Guide to Hire Halloween Entertainment – Step By Step

Halloween is around the corner, and everyone is up in arms on what to do to make this Halloween special. Halloween not only falls on the weekend this year, but after struggling to get through the pandemic last year, so many people are in need of a good time. If you want to step it up and host an epic party, we encourage you to hire Halloween entertainment. Need tips on how to do this? Check out our guide on how to hire Halloween entertainment: 

Step 1: Come Up with a Plan

First things first, you need to come up with a plan. Your plan should be inclusive of the nature and interests of your guests, a date that doesn’t compete with other important dates or local events, and knowing your budget and how many guests you intend on inviting. In these times, you also have to consider where we are as a nation as well. While the world is far from where we were last year, we are still in the middle of a global pandemic. That said, it may be best to host a virtual Halloween party

Plan a Virtual Halloween Party

We share a few tips on hosting a virtual party, and here is our most important tip if you go this route: 

“To ensure you and your guests have a fantastic time, you must research and choose the platform that fits your needs from the beginning of the party until the very end — just as it would be in person. Zoom, Google Duo, WebEx, or Skype are the most popular platforms based on cost, ease-of-use, and familiarity. 

When conducting your research, don’t forget to look for information on time limitations, mobile vs. desktop functionality, and extra features, like recording capabilities. Each platform is unique and may offer different versions depending on what you need for your virtual Halloween party to be a success.”

We bring the platform to the forefront because this will affect any entertainment act you hire. For instance, Entertainment Exchange has provided music via live bands on many virtual platforms. In order to execute this, though, we had to have our band leaders walk through the audio/visual elements to make sure the stream was sufficient for upholding excellent sound quality. We also had to coach planners and guests on how to use the platform during the performance to ensure there were no delays and that guests kept themselves on mute to avoid interference with the performance. Some platforms are better than others when it comes to executing a live performance, so it is best to talk to your entertainers early on in order to get recommendations and best practices for running a great virtual Halloween party.

Plan for Social Distancing Restrictions

If you decide to do an in-person event, be sure to consider social distancing parameters to ensure that guests are comfortable. You can also poll your guests AND entertainers to get an idea of what they may require or need in order to feel safe. Some entertainers and their agents have specific instructions and restrictions for performing at this time. For instance, some DJs and bands now require a six-foot barrier between themselves and guests to feel safe, especially if a band member has to remove their mask to perform. Consider these parameters and plan accordingly. 

Suppose you are overwhelmed or are out of ideas. In that case, you can also use a party planner to assist you with planning the party, especially if this is a corporate event or you are expecting a large group of people at a venue outside of your network. 

Step 2: Do Your Research

Next up, do your research. There are so many different things to research. For starters, the venue should be at the top of your list. Will you use your home? Is this an office party? In this research for the venue, you should keep in mind that if you are going to hire entertainment, you need space for them to perform. It would be best to also have a “holding room” or area for their equipment to take breaks and eat their vendor meals. 

Outside of traditional elements, you should do extensive research on the type of entertainers you want to see when it comes to hiring entertainment. Ghoulish goblins? Fun and happy Halloween clowns? A band? Use platforms like Pinterest to get your ideas flowing so you can get inspired, then tailor your ideas to your vision for the party and your guests. 

You should also do your own research when you hire an entertainer for your party. You can ask for recommendations from friends and family. You can also do a Google search to get Yelp and Google Reviews. Gather as much information as quickly as possible about your intended audience and entertainment, but don’t get overwhelmed with too much information. 

Step 3: Compare & Contrast

Now that you have gotten information and reviews, go old school and use a compare and contrast chart to assess the best options for your party. Elements like pricing, availability, party theme, and reviews should be at the top of your list. If you’re still stuck after reviewing these options, you can request to see your entertainers live. 

Request to See the Entertainers in Action 

Some entertainers allow potential clients to visit them during an upcoming event to go above and beyond to get a feel for the entertainers’ style and energy. If you have the opportunity to do so, we encourage you to take it. If you are short on time or the entertainment act cannot find a way to accommodate your request, ask for live video footage or search their social media accounts to see clips of their most recent performances. This could help you to make your final decision. Just keep in mind that even in video form, you may not be able to experience the entire essence of the act if you do not see them live, so trust your gut at the end of it all. 

Step 4: Book Your Act

Now that you have gotten information and have possibly seen your potential entertainers live, it is time to book them for your event. The hope is that as time has passed, their availability still aligns with your date. At this point, you should be talking to the booking agent for the specialty entertainment group, and you should discuss all pertinent details. Here are a few: 

  1. Load-In Time: This is the time when your entertainment act should arrive and set up equipment (if they have it). An act that does not have much equipment should come at least an hour before their scheduled performance time. On the other hand, if you hire a live band, they usually need to set up 3-4 hours before the performance time. The booking agent will share this information with you. 
  2. Performance Time: Listen to the booking agent as they explain their standard performance times and ensure it aligns with your event’s timeline. Use the booking agent to help you to the best place when the entertainer should perform. Usually they have a ton of experience in knowing what works best, so be open. 
  3. Event Location: Of course, the entertainers must know where to go, but you should also consider that if your event is outside of a specific radius, you may have to pay more for travel. Talk about this with your agent. 
  4. Add-On Options: You can ask about additional services or performance elements at this point. For instance, if you book a band but want to have a cocktail hour as guests flow into your event, you can ask the booking agent or manager about adding an additional hour. Usually, the agent will enlist the talents of an entertainer that is already booked with the entire band. Sometimes you can get a discount on pricing when you bundle services like this or book multiple services through one vendor. If you need a photographer and a DJ, you can ask the booking agent about discounts at this stage of the booking process. 
  5. Pricing: By now, you should have a basic understanding of the pricing structure for booking your act; however, ask questions about their payment plans, parking for the entertainers, overtime pricing (in the event you want the entertainer to stay longer during the event) and additional penalties if your event runs late or if the entertainer runs late. Try to negotiate and have the resolutions in writing to cover yourself. 

There may be other essential elements, but using a trusted guide to get you through will be the best bet to completing the booking process. 

Step 5: Follow Up After the Performance

After what we hope was a fantastic event, it may not seem necessary, but you should follow up with the company or entertainer after the performance. This is an opportunity to settle your final balance (if applicable) and give the booking agent or entertainer great feedback. 

Write a Review

As a courtesy to both the entertainers and future clients (who were once like you), it would be nice to write an honest review of your experience. You can give a written review via email or write a review on Google and Yelp. This helps warn potential clients about your experience or helps the entertainer book future clients (thanks to you). We hope it’s the latter. 

We hope this guide was helpful. Sound off below on what you think will be the best type of entertainment for Halloween this year! 


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