By Stacey L. Evans
Photography by Shanda Crowe and courtesty of Brandon Opitz
Brandon Opitz appeared to be a typical student when he attended the University of Georgia. He was a psychology major, and spent much of his time on campus involved in intramural football and softball.
But on the weekends, he would go home, slip into a red and blue masked costume, and re-enter the world as a superhero.
He wasn’t out fighting crime in dark alleys, but he was bringing joy and wonder to children in his part-time gig dressing up as Spiderman to entertain at parties. He loved the job and continued it until graduation.
“It was incredibly gratifying,” he said. “I was bringing this child’s dream to life. He was able to meet his hero and I was a part of that moment.”
After earning his bachelor’s, Brandon traded in the superhero costume for a suit and tie. He worked in pharmaceutical sales and at insurance companies, but underneath the corporate attire he was still a superhero at heart.
“Everybody always asked me what my favorite job I ever had was and I would say being Spiderman and working with kids,” Brandon said.
One day a light bulb suddenly came on in his head: He could start his own business. His vision, Fairytaled Parties, presents themed parties for children with their choice of costumed characters he has available, including Bat Hero, Spider Hero and a number of princesses.
“You know when you think about what you want to do with your life and if you’re happy or not? I decided I didn’t want to work behind a desk anymore and I knew I really wanted to get out and work with children. And on top of that, who doesn’t want to grow up and be a superhero? So I figured this would be a fun way to spend the rest of my life, and I wanted to do whatever I could to make this happen.”
Brandon wants his parties to be truly memorable experiences for kids. He and his mother Becky Opitz brainstormed creative ways to keep kids engaged. The superhero parties are geared toward ‘superhero training.’ Games follow that theme.
“We do a sack race which I say is an agility test; tug of war helps you work on your strength and the parachute games are hand-eye coordination. Then I make them balloon swords and we begin our combat practice,” said Brandon. “We also do magic tricks… superheroes have to be able to deceive their opponents, you’ve got to have some magic in what you do. They all get superhero tattoos. At the end of it, we have a special certificate that states ‘this day in history will be a special day and you are now deemed a superhero by The League of Superheroes.’”
Princess parties have similar activities, but with a different slant — princess training.
An egg race teaches how to walk like a princess. Princess Says, like Simon Says, has the princesses-in-training follow commands such as ‘do a princess curtsey’ or a ‘princess twirl.’ The princess parties also have parachute games.
“We will take a stuffed animal like Olaf and toss it around or play duck, duck goose. The princesses also do story time and face painting. At the end of the party, The Princess Council declares that [the children] are now recognized as official princesses.”
Just as important as the games and activities is creating a magical environment and bringing the characters to life, said Brandon. That’s why he invested in superior costumes that are custom-made. The details and quality make a big difference in presenting the superhero or princess persona as ‘real.’ He also trains his fellow performers on how to present themselves as part of that fairytale. For Brandon, it’s ingrained in him.
“I thrive off of positive people and the environment I’m in,” said the outgoing personality. “When I am in costume and see the excitement of all the guests and birthday kid, it fuels my personality.”
He transforms into that superhero and the children really respond to his energy.
“It’s just like having your inner child — you can be goofy and be fun,” he said. “The things kids say and the way they react, there is never a dull moment. Hero and princess movies are so captivating to these kids … bringing a world that they just saw in TV or the movies to life for them … it’s enjoyable to see their excitement over it. To think this could be my career — just having fun with children, that is a great job.”
Mesmerizing costumed characters who come armed with structured activities translates to less stress for party-planning parents.
“Parents are always shocked that I am able to get 20 kids to listen to me for an hour,” said Brandon. “It’s a really captivating party. So if you’re worried what to do and you want to keep something simple at the house, I can’t think of anything better than this.”
In addition to keeping children entertained for an hour or two, Fairytaled Parties will give them memories to last forever.
“Plus the pictures,” said Brandon. “Everybody wants a ton of pictures.”
Parties are booked by the hour regardless of activities performed. Find pricing, availability and list of characters at http://fairytaledparties.com or call 770.844.8146.