Plan a Virtual Birthday Party or Playdate with a Mermaid, Pirate, or Princess
When I heard that video chatting with a fairy was a feasible activity for my imaginative and increasingly stir-crazy four year old, I couldn't have jumped at the opportunity any faster. Enter Happily Ever Laughter, a California-based cast of fantastical kids party entertainers—think faeries, pirates, mermaids, princesses, and even safari explorers—who have pivoted to virtual playdates and celebrations during the stay at home order. Available for a one-on-one chat with your kiddo while you put the finishing touches on that presentation, or a group call that's worthy of a quarantine era birthday bash or just a special hangout with deeply missed friends, this gang of unique and engaging characters is now available nationwide with as little as 4 hours notice.
Booking Your Virtual Party or Playdate
Booking our video chat was easy, and our faerie even gave me a call the day before the main event—fully in character, by the way—to discuss the details. If you’re able to schedule at least 7 days in advance, Happily Ever Laughter will send a special gift to your home, which your performer will then "magically" make appear for your child during your playdate or party (of course, I got the inside scoop on where to hide it...). This sounded cool enough that I booked the call ahead of time, then invited a few of my daughter's preschool friends to join in on the fun. For a party, you can have up to 5 screens—so, roughly 5 or so guests depending on whether siblings or other kids in each household join in— and you even get little virtual invitations to send out. Playdates and parties are both 30 minutes, and the parents I reached out to were really excited to mix up their mornings with a special activity, plus maybe have a moment to take a breath. Uh, same.
What to Expect On Your Zoom Call
When we all joined the Zoom meeting, we were greeted by Lunette, a bubbly faerie in full costume and makeup. Actually, I should mention that you won't find yourself chatting with Elsa on a Happily Ever Laughter call, because the company is all about bringing on the most engaging and skilled children's entertainers, and so not about just hiring whoever looks the most like Cinderella. Anyway, Lunette immediately engaged the kids with some imaginative magic making. She guided them in conjuring up silly words and following special instructions to make things appear and disappear, and ultimately to morph a little stuffed dragon all the way to our Brooklyn apartment (remember that special gift I mentioned?), where my daughter found it hiding under one of our couch cushions. She was totally wowed.
I was impressed by Lunette's energy and enthusiasm, no matter how the kids replied to her questions, or whether or not they followed directions to wiggle their fingers on the first try. As expected with four year olds who are now spending an unusual amount of time on video calls, their attention waxed and waned a bit throughout the half hour call, but Lunette was able draw them back to the screen and they excitedly chimed in to tell her what sound a mouse makes or to jump up and down per her instruction in order to summon their magic powers.
Ever since the call, my daughter's been talking about her "fairy teacher" (a clear nod to virtual learning...), and she'll tell anyone who's willing to listen about the stuffy that went all the way through the magic mailbox and somehow arrived in our sofa. With consistent questioning about when she'll talk to Lunette again, I'm totally keeping Happily Ever Laughter in my back pocket for the next time I'm on a deadline. Oh, and if you want to be a real lifesaver to another parent, you can gift a playdate to a deserving mom or dad too.
If you'd like to learn more about Happily Ever Laughter, make sure to watch the video above, and head to their website for pricing, scheduling, and gift certificates. On the other side of the stay at home order, definitely keep this fun-loving California crew in mind for your in-person parties!