The Party to Spy For!
Operation Birthday has commenced. You’ve sent out the invitations, young recruits are on their way, but now what? What activities, décor, cake, and favors can you muster up to really create the Spy Party of a lifetime?
Keep in mind that spying is not detective work or crime solving, so stay away from all the CSI stuff. For this party, you need to really focus on tradecraft (the skills and tools of a spy). Get the party rolling right from the get go by sending out invitations that are stamped TOP SECRET. You can also use invisible ink for some of the information and provide either a developer pen or a UV light so your young recruits can reveal the important intelligence. You can also put some or all of the party intel. into cipher code. Use a cipher wheel online or another coding or cipher method. Remember to provide the guests with the tool they need to decipher it!
Your home (or wherever your party is being held) should be referred to as Base Ops (Base of Operations) or HQ (Headquarters). Your young guests become “recruits” and the birthday boy or girl can be the Chief of Operations (COPS). You and other adults become the “handlers.” And the party itself can be set up as Spy Boot Camp – or Spy School.
Some activities that would be really fun and spy like would be to create new identities (otherwise known as your cover identity) and a new look to match it through a disguise buffet. You can order wigs, tattoos, sunglasses, mustaches, hats, etc. online – or you can just collect items from your home. Recruits will have to transform themselves in preparation for a spy mission using the disguise materials. They will need to come up with a new name, new birth date, new place of birth, even switch gender if they are daring! You can create a passport or ID card that they fill out and then take digital photos or Polaroid photos and affix a head shot of them in disguise to their new ID.
Once in disguise, they should go on a mission. This mission can be outside or inside but it should involve obtaining top secret intelligence. For example perhaps they need to find a document in a desk or retrieve a fake rock with a message in it. Again, this document or note can be in code or cipher and they would have to decipher it – this can lead to a second mission of obtaining even more intelligence.
Your young recruits can also use some spy gadgetry – they might need to conceal a digital camera and capture a photo of a meeting (you can stage this) or even take a photo of a document. A good spy leaves no trace, so if they are to obtain a document – they should photograph it. You can find some cool spy gadgets at the International Spy Museum Store that would enhance any spy mission. From night vision goggles, to invisible ink, to peanut butter jars and other concealment devices, all of these items would really take the party to the next level!
You can even make finding the cake the ultimate mission. The top secret messages can lead them to the location of the cake. And then to top it off the cake can read “Mission Accomplished.” OR you can make a round (ball shaped) cake, cover it with black fondant, stick a sparkler in the top and use a red licorice string to make a bomb cake that they would need to detonate by eating!
Here’s hoping party is to spy for! Don’t forget to check out our spy party goods and favors at the International Spy Museum Store.
(AKA Jacqueline V. Eyl, Youth Education Director, International Spy Museum, Washington, DC.)
Thanks for the great information Agent Crafty!
Birthday Party Ideas 4 Kids