(Age group: 2- 18 years)
I have gone to tons of birthday parties where a frail looking man with a black top hat and a wand, shows some overly repetitive magic tricks. Although the younger kids seem to say ooh and aah over it, the older guys just roll their eyes as if they just know how the trick is done.
When Kabir was 5, I threw a party in which I called one of these magicians, who was good with kids, and he performed the following popular tricks.
Luckily, all the ten kids present were under the age of 5 and the adults also looked wide eyed at the illusions. He showed the disappearing pigeon and mouse trick, the bend knife going through the neck trick, the water coming out of the nose trick, flower in the wand, coin behind the ear and 1-2 more simple tricks.
So, if its party for young guests, then hiring a magician with practiced tricks makes sense.
But if its for young adults, then I would recommend you to arrange for someone who can teach them simple magic and card tricks. Teach them hath ki safai in an hour. Of course there would be errors but then thats the fun part right?
What one can do is to break the party timeline in 2 parts. First part will be performed by the kids themselves. Then the next part can be performed by a professional.
Divide the kids in pairs and give each of them simple equipment along with a video of how to do magic. Give them 20-25 min to learn that magic. Then call each pair and they will perform in front of a live audience.
Ofcourse, they might or might not get it right.. but a few laughs are guaranteed. You may want to keep your guest list small here.
For this part you have to do a lot of research beforehand; of simple magic videos.
After that cut the cake.
Then we can serve food to them which might include pizza fest or pasta salad bar followed by dessert.
Then for the big bang wrap up.. a proffessional will come and perform some oohs and aahs of magic.
For return gift.. there are some reasonably priced magic trick boxes. Or you can give a deck of cards, some chocolates and a written instruction magic booklet. Read more alternatives here.
Have an abra-ca-dabra birthday.