Throwing a surprise party can be fun not only for the guest of honor, but also the people planning. Actually, in some cases, especially for the people planning. Keeping a secret can be the most thrilling fun anyone can have. It can sometimes be quite disappointing for the one being celebrate as he/she won't be able to participate (although they get gifts). Surprise planning also has its downsides. If planned well in advanced (as these types of parties should be), you'll have to worry about someone disclosing top secret information, or maybe some party planning material lying in full view of the guest of honor, or worse yet, the party just not living up to your expectations. You essentially become a secret agent, albeit domesticated (no need hurling the phrase "shoot to kill" around), and it's your duty making sure all instances of a party taking place remain classified. Mainly to the birthday boy or girl, but also to those who may not be into your secret. And if you're so inclined to take on this task, why not let the ones you're inviting get into the same "secret agent" mode you're in? The party itself can be fun, but so can the party invitations, and here are a few ways you can liven up those invites.


enter codeCredit: Ross Brown


Imagine you're deep in the trenches of some war-torn country decoding a message from across enemy lines. It's from a fellow solider asking you to come to his friend's surprise birthday party. Bit of a stretch? Probably so, but still would be a fun way to send out surprise party invitations. You can find software that'll help you create custom invitations to write coded messages in them. Create an invitation where every other word (or every third word; however long your message is) reads in a sentence or so that a surprise party is being hosted. You could make it appear as a generic party invitation, and add a message saying something like "for more details go to my Facebook page" with the URL displayed. There you can tell them a coded message is in the invite and provide a key they can use to decipher it. This can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. You can even include directions in the coded message to where the party's being held. It might be a good idea to create a faux party - a party that's not really taking place - so they'd be surprise once they found the truth. Invent a fake person with a fake address displayed on fake retirement party invitations so no one will see it coming. Just make sure on the invite it's clear they need to go to your Facebook page. We only want one person surprised on the special day.

invisible thoughtsCredit: Evert-Jan van Scherpenzeel

The Invisible Invitation

Invisible ink is another alternative way you can send surprise party invitations. You could write on invitations with invisible ink a hidden message that would make the party a little more interesting. Kids would especially love this idea. You'd ask them to save their invitations and bring them to the party. You'd then offer invisible pen and UV light combo toys as party favors so they can read the hidden message. This could go a number of different ways. Turn the party into a scavenger hunt, and each person would view the hidden message letting them know who's team they might be on, or a clue on where to start scavenging. Of course, you'd want the birthday boy or girl to get involved, so you'd write a message on a gift making sure they open that one first. You could also designate places where each child should hide with your hidden message in order to surprise the birthday boy or girl. On the invitations you'd give them an early arrival time (not hidden of course), so everyone can get in place for the big moment. Another idea would be to use a stencil and draw shapes and designs on the invitations with neon markers and, If you're planning a blacklight themed surprise party, the invitations would display bright and colorful images plus any messages you included with the invisible ink. There are plenty more ideas you could use with invisible ink. Just be creative and have fun.

presentsCredit: Eliseeva Ekaterina

The Backfire Surprise Invite

Sending invitations to guests could be fun, but how 'bout sending one to the guest-of-honor? Sounds strange doesn't it? A bit silly, maybe? Well, not if you pull it off. You'd plan this weeks in advance of their actual birthday as to not arouse any suspicion. Say a surprise party is being held for someone. Someone they don't know and probably doesn't exist (this idea won''t work on a private eye or an investigative reporter). Put a legitimate time and place (with directions if needed), so it'll look genuine. Once they arrive everyone will already be there waiting to shock them into next week. And along the way they thought they'd be surprising the hair off of Johnny the-man-who-doesn't-exist Smith. They may not trust you for awhile afterward, but would still make a good surprise party. All it takes is just a little thinking outside the box when it comes to invitations.

Avoid Parties with Hair

Surprise parties are fun and can be applied to numerous other occasions. An engagement annoncing can be a surprise classifying it as a surprise party. People announce engagements at holiday parties or other unrelated events. And a surprise birthday party can be applied to all ages groups. Hosting a surprise 50th birthday party isn't too hard to believe. Just be careful when hosting a surprise retirement party as it can get hairy. She'd obviously be expecting a party after announcing her retirement, so that'd make your task a bit harder. And if you threw one before her announcement, but had an inkling she was going to retire, she might get offended that you jumped the gun (she'd definitely be surprised though). In either case, it won't be easy. But for whatever reason you're throwing a surprise party, start the bash off early with fun invitations so the anticipation can build. And remember, have fun!

presents image from Eliseeva Ekaterina/stock.xchng
enter code image from Ross Brown/stock.xchng
invisible thoughts image from Evert-Jan van Scherpenzeel/stock.xchng