Can You Rise to the Top of the Balloon World? | HumorOutcasts

Can You Rise to the Top of the Balloon World?

November 1, 2017

We were driving along the highway when we were forced to stop for construction. Imagine that—construction in Pennsylvania—who would have seen that coming?  As we came to a full stop, I noticed this truck in front of us. It had lots of balloons and it looked so festive. But what really caught my eye was the picture on the side panel which caused me to break out in a big smile. It seems that I was in the presence of a Certified Balloon Artist.

My curiosity was piqued so I decided to investigate the journey one takes to become a Certified Balloon Artist. Let me say right now: this is no cakewalk. I’m not sure which is more difficult to achieve–a certification in balloon artistry or a certification in neurosurgery.

Scoff if you must but this is serious stuff. As a person who failed shoelace tying in kindergarten and who hasn’t improved much since that time, I am in awe of a profession that relies on forming permanent knots in balloons to be successful. But it’s not just the knots that set these people apart. Nope.  In order to achieve this high certification status, applicants have to excel at different tasks. They must:

  • Complete all three online exams—count ‘em three—with a score of 80 % or higher. The Bar is only one test and I’m not sure if you need to get 80 % before the powers that be make you a lawyer—you know, at least the ones that advertise on TV for bad drug lawsuits.
  • They must take continuing education courses for two years before sitting for an in-person exam which consists of a four-hour practical test that highlights an applicant’s skill in balloon designs and centerpieces, permanent and temporary knots (yep, there are those knots), creating a twisted balloon flower and finally producing a five-balloon cluster garland. They have to participate in a mock sales call or delivery presentation and answer six surprise oral questions from the balloon industry test givers who head up the certification curriculum.

That’s a lot of pressure. I can’t remember if the SATs were that hard.  I have to admit that this delay in traffic gave me new respect for balloon animal creators and balloon bouquet makers. No longer do I think “It’s easy with helium.” Okay, I might not have ever thought that, but I know not to think that in the future. Next time I see a balloon delivery truck decorated with the words Certified Balloon Artist on its door, I will beep my horn in respect and think “Thank you for putting so much more into balloons than hot air.”

Donna Cavanagh

Donna Cavanagh is founder of (HO) and the partner publishing company, HumorOutcasts Press which now includes the labels Shorehouse Books and Corner Office Books ( As "den mother" to the more than 100 aspiring and accomplished writers, producers, comics and authors, Cavanagh's goal is to allow creativity to flow. She is a former journalist who made an unscheduled stop into humor more than 20 years ago. Her syndicated columns helped her gain a national audience when her work landed in the pages of First Magazine and USA Today. She teaches the how-to lessons of humor and publishing at conferences and workshops throughout the country including The Philadelphia Writers' Conference and Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop. The author of four humor books, Cavanagh hopes her latest book, How to Write and Share Humor: Techniques to Tickle Funny Bones and Win Fans, will encourage writers not only to embrace their humor talents but show them off as well.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - Google Plus

Share this Post:

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

9 Responses to Can You Rise to the Top of the Balloon World?

  1. November 7, 2017 at 5:55 am

    With all those steps to become certified it would be easy to blow it along the way. Isn’t it great what you can learn when you are stopped for construction?

  2. Bill Y "The Legend" Ledden
    November 5, 2017 at 5:42 am

    It’s so good that you’ve given air-time to something that is well above most of us, Don Don’s!

  3. November 2, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Lawyers may only have 1 bar exam to take, but they’re still filled with more hot air than a balloon artist.

  4. Bill Spencer
    November 2, 2017 at 7:21 am

    A tough business: if you don’t account for inflation, you go bust.

    • November 2, 2017 at 8:02 am

      Oh Bill Spencer! LOL That was one of your best!

  5. November 1, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Be careful! Helium might be the next drug epidemic. Too cute, Donna.

    • November 1, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Ohhh, I never thought of that Leslie!

  6. November 1, 2017 at 8:32 am

    I STILL think “it’s easy with helium.”

    • November 1, 2017 at 8:48 am

      Maybe I should start saying that. LOL That could be our new mantra Roz. When life gets tough we say, It’s easy with helium.

User Login

New Release
How to Write and Share Humor
By Donna Cavanagh Published by HumorOutcasts Press

Available in Paperback and Kindle

New Release
Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute
By Perry Block and HumorOutcasts Press

Available in Paperback and Kindle

New Release
Running Log
By Roger Hollis. and HumorOutcasts Press

Available in Paperback and Kindle