What to Know About Balloons


How do you decorate a party? You can use streamers, confetti, music, colorful tablecloths, and of course, balloons. Balloons are easily affordable and can be found nearly anywhere, both latex balloons and foil balloons. They can be pumped with helium in some cases, though air filled balloons are easier to make, since not everyone has access to a helium pump. Many party supply stores will sell packets of latex balloons or packages of foil balloons, and such balloons can often be found at grocery stores, too, either in packages or inflated and ready for use. What should a buyer know about balloons? Are helium balloons or air filled balloons better for their party?

Using Latex Balloons

The very idea of balloons goes back further than some people might realize. All the way back in 1824, professor Michael Faraday invented them when he fused together the edges of two rubber sheets and filled them with air, and balloons have been used ever since. Today, though, it is more common to make balloons out of latex than rubber, since this eases strain on natural forests. Harvesting rubber puts pressure on the rain forest, but a latex tree can provide materials for 40 years without getting killed in the process. So, latex balloons are much more environmentally friendly.

Latex balloons are often the “typical” balloons, and they are most often shaped like tear drops, though they can also form heart shapes when they are made just right. These latex balloons can be 10 to 30 centimeters wide, and they can be filled with either helium or air. When it comes to air filled balloons, those balloons may last much longer than those filled with helium, and a person can use an air pump or even their own breath to make air filled balloons as needed. Helium balloons can be inflated with a pump, and they can also be bought pre-filled at a carnival or similar event. Helium balloons float, so they are usually tied to a thick string and held with either a weight or tied to something so they don’t get lost. Using latex balloons also means basic safety, and un-inflated balloons can be a choking hazard if they aren’t kept away from small children and pets. Also, latex balloons should not be allowed near heat sources such as open flames or a hot light bulb, since this may heat up and expand the balloon’s air and cause it to burst.

Foil Balloons

A more recent invention is foil balloons, and they can take a wider variety of shapes than latex ones. These balloons are made when foil sheets are cut into the desired shape in a factory, and then their edges are fused together. The foil balloon can then be filled with helium. These balloons can be shaped like squares, circles, hearts, or even numbers or letters, making them flexible and attractive for decorations. They can be a solid color, or they may be silver and have an image printed on them in the factory. Those images may be pop culture visuals or a message such as “happy birthday” or “get well soon.” Foil balloons can often be bought fully inflated at grocery stores, but customers can also buy un-inflated foil balloons at the grocery store in packages.

Using Balloons

Where to use these lovely balloons? A kid’s birthday party is a great time for balloons, and the party may include a foil “happy birthday” balloon, as well as latex ones. When filled with air, latex balloons can be taped to the walls, the backs of chairs, or scattered on the floor as a ball pit. Helium filled balloons can be tied down with string and affixed to a weight or tied to a wooden deck’s railing, for example. Meanwhile, balloons are a great gift for a hospital patient who is recovering, and balloons may also make for decent Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day gifts, such as red heart shaped balloons or one with a message printed on it. Finally, air filled latex balloons can decorate a high school prom when they are held in a wooden cage that’s fixed to the room’s ceiling. During the dance, the balloons will be scattered everywhere, and this can be great fun.

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