My youngest wanted a Spy/Detective party so I went straight to Pinterest and got things sorted. Perfect party planning tool with a wealth of inspiration. Sweet.
A spy base was cordoned off and upon arrival, guest spies had to have their fingerprints scanned before access was either granted or denied.
The spy base was decorated with retro technology that we have around. Weapons, fart guns, magnifying glasses, ink pads for fingerprinting, safes, money and jewels...
To get the all hyped up at the start, a robber snuck in and ate all the cookies that I had put out for the party. He left only crumbs and footprints.
We all wore shoes for the party and the footprints were made earlier using a crayon rubbings.
When the 4/5 year old spies were asked how they would find the robber, it took them a few minutes to decide on a plan.
My favourite suggestion was sniffing the tracks and then sniffing out the robber.
Eventually it was suggested that they might check everyone's shoes against the patterns left and they very quickly apprehended the suspect.
Then, they had to do a taste test of the leftover cookie crumbs. If they guessed the brand of cookie correctly, they got to have more than just the crumbs.
That was good fun and they were all into it.
After that, the spys began finding clues that led them on missions around the house. Clues were written in invisible ink and needed the special decoding black light torches to be read.
This eventually led them to the laser beam obstacle course.
Which was neon yarn tied around a climbing frame, put together by the clever handy hubby.
We had one big black light on, but we also had a few hand-held black light torches for them to use.
The spies had to get through the course without touching the "beams". They also had to find a piece of paper with their name written on it in highlighter. These were tied onto the frame with a key attached.
Once they found their key, they were given another clue which led them to a room filled with "Bombs". (Black balloons.) Beyond the bombs were individual lock boxes that could only be accessed once the bombs were deactivated. (Popped)
Here are the lock boxes during assembly.
These were instead of party bags and organizing these is my favourite part of party planning.
Wilkinson's Cash Boxes £4.85 each.
Yes; they were a bit pricey, but I had done a lot of looking around.
There were some slightly cheaper and much flimsier pirate treasure tins on Amazon, but I would rather give something that would last and be used for a long time.
We also had a limited number of guests, so this was feasible.
(We had the party at home. The price of the boxes and goodies for a group of 5 children (each party) was still a fraction of the cost of parties at hired venues. Apart from balloons, food and a few extra torches, we had everything else already, so party costs were minimal.)
Wilkinsons also have a very speedy delivery time which was useful since I had spent too much precious time researching prices.
I was stubborn and specifically wanted the lock boxes because my boy was/is really into keys and locks at the time.
In the box:
notepad and pencil
chocolate coin money
explosive sweets-crackling candy
I'm pleased that we did these boxes because they were a big hit.
To keep them busy a bit longer, we didn't match the keys to their boxes for them. They had to find which box matched their keys.
They did this in less than 5 frenzied minutes.
Handy Hubby then took control of the spare keys to give to parents and labelled their boxes with their names.
These were such a bit hit, that the older boy asked if he could please have them at his party as well, so another order was placed, and a very similar party #2 was planned with only a few adjustments for the older boys.
Highlighter pens and black light torches.
Our Nerf guns and bullets lit up well under the Black light, so we had a few rounds of indoor "laser" target practice.
A last minute target drawn using highlighter markers.
Of course they also used each other as targets.
They were so busy and had so much fun, that I had forgotten that I had glow-in-the-dark silly string to whip out under the black light.
Rather than waste it, I got them all in the morning after the sleepover.
The best part about this was making the kids tidy it all up.
We then busted them CSI style with our black light torches later that night.
The oily stuff stays on the walls, but isn't easily visible in daylight.
But when it gets dark and you shine the UV torches on them, it glows.
Awesome stuff, but not recommended if you have recently decorated or have an aversion to mess.
I think these were possible the best kid's parties we have ever thrown. This was down to having a wealth of activity ideas available on Pinterest, being organised in advance, having a small and sensible number of children at each party and having the laser beam obstacle course and lock boxes.
The laser beams stayed up for a long time after the parties. I was reluctant to take it down on account of it's awesomeness.