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Let them eat cake...and watch big screen TVs and ride ponies and skate... And let pros turn the hell of planning a birthday party into child's play. By Barbara Aria. Photographed by Beth Fazio.

Dr. Blood party

Dr. Blood (645-1299). Includes 1-hour show and workshop. Ages 7 and up.

Dr. Blood has a marketing problem: Mothers, who usually pick the party, were never seven-year-old boys. They just don't get the doc's totally sick, bloody-humor magic show. "[The boys] love blood, they love gross, they love bodily functions," says Dr. Blood. And so do some girls.

Under the guise of a medical doctor who has witch-doctor overtones (blood-stained lab coat, a "brain" in a jar and an alligator claw neklace), Dr. Blood performs his grody magic. After a spooky narrative lead-in and a warning not to try any of his tricks at home, Dr. Blood proceeds to chop off his hand, poke out his eye, stick a needle through his arm, and generally mutilate himself while the birthday boy (who gets to assist so none of the doc's body parts fall on the floor) and his pals shriek and squeal. For his grand finale, Dr. Blood takes a power saw and cuts through your kid's stomach. "It's a test of your courage," he tells the kids-which might also apply to parents willing to let this kind of bloodletting in their den before cake time. Each child goes home with a Dr. Blood magic kit filled with such ghastly things as blood capsules and chopped-off fingers with which to fool their mothers.

Dr. Blood picture