By Jessica Allen

It’s not hocus pocus: here’s how to give the child in your life a birthday to remember. Faster than you can say “abracadabra,” the best magicians for kids in New York City will have your little ones having fun, grinning from ear to ear, and learning just how magical the world can be.

Arnie Kolodner
(212) 582-2633

Arnie Kolodner and his talented team will transform your house (or apartment or backyard or wherever) into a professional children’s theater, where party attendees will be asked to actively participate in the magic and illusions. Indeed, one of the many things that make Arnie so great is his desire to give kids the chance to use their imaginations and bolster their creativity. He offers several themes, from cats to Star Wars to Harry Potter, or you can work together to design the ideal event. Best of all: at least one kid will get the opportunity to levitate.

Brian McGovern
(646) 435-4088

Brian McGovern blends magic and stand-up, creating a family-friendly show that will wow everyone from Tiny Timmy to Grandma Gladys. Magic may be a serious art, but that doesn’t mean magicians have to be serious, or so goes the thinking behind these very fun shows. Along with jokes and patter, Brian specializes in sleight of hand, the best of now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t illusions and effects. For kids, Brian breaks out the colorful scarves and rubber chickens, and, yes, a rescue bunny who may (or may not) spend some time in a hat.

Gary Ferrar (aka Gary the Great!)
(646) 389-7325

We researched a lot of magicians to determine this list, but we found just one who included a photo of himself at his first paying gig: as a child Gary Ferrar earned a few bucks juggling for a friend. All these years later, he makes his living as a mentalist and a magician, and hasn’t lost one drop of his enthusiasm for the craft. In addition to a pretty cool magic show, Gary and his crew offer several other services, including face-painting and balloon-sculpting. You can order special magic wands to hand out as party favors and schedule a magic trick workshop too.

Magic Evan
(855) 624-4238

The philosophy behind Magic Evan’s magic shows is simple: Magic Evan believes that magic is a gift, and this spirit of generosity animates his performances. His family-friendly show puts the spotlight on kids, meaning his illusions and effects are designed to knock the socks off the little ones (not that adults won’t have fun too, of course!). Armed with a degree in educational theater, Magic Evan has performed thousands of shows in NYC, and he offers various customizable packages, depending on whether you want a little magic or A LOT OF MAGIC (emphasis ours).

Mario the “Maker” Magician
(917) 605-0662

Run by a husband-and-wife team, Mario the “Maker” Magician’s shows seek to inspire kids to create, not to consume or buy their way to happiness. Mario designs and constructs all his own props, so he’s an inventor in addition to being a performer and magician (hence the “maker” part of his title). His act encourages kids to use their brains and whatever stuff they have on hand, and offers a generous dose of child-approved slapstick. It’s awesome. But don’t just take our word for it: none other than David Blaine called Mario “the best kid’s magician in the world!!”