Last issue we talked about Air Filled Balloons and how to use them in presentations(http://www.antion.com/ezinebackissues2001.htm vol 3 num 11 ).This issue we'll address ways to use helium filled balloons and several special concerns with regard to helium and balloons.
WARNING: Do not under any circumstance inhale or allow anyone to inhale helium. There are many documented cases of people inhaling helium and dropping dead on the spot. The helium replaces the oxygen in the lungs and you are gone fast.
WARNING: Do not release balloons into the air. The balloons have been found inside dead animals. You don't want to kill an animal and you don't want animal activists picketing your event.
=> Obtain really small portable helium tanks from party stores (they won't blow up many balloons, but they are fairly easy to carry)
=> Use strings and weights to line the entrance way to your seating area. You can use different length strings to make interesting patterns.
=> Put prizes in the balloons before you blow them up. Put long enough strings on each balloon so it can be retrieved if someone accidentally lets one go to the ceiling. (Here's a sneaky way to retrieve a balloon if the ceilings are really high. Get another helium balloon and tape a tack to it with the point facing up. Attach a long string to it and let the balloon rise to the ceiling where it will puncture the stray balloon causing it to fall back to the floor.)
=> This takes more skill, but you can create a balloon arch which makes a really pretty backdrop for the stage or you could have people walk through it as they enter the room.