Art of War for Face Painters: Ticket Trouble

Problem: You're working at a school fundraising event, and this year they are selling tickets specifically for face painting rather than using the general tickets available for the other activities. The event is busy, but is running smoothly until you reach the final half hour.

You pass out stickers for the last fifteen children in line based on the amount of time you have remaining. When you look up a few minutes later, however, you realize that another ten kids have joined the line. You tell the newcomers that the face painting is over in twenty minutes, so you won't have time to paint them as well. Only the children with stickers will be painted. The others protest that they purchased tickets just for face painting. They want to be painted, too.

You feel a little panicky when a glance reveals that the volunteers are, in fact, still selling tickets for face painting, and they haven't taking into account your scheduled end time. Naturally, these kids want their faces painted and have purchased tickets expecting it, but you have to pack up on time so you aren't late for your next event. 

Solution: Each fundraising event has different organizers who have their own ideas for how they want to handle their event. The best thing you can do is to ask the organizers beforehand to define how they plan to incorporate face painting so you can troubleshoot in advance. The last thing you want is the unpleasant situation described above, because it results in upset children, upset parents, and upset event organizers (who possibly didn't think the ramifications of their ticket process through before giving instructions to the volunteers selling them). 

Sometimes a school will want to sell tickets specifically for face painting because it allows them to more easily track how many children enjoy that activity, but if they do, those tickets should be sold next to where you are face painting. Otherwise, you run the risk of the volunteers selling to more children than you can paint in the amount of time you have available.

If selling tickets near you is not a viable option, offer suggestions such as the following. Many schools sell general tickets and place volunteers at the activity stations to collect them. The tickets can be used for any activity available, so if face painting closes, children can use them for the bounce house or carnival games instead.

Some events provide cards which can be hole-punched as children participate in each activity, so they also can be used for multiple activities at the function. With a volunteer doing the hole-punching, it becomes easy to let her know when face painting is about to end so she can warn children not to join the line. 

Communication between you and your client is key for large events. As with most problem scenarios, planning and understanding what the organizers' event strategy is in advance will help you all avoid problems on the back end of the event and keep everyone happy. 

Beth MacKinney is the owner of and primary face painter for Face Paint Pizzazz in Elgin, Illinois, and her artwork has appeared in The Colored Palette and SkinMarkz magazines. She services the western and northwestern Chicago suburbs, Chicago’s north side, and the eastern and southeastern suburbs of Rockford. Stop by to enjoy more of Beth’s face painting tutorials.