Graduation Cancelled? Alternative Ways to Celebrate!

Celebrating While Social Distancing

Commencement is a milestone event that many look forward to their whole life. It is the sign of a new chapter and the culmination of years of classes, tests, projects, sporting events and being with friends. It’s an emotional time for anyone going through this rite of passage, but for the grads of 2020, it comes with a heightened sense of emotion and feelings of disappointment. Graduation during the COVID-19 crisis will look different than normal, but here are some ways to ensure your grad feels celebrated during this time.

Video Chat Parties

Though it might feel bittersweet to celebrate over a computer camera, you’re still letting your student know you’re proud of their accomplishments. Regardless of the medium, it’s always nice to see your loved ones’ faces and this is an easy way to include everyone as well as a fun excuse to get a little dressed up during quarantine. Your student is sure to be excited for the chance to wear their cap and gown for you even if they never leave the house.

Take the opportunity to mix it up a little. Set a theme and decorate your video chat background! Everyone can wear costumes, pajamas, formal attire or whatever your student might want. Or set up a surprise theme for your grad — maybe something that commemorates a special childhood memory. Keep the surprises coming by inviting guests they don’t expect to see.

Your graduate will appreciate being the center of everyone’s love and attention, and sharing tears, smiles and laughter.

Deck the Halls

You can still have a graduation party, but this year it will just be more intimate. Decorate your front door or yard with your school colors – add some streamers and giant letters and you’ve got a great start! On the inside of the house hang balloons, more streamers and some of your favorite photos to add to the festive décor. Look into yard signs for the front lawn to surprise the grad! On the night of your “graduation” enjoy cake and ice cream with everyone in your home.

Play Fun Backyard Games

Create a fun atmosphere with games to play such as bags, badminton, Giant Jenga get creative the most important thing is to have fun as a family! Crank up the music, start the grill and make the most of being home and reflecting on the next stage in your graduates life!

Celebrate Easter While in Quarantine!

We love Easter. It’s one of our favorites. Normally we are very busy with all our springtime rentals,  bunny costumes, bead art, cookie decorating and other craft stations and egg hunts. Let AMJ help you create a great celebration while you are safe at home.

And though we all know that the meaning of Easter is far greater than these man-made celebrations, the idea of celebrating a major holiday in our homes…alone….just like the past several weeks…is a tough pill to swallow.

If you’re looking for a way to make Easter feel more like Easter instead of just another day in quarantine, we’ve got you covered. Here are some ideas.

SUNDAY WORSHIP:

Tune in to an Easter live stream instead of watching it pre-recorded so you can feel the community of worshiping with other believers. Dress up just as if you were going to Easter service! If you want to make it really memorable, choose a traditional sunrise service.

EASTER FUN:

Surprise another family with an Easter egg hunt! Hide eggs in their front yard so the next time they go outside they can see that they’ve been “egged.”

Does the egg shortage have you down? Instead of dying Easter eggs, bake up some egg shaped sugar cookies and decorate them in various colors. 

Hide eggs in your front yard and take a panoramic photo. Send the photo to other family members and see who can find the most. Or, assign each child a different color and see if they can find all of “their” eggs. This way you can make it easier for younger kids and more difficult for older ones.

Make a scavenger hunt! If you do Easter baskets, have them find it through a scavenger hunt instead of just leaving it for them Easter morning.

Though Easter is bound to be different this year thanks to social distancing, we can still infuse it with many of the familiar flavors, activities, and people that we love. Let’s make this year’s Easter more memorable than ever!

It’s Your Birthday! Celebrating While in Quarantine.

For all our March and April birthday babies, don’t fret. You can still have a memorable birthday, social-distancing-style.

Drive By Birthday Parade

Rally your child’s friends for a neighborhood parade. You can decorate the cars, decorate the people in your cars and even play Happy Birthday songs from inside. A good pick is Hannah Montana’s “Party in the USA” . Just because you’re social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t go to someone’s house.  Have them deck out their cars with balloons and signs and drive by.  Tell your child to look outside so they can all sing “Happy Birthday” when he/she comes to the door.

 

Have a (virtual) house party

Set up a meeting on Zoom and invite all your childs friends to celebrate. The video quality on Zoom is impeccable and you can see each participant’s face in a simple grid view. Want to make things really special? Tell the guest of honor to sign on at little later than everyone else and sing “Happy Birthday” when they log on.

As well as giving you the space to chat and hangout with whoever you like, Houseparty offers a range of in-app activities to do with your friends, including ‘Heads Up!’ and trivia. You can also share your screen with the people on your call, making it super easy to watch films or TV programmes together as you celebrate.

Record a Birthday Greeting!

Ask a bunch your your child’s friends to all send in a recorded video birthday message they can leave a personalized greeting or share a special memory. Once you have all the video recordings you can put them all together to play for your child on their special day. Video Mixer is great to combine all the videos that you collect!

The best gifts for a quarantine birthday

Not sure what to ask for or what to give? Here are a few ultimate quarantine birthday present ideas:

  • Movies or streaming subscriptions
  • Board games
  • Flowers
  • Lottery tickets
  • Books or e-books
  • iTunes or entertainment gift cards
  • Activity books

Stuck Inside? Let’s Put Some FUN in Your Day!

There’s a little extra chaos and anxiety in many homes across the state. After many districts closed schools and extended spring breaks last week to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, parents are left scrambling with what to do with their kids and how to keep a fun and positive atmosphere at home.  You and your family should take this time and make the best of it by adding some fun into your day here are some ideas you may want to try!
Indoor Camping
Schedule an indoor “camp out” with sleeping bags, a tent, board games, and s’mores. Camping inside is a fun and simple way to unplug, reconnect with your family, and have a great time. Plus, you’ll have indoor plumbing!
Balloon Tennis
All you need is a balloon, two paper plates, and two craft sticks. The match can now begin! No craft sticks? Simply keep the balloon in the air as long as you can with a paper plate or even your hands.
Photo Booth Fun 
Tap into your kids’ dress up trunk or bring out their old Halloween costumes for some photo fun. Have your kids strike a pose during your own custom photo shoot. Want to be in the photos? Use a book or bag of rice to prop up your phone or turn the tables and have the kids take pictures of you.
Jenga!
Play Jenga, or use whatever you have to try a Jenga-type game. For example, you can build a fun Jenga-style tower with sponge pieces.

 

Freeze Dance
All you need is music, and the only guideline is to freeze when the music is paused. Encourage kids to “freeze” in fun poses or with funny faces. Use a variety of musical styles and tempos.

Board Games

Board games are always a fun option for two or more. Even the littlest kids can play cooperative games like tic tac toe and connect 4.  Cooperative games like these can be played from about age two and up and can be played in a variety of ways (because we all know that toddlers need flexibility).

A Letter From AMJ……We Are Here For You.

Dear Valued Customers,

First and foremost, we hope you and your family / friends are safe and healthy.

As news relating to the coronavirus is changing on a daily basis, which has consequential impact on how we plan, hold, and celebrate events, we wanted to let you know that we are still here for you.

We are planning for ways to function, either in our office or remotely, and we will continue to serve our clients once the virus pandemic passes.  We are taking the necessary precautions cleaning equipment, setting up training classes for staff, and preparing for when it is safe to hold events.

While many events planned through April have been cancelled, the majority of our clients are saying their events are being postponed – for a future date in May, June, or later in the year.

In an effort to better prepare for when it’s business as usual again we will need to make sure we are securing those rescheduled dates. We are also contacting clients who have held events in May/June of 2019 so that we may be able to “lock in” their event date and get a sense of event scheduling for this spring/summer.

We are asking for your help and cooperation in 2 ways:

  1. If you are postponing your event, please consider choosing a new date, soon, as we anticipate our event calendar will be filling up faster/ earlier than normal.  Your deposit will remain on file for your future date which will help ensure we are able to help you with your entertainment/rental needs.
  2. COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the events industry. Please help by signing the petition below asking for federal assistance in aiding our industry during this crisis.

https://www.change.org/p/donald-j-trump-federal-aid-package-for-events-industry

Thank you for your support during this difficult time.

We hope to see you at an event soon,

Thank you,
Stephen Rhea
Managing Partner

1st Annual “Grinchmas” for Off the Street Club!

“What if Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more…” 💚

Last night was a magical night for about 50 kids from the Off The Street Club in Chicago, as they were able to celebrate Christmas thanks to the amazing team at AMJSE!

Since 1983 the kids of the Off The Street Club have been able to celebrate a Christmas thanks to Chicago based The Meeting House.  However last year The Meeting House closed its doors and sold off their inventory to AMJ Spectacular Events which meant no Christmas event for the more than 50 kids who participate in the event each year.  

When Lindsey Rhea and her siblings realized that there would not be a Christmas event, they all rallied together and decided to put on the event themselves. “We just couldn’t let those kids not have a Christmas for most of them it is the only Christmas they will have,” said Lindsey Rhea,  of AMJSE. 

Founded in 1900, Off The Street Club is Chicago’s oldest boys and girls club. Currently serving more than 3,000 kids in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the country, West Garfield Park. They are truly grateful to all the supporters, including the Chicago advertising, marketing and media community. Providing a place where kids can truly find hope. Every child seeking a safe place to go is welcome to join for games, play and mentorship. 

AMJSE would like to give a shout out and  HUGE THANK YOU to every single person who donated gifts & their time to the kids of Off The Street Club! “We could not have done our “first season” of Grinchmas without you!”

From the kids shocked faces walking in the door, to their exit each snuggled in a blanket and with bags full of goodies, it was a whirlwind of fun 🎁 Our hearts are so full! Thank you all again. December 15, 2020- let’s do it again!

Throw the Best Fall Parties!

AMJ Fall Event Planning

Use the fall colors, scents and nature as inspiration for your big fall party. Planning and preparation are the key to any good party, and throwing an outdoor fall party is no different. There are certain things that you need to take into consideration, especially the weather (unpredictable as it may be). AMJ Spectacular Events has been helping to plan parities & events for over 15 years, here are some fall planning tips from our experts to ensure your fall outdoor party will be fun, successful and guests will be left wondering when the next  celebration is!

Pick an Outdoor Fall Party Theme

Fall has a lot happening, which opens the floodgates of theme ideas. You can throw a harvest party utilizing pumpkins, apples and leaves as inspiration. Fall is known for football so that can be your theme. Back to school and Oktoberfest are great themes too. So the first thing you need to do is decide on your fall party theme. Once that is in place, you can work on the rest of the outdoor party ideas. halloween_1510982c

Plan a Fall Food Frenzy

There are so many great fall foods and if you are planning on feeding guests you may want to consider grilling it’s always a great option for outdoor events, but it can be time-consuming. If you want fall snacks AMJSE rents Hot Pretzel Warmers and Popcorn Machines for easy on the go fall snacks.  Other popular fall foods are our Mini Donuts with different toppings as well as our Churro Warmer.  

If you something more festive with the season your guests will love our Carmel Apple Bar with different toppings and sauces it is sure to be a huge hit.  The weather can be quite chilly so be sure to warm up guests with Hot Apple Cider or Hot Chocolate, which features customizable options for the table.  amj-hot-apple-cider-hot-chocolate-bar-table-28-111

Keep Guests Entertained

Plan some fall-themed activities or rent some fun games.  Put out some backyard games for your guests to play. Corn hole is always a good option. Additionally, horseshoes and bocce ball can also be played in the fall too. Let kids bob for apples or have potato sack races. Make a pumpkin painting patch for the kids as well.

footballtoss2_295Guest will love playing our oversized version of Jenga, Connect Four or even Battleship they fit perfectly into fall themed events. If your looking for more sports related rentals try our Inflatable Football Toss or Framed Football Toss.

If you’re hosting an event were you have a bit more space your guests will love our inflatable Haunted Mansion  and our all new Happy Halloween Fun Village.  If your event has more of a fall theme check out our Corn Maze, its so fun to see how fast guests can get through the maze.

 

Lindsey Rhea, an event planner at AMJ, loves putting together fall movie nights with AMJ’s inflatable screens,  “Create an outdoor movie party to take advantage of the earlier nightfall and decorate the area with pumpkins and other fall or Halloween items. There are so many great Halloween themed movies you can choose from.” says Lindsey. Please visit us at amjse.com for more information.School-Fun-Fair-4u-AMJ-Spectacular-Events-Indoor-or-Outdoor-movie-night-b


Perfect 4th of July Party Planning!

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Before you know it, summer will be in full swing. For those of us who love to barbeque, this means that the most beloved holiday of all is here: the 4th of July. This Independence Day, why not celebrate in style with the perfect July 4th party?

If you’re looking to have a killer 4th of July bash, read on to discover some handy party planning tips from AMJ’s  Event Planner, Lindsey Rhea.

Load Up on Party Props

In true 4th of July spirit, fill a basket or bucket with red, white, and blue trimmings. Visit the dollar store or your local party store and load up on all sorts of inexpensive, what-would-you-need-this-for? items. We’re talking about paper pinwheels, flag picks, and streamers. Hint: Don’t overlook the decor meant for tables, walls, and ceilings, either.

Kick Your Theme Up a Notch

“Integrating a theme is my favorite part of planning a party, and it’s so easy to do with a party like this one. You don’t have to come uIMG_3162p with a theme for a 4th of July party; it’s already there in the holiday itself.”, says Lindsey.  Even if you don’t love planning parties and want to keep it simple, showing your patriotism with a few bursts of red, white and blue can pull your party together visually and turn a little shindig in the backyard to a fabulous party.

A few ideas:

  • Serve festive foods like red, white and blue snow cones.
  • Play patriotic music in the background
  • Decorate the tables with Mason jars filled with red and white carnations and a small American flag, decorated with a blue ribbonScreen Shot 2018-06-11 at 9.17.17 PM

Patriotic Bites

What’s a 4th of July party without a barbeque? AMJ can help you throw the perfect BBQ with our grill rentals, in case you need extra!  The easiest way to feed a lot of guests quickly and efficiently is buffet style. And with the addition of table & chairs rentals and tent rentals you can ensure to create the perfect outdoor space. As a tip, try to get all of your rentals, including inflatables, from the same company, as it will be the easiest to coordinate and the most cost effective.

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 9.15.59 PMEntertaiment

Keep the kids occupied with festive inflatables including AMJ’s red, white & blue single lane slide or bounce house. If the weather is going to be extra warm then adding a water slide is a must like our 18′ modular slide with pool.  Adults love our Giant backyard games including our Giant Jenga, Giant Connect Four and Bag Toss.  With an inventory of over 1,000 items AMJ can help plan the perfect event to fit all your needs.

Contact Lindsey today and get started with your summer party planning!

Planning a Springtime Event….Start with a Call to AMJ!


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Spring is about more than just flowers. As events move outdoors, the season brings an abundance of ideas for colorful, cheerful decorations, appetizers, centerpieces, and more. From whimsical tea parties and Easter-egg hunts to jaw-dropping floral design and fresh cocktail recipes, spring-theme events will always be popular. Springtime events can be so fun including communion & graduation parties as well as end of the year and Memorial Day celebrations.  Whether you’re planning a company outing, teambuilding activity, fund-raiser, or school event, there are plenty of ideas for spring events and corporate entertaining this spring.  Let’s look at some helpful tips:

  1. Start the planning process early. In fact, start earlier than you think you need to. This allows you to do your planning in a relaxed orderly fashion. It is never a problem to finish early and be able to sit back and relax. Starting early also allows you the ability to more easily address any problems that crop up during the process.
  2. Talk to a professional planner or coordinator.  If you need a lot of support and help, you should hire a real professional that has some solid experience and can provide the direction and guidance you need. AMJ Spectacular Events is a complete party rental company, designed to fit any sized party at any budget. They are family owned and operated while being supported by a professional & dependable staff. Their Event Specialists have many years of experience planning events for backyard parties, corporate events, picnics, country clubs, tradeshows, churches, colleges, and holiday parties.
  3. If you are going to hire a professional there are a lot of things to consider:
    1. First and foremost, make sure you are comfortable with them;
    2. What type of experience do they have;
    3. Can you see some photos of events they have done;
    4. How long have they been in business;
    5. Can they provide testimonials from people they have worked for and with;
    6. What are their fees;
    7. Will they handle booking all of the service providers for the day or will they simply coordinate all of the moving parts for you.Company_Picnic
  4. Consider an Outdoor Event Spring is a perfect time to consider holding an event outside. Before summer starts to heat things up, the spring is a perfect time to enjoy temperate weather and get some fresh air. Events can be held anywhere from company grounds to a nearby park or on rented space. Determine the location that’s best for you and the events that suit your party’s theme. Ask about our tents, tables and chairs too!
  5. Don’t Skip the Entertainment A good party should be about more than just getting tIMG_3162ogether and eating. Put some consideration into finding DJ service or entertainer. Other ways of livening up the mood include events like trivia/game show rental  or karaoke. Consider a range of entertainment options that can satisfy all your guests. Some popular choices include  Giant Game Rentals like Jenga and Battleship as well as  inflatables for all ages including a Wizards Castle or a Hungry Hippo for older kids.  AMJSE has 1literally 000,’s of inflatables, games, concessions, interactive products, trains, photo booths, and much more.  Their products are fun and add excitement to events, which in turn creates memories that last a lifetime for everyone in attendance!

Relationships with dependable and reliable vendors allow us to provide additional services to make your event truly spectacular. AMJSE would like to be your “one stop shop” to ease some of the stress of event planning. Give us a call or email today to begin your planning!

Celebrate the Spirit of Competition!

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Celebrate the upcoming Winter Olympic Games with these great Olympic themed party games! They’re fun for all ages, themed after the most popular Winter Olympic events. They’re perfect for any type of party anytime of the year!  Olympic style parties are more popular than ever and you can re create this “Go for the Gold” competitive themed event on a large or small scale. Here are our tips to create an Olympic themed party:

GAMESScreen Shot 2018-02-20 at 11.00.02 AM

 #1: Man vs. Clock

In this version, one player will be trying to beat the clock for each game. So for instance, they will have to try and finish the task in a minute. If they do, they win a prize. If not, let someone else have a shot. If you go with this style, I recommend choosing a different person for each game.

 #2: Head to Head

In this style, you’ll pick two players for each game who will going head to head against each other playing a game rather than trying to beat the clock. So for instance, you’d give two people a bucket full of ping pong balls (preferably different colors) and see who can get them over the ramp first.

#3: Team Competition

In this style, you’ll split your group into two (or 3 or 10 depending on the number of guests) teams. For each game, teams must choose one player to compete head to head in the game with the other teams. The entire team won’t be competing, just one person from each team at a time.

First team to finish gets five points, second gets three, and etc. This works best if you have quite a few people and is a good way to get everyone involved cheering for their team.

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 10.47.43 AMWant to kick it up a notch…rent these for your event!

Bring our Floor Curling to your next event and bring an winter olympic feel to your party.  Kids & adults will also love our Tug of War and Bouncing Boxing. We have so many games that can re create a fun competitive Olympic themed event! Perfect themed event for colleges and school field days!

 

FOOD & DECOR

Olympians need to keep up their strength, so make sure they visit your buffet table to sample some of these Olympics themed party foods:

  • Serve a smorgasbord of international foods and decorate with small flags from around the world.
  • Make an Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 10.54.48 AMOlympics-themed cake that represents the rings and torch.
  • Snack-filled torches: fill ice cream cones with orange or red snack foods (to represent the flame), such as cheese balls or cheddar cheese popcorn.
  • Serve a variety of round, “ring-style” foods to honor the Olympic rings. Ideas include donuts, pizza bagels, and breadsticks that have been twisted into circles before baking.
  • Use the colors of the Olympic rings as your color scheme: blue, yellow, black, green, and red. Incorporate these colors in your table dressings, balloons, and paper streamers.
  • Use international flags as part of your decor.

Whether you want to throw an all-out Olympics party or just want to invite some friends over to watch the big events on TV, you can have fun celebrating in gold-medal style.