HICKSVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A nationwide helium shortage could cause parties to fall flat, as some shoppers have begun to see limits on the number of balloons that they can purchase.

As stores fill with shoppers looking for the perfect balloon for their summertime parties, they told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan that the helium shortage is sparking a change in party decoration purchases.

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When asked what’s the alternative to balloons, Seaford High School graduate Gabby Charno said, “I guess use streamers to replace the balloons we won’t have.”

Other shoppers echoed Charno’s sentiments.

“What will I do instead of balloons? Oh my goodness, I don’t know, I have no idea,” said Louis Esquivel of Massapequa.

Stores in New Hyde Park and Hicksville told customers that balloons were being filled on a first come, first serve basis, and that their balloons might have to be underfilled, or filled with hot air instead.

With tanks running close to empty, a new supply has been promised for the holiday weekend.

“We have graduation season, bridal showers, communion showers, it’s huge,” said store owner Christine Masi.

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Christopher Leahy of Airweld Inc., said that the situation has gotten very serious.

“We are definitely in a crisis mode now regarding helium supply and our ability to obtain helium,” he said.

Leahy’s company supplies helium but he said he has ceased conducting any new business until the crisis passes. Texas and Wyoming are the only helium-producing states in the country and the warm winter greatly diminished the amount of available molecules.

Helium companies are taking measures to ensure that available helium goes where it is needed most, to MRI machines and medical and scientific labs.

“We’ve taken austerity measures and we’ve put people on allocation. Certainly for the most critical needs we need service, some helium is better than no helium,” Leahy said.

Experts said that supplies could loosen up in late July, but until that happens party planners will have to improvise.

How will you replace balloons at your next party? Let us know in our comments section below…

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