, and a pleasure to work with. We highly recommend him. Joy

Face painting for 4yr old birthday

April 2008

I'm looking for a talented face painter, preferably not a clown, for my girls 4th birthday party. Does anyone have recommendations? Thanks so much! heather

Sarah Stand is wonderful. She did my 5-year-old's party, and is quite talented. MW

I would like to highly recommend Oliver Twist, we just had him at our son's 3rd birthday party and he was great! oliver [at] (415) 407-9254 --

2004 - 2007 Reviews

April 2007

Re: Birthday Party Entertainer for 3-year-olds
check out local berkeley artist, twistyman, who did our daughter's 3rd birthday party last year!! he is a great entertainer and creates some amazing balloon art! check him out at gc

Face painting and balloon art for one-year-old's party

Aug 2005

I'm looking for a person to do some face painting and balloon art for our son's first birthday party. The recommendations in the archives are fairly old so I'd love some updates suggestions for a ''gentle'' clown who can entertain the little ones. Thanks! Happy Momma keep in mind that face painting is probably not all that much fun for a 1 yr old, and many tykes younger than 4 find clowns and painted faces scary.

i have a great kids entertainer, theresa castro with ''for kids only and big kids too''. she's great with kids big and small, what ever budget you have she'll tell you exactly what you can get, many characters to choose from and she's not one of those ''scary'' clowns. i've referred her to many and they keep using her year after year for thier parties. theresa castro p#510-697-9734. yolanda

I recently met Buki the clown at the emeryville Ikea. On a weekend she was tending to a HUGE line of kids who wanted faces painted (they could look at a binder and select a theme) and to get balloons tied. Now, I am not a huge fan of this sort of entertainment but my kids sure are and they loved it. Though completely inundated, Buki spent time with each child handing the child a mirror once face was completed and making sure the child liked their face. She made each child feel special and truly took balloon tying to an art form with elaborate multiballoon pieces finished in seconds. I was so impressed, I took her card- she is talented, great with children and fun. Buki the Clown: 522-2229.

I'm an event coordinator in SF and just worked on a company picnic where they had an amazing children's entertainer. She does beautiful face painting. She didn't do balloon tying at the event, but I know she offers it. You also have a choice of a wide variety of costumes she can wear that are very cute (clown, fairy princess, etc.). While kids were waiting to get their face painted she had stickers, crayons, etc. out on a table for them to play with. She did some really neat face painting for the older kids too. She also offers the service of having someone take polaroids of the kids to give to them. Her contact info: Susannah ''Sunny'' Simmons sunnydays at tel. 415.297.6845

Give Theresa Castro 510.697.9734 a call. I got her name from BPN. She did a wonderful job with face painting and she also made balloon animals at my son's first birthday party. She can come dressed as a clown or other characters, and she offers additional activities, e.g., treasure chest, lollipop tree, etc. Teuila

Entertainer for under $75 for 5-yr-old's birthday party

May 2004

Hi, I need to find an entertainer for my 5-yr-old's birthday party. I contacted the magicians recommended in the Archive, but they charge around $200-300. What I would like is someone who would keep the kids occupied for 45 minutes, for under $75. Although I would prefer a good show (magic?) or face painting and baloon making, I really cannot afford any of those magicians with reviews in the Los Angeles Times. Do you know any reasonably priced, but fun, entertainer? Thank you! Laura

When my daughter turned 5, I hired Dalia Vidor. She comes dressed up as a clown, performs magic and then makes balloon animals for every child in the second part of her show. We were all very pleased. It was just the right thing! The show was 45 minutes long and I paid $75. That was two years ago. Dalia can be reached at d_vidor AT Heike

You should try Theresa Castro at ''For Kids Only and Big Kids Too!''. She's a great kids entertainter. She has various characters to choose from, does balloon animals, face painting, treasure chest, lollipop tree. She's also very aware when some children are afraid of characters. She also gets the adults involved. She works with whatever budget you have. Her number is 510-521-2495. Yolanda

Check out this guy:

We hired him for a parish event with small children (5 and under) and he was great -- very gentle with the kids and careful not to get in their faces. (Some children are very frightened by clowns). I think we had to spend $200 for 1.5 hours ... you might be able to negotiate the price you have in mind. Sara

Also recommended: Teen Magicians

Balloon artist of clown for join 2/5 year old party

Jan. 2004

I am looking for a birthday party entertianer for a joint party for my soon to be 2 year old and five year old, so I need someone who is little kid friendly. I am looknig for a balloonest or magician /clown. The party is in San Francisco. ellen

Chevy's in Alameda has several balloonist that are also students at UC Berkeley. We asked one of them to entertain for a birthday party (sorry it was two years ago so I don't remember her name and I'm sure she has since graduated) and she was great with the balloons, kids and adults. We felt better too knowing we supporting a starving student. I would recommend checking them out at Chevy's--it's right on the estuary so you can have decent food and a great view (also offers indoor/outdoor dining)- -and then ask them then and there if they'd do your party. I'm not sure which nights of the week/weekend the balloonist are there so you may want to call ahead to check. Have fun! Patty

We have used ''Cool Cat'' to entertain at my daughter's 3rd and 4th birthday parties in our home (over the past two years). ''Cool Cat'' (Alan) was very fun, and my daughter had a great time. Alan provides balloons (shaping them into animals or objects, depending upon the child's desire), does incredible face painting, and sings songs accompanied by his guitar. He can also dress up in various outfits (my daughter was scared of clowns, so Alan came both years as ''Safari Sam''). He is just wonderful with the children, very patient and warm, and we had almost 20 kids here each year. I highly recommend him. His website is He is based in San Francisco and can be reached at 415-586-4254. Kathy

2003 & Earlier

Balloon artist for 3-year-old's party

September 2003

I have seen previous posting for balloon artists, but I would like more updated suggestions for a balloon artist for a birthday party for ages 3- 10 years. We are also wondering if anyone has used ''Sir Lantz'' at their parties? And if so, would you recommend him? Thank you! thuylay

Sir lantz did a school party at my son's preschool, they all seemed to enjoy it and he's made balloon animals, crowns, etc when we've dined out at a local restaurant on kids night. He seems nice and kids are fascinated. I'm not sure what he charges for home parties, but I think he has web site..try sharon

Twistyman is a young cute happy bright creative party & fair balloon guy who also plays a variety of musical instruments & does many kinds of creative work. I've seen him in action at events & he always gets raves from adults and kids alike. VERY good, five stars. (He often plays at Starry Plough Irish music sessions on Sunday nights at 8.) Email him: twistyman3 at Berkeley resident Twistyman studied at the San Francisco State School of Creative Arts, where he graduated with honors and received an award from Francis Coppola for Directing and Producing..... he has lived in Ireland and traveled extensively throughout Europe, Peru, and the southwest U.S. ... (to seek) his spiritual heritage and learn about indigenous traditions of other lands. ~ Christine V.

Check out The Buddy Club, through which you can hire any type of kid entertainer, including balloon ''sculptors.'' anon

I would like to follow up on the recommendation in the last newsletter for the balloon artist from the Buddy Club. Every year my family attends Berkeley Tuolumne camp at the same time several Buddy Club performers are there. From what I have seen, their Balloon Guy would NOT be a good performer at a party for children under 6. He is a real expert who connects with older kids who have detexterity and patience. His creations are great. But if your child is younger than 6 another balloon artist would be a better choice. Also, I would like to say if you're looking for a magician for your party, the Buddy Club's Jay Alexander is incredible. His tricks would probably be better understood by older children (not that he's bad with little kids, the tricks are just a little complicated). Please contact me if you'd like more specifics. Melinda

Balloon clown for 5yr. old birthday party

July 2003

Hi! We're looking for recommendations for a Balloon Clown for a child's 5yr. old birthday party. Looking for someone to come in costume and create balloon hats, animals etc. for the kids. We're located in North Berkeley. Thanks in advance. dana

I used Lulu the Clown (Lori Soto) for my son's 3rd birthday. She was great. She made really creative balloon hats that even the adults had fun with. She even did face painting. Her rates were $125/hr 1.5 yrs ago. Rhea

Lulu the clown is a great ballon clown, her number. I viewed her in action at a YMCA Health Fair - very impressive! ramisima

[Editor] phone number for LuLu as of March 2004 is (510) 253-6598

Clown or balloons for 3 yr old's birthday party

Feb 2002

I'm planning my 3 yr old's birthday party for the end of the month and I'm looking for someone who makes balloon hats. My sister had someone for her son's birthday several years ago but can't remember who it was. He make really fun hats out of the long narrow balloons used to make balloon animals. It would be great to find someone who also sings songs or does tricks or something, too. MWishbone

The funniest clown I've ever seen at a kid party does excellent balloons and great gag magic:

Warning: he's not cheap.

Also, fairly recently, my son got an elaborate balloon hat and sword from a clown guy who hangs out in front of FAO Schwartz in SF on the weekends. K

See my 1999 recommendation for Lance Sneed at the ucbparents website under arts/partyentertainers. He made all kinds of complicated things using balloons, including pirate hats, I recall. Someone else has a 2001 recommendation for him there, with contact info. Fran

I've hired Nicole Portwood in the past for a corporate event, but she does birthday parties, too. She is a clown that does juggling, face painting, balloons, etc. 510/538-9390 or portwoodjr AT Helena

More reviews


A friend of mine, Dalia Vidor, is an experienced (10 years) party entertainer and, yes, balloon specialist. Her standard party package is one hour's entertainment including balloon animals. She has worked as a clown as well. Here's her pager no.: (510) 297-1427. Good luck! Jean

We hired Sir Lantz (I believe this is the same person as Lance Snead), to perform at our son's third birthday party. He was absolutely wonderful! Extremely professional, very conscientious (I think he made a test drive out to our remote home a day or two before the party to make sure he knew exactly were to go on the day of the party). The kids and parents loved all his balloon creations. After balloons he did a little bit of magic (~10 minutes), but the 2-3 year olds didn't really pay attention. The few four and five year olds present did like the magic though. We had approximately 15 children at the party ranging in age from 2-5 and he was able to keep the whole group entertained during the balloon show (~50 minutes). Visit his very informative web site for more information ( or call him at (925) 280-0112. Feel free to contact me if you want more specific information regarding our experience with him. S.Jenkins


Happy the Clown, aka Dub Blackwood, (510) 525-0251. His shtick is not polished--it's deliberately low-key and transparent--and kids have a wonderful time both playing along with it and seeing through it. John

We hired Lance Sneed, who advertises in Parents' Press, for our son's 5th birthday. I think his title was Sir Lance. He mostly made balloon animals and such--he said kids that age aren't really into magic. He did do a few magic tricks, which the kids liked, but they *really* liked the balloons.

Warning: one balloon artist/magician I spoke to when I was looking warned me that balloons break easily on grass: the grass is very sharp to them. Our party was at a park and I saw that this was true. So expect it if your party is on grass. Fran