Idea No.


Front Yard Surprise -21yr- Croquet & Horseshoes



May 2006


Britny in Austin, Texas, USA

Runner Up

Surprise Party

For my boyfriend's 21st birthday party, I am throwing a Surprise Backyard Birthday Bash. He is such an amazing person and I don't think he even realizes it. So I want to do something that will show how special he is to me and all of our friends. I had originally planned on hosting a mystery dinner with a Caribbean theme where each person was a silly character. Unfortunately, one day my boyfriend and I were with a group of friends and someone mentioned a mystery party and my boyfriend thought that it was lame. (I personally love mystery parties and plan to host one for someone else) Anyways... I had to think of something that he would like and that pretty much ruled out theme parties. What he does like is a competition. So I've created an outdoor party where we can play some of his favorite games like horseshoes and croquet (guys this age turn croquet into an extreme contact sport!).

\*INVITATIONS\*: It's hard to get a hold of college students through mail because we are constantly at different locations (campus, parent's house, friend's house), so the best way to get a quick response is through e-mail. I sent out an e-vite with a surprise theme to about 15 people (also if anyone came in town that weekend unexpectedly, they were welcome to come too.). The colors match those of the decorations for the party. This e-vite provides details of the time (it was in the evening by the way) and location (including an interactive map to my house) and they can RSVP to the e-vite and I'll receive e-mails telling me who is coming. I also typed on the e-vite that after they replied, I would send them an e-mail with details on how we were going to surprise him. I'm attaching a word document to this e-mail. I used simple graphics to make a colorful border and typed ------------ Surprise 21st Birthday Bash!!! in the Jokerman font. It tells the guest when to arrive to the party and also to send me a funny memory or story about the birthday boy. I'll put the memories in a book, but these will also come into play later at the party.

\*THE SURPRISE\*: You can not see my house until you turn the corner, so we don't have to worry about hiding cars. When he turns the corner, we will all be standing in my front lawn with balloons, banners, and a giant card!

\*DECORATIONS\*: Seeing as he isn't in to themes, I just chose some plates with bright stripes and polka dots and will use those colors throughout the party area. The plates are very cool and square shaped with, turquoise, lime green, blue, red, and orange stripes and dots. On my back patio, I'll have two long tables shoved together to make one long table. They'll be covered in turquoise cloths. In the very center, where the tables join, there will be a clear vase filled with different layers of colored sand in the party colors. In the middle of each table will be two picture frames glued back to back so that either side of the table can see a picture. The frames are painted lime green and have a picture of the birthday boy (I guess I should say birthday man?) inside.

All along the middle of the table will be white candles of various heights. These candles were actually bought for the mystery party, so to make them a little more colorful, I put ribbon around them. I didn't want girly bows, so I cut the ribbon to almost the exact diameter of the candle (its okay if it overlaps a little) and taped it with a tiny strip of scotch tape to make stripes around the candles. At each place setting there will a party cracker (paper towel roll cut in half, filled with starbursts, rolled in colorful tissue paper and tied at either end with curly ribbon) and blue forks and knives wrapped in a napkin that matched the plates and tied with curly ribbon. Lime green, blue, and red streamers will be twisted together and hung from the edge of my roof. I'll evenly space turquoise amongst the streamers. Inside, my dining room table will be used for the buffet. I'll cover it in a lime green tablecloth. I will attach streamers and balloons like those outside to the tops of the windows.

\*FOOD\*: He loves Mexican food so I'll set up a tostada bar. There will be ground beef and chicken fajita meat. These, as well as the rice and beans will be served in colorful bowls. Cheese and chips will also be placed in colorful bowls. Tostada shells will be on a tray. I'll put salsa and guacamole in large plastic blue margarita glasses. Lettuce and tomatoes will be arranged on a tray. The queso dip will be in a crock pot. I'll make sugar cookies that I'll ice with colorful icing and put polka dots and stripes on as well as chocolate chip cookies. These will be arranged on trays too. All of the trays will be at varying heights because I'll set them on painted cans and boxes of various shapes and sizes. I painted them with colors and designs that matched the plates. Fruit will be served on another tray along with fruit dip. We'll need big plates for the buffet so I purchased large, blue, circular plates for this and will use the above mentioned square plates for cake; those are paired with blue napkins. So it will be blue plates with colorful napkins and colorful plates with blue napkins. The buffet table should look very festive! Drinks including sodas and bottled water will be in a large red cooler outside so guests could have easy access to them throughout the night. After dinner, I'll set the leftover cookies, chips, dips, and fruit out for guests to munch on later.

\*CAKE\*: I'm going to make two cakes since there are a lot of people. I got my first cake idea from a magazine article where they iced brownies to look like mini ipods with rolled out gum drops as the screens. I'm adapting this idea and making a white sheet cake that I'll ice blue with homemade, cream cheese frosting. For the screen and button; I'll make one large, rectangular sugar cookie and one round sugar cookie that I will ice light blue. I will decorate them with white icing to look like the screen of the ipod and the play and skip selector. I will place these on top of the sheet cake to create the ipod. The other cake will be a white sheet cake with chocolate chips mixed in. I plan on icing it with homemade, cream cheese frosting too. In the center, I'll place a picture of the birthday boy that I'll wrap in clear saran wrap. The edges will be iced with lime green icing. I will draw dots in several colors of icing on the top of the cake. The cakes will be served with punch (the kind with lime green sherbet and seven up) in orange cups.

\*MUSIC\*: I created a playlist on my computer that includes songs by his favorite artists and groups. I'll spread out the different genres so that we won't get tired of hearing any one type of song.

\*ACTIVITIES\*: I'm going to set the croquet game up in the middle of the yard. Streamers will be tied to the wickets to make them easier to see when it gets darker. I drew a score board on a lime green poster board to keep track of the places that everyone gets in each round. The croquet should make a colorful centerpiece for the yard! The person who wins the most receives a bunch of whoppers (round chocolate candies- like croquet balls!) that I put into a cellophane bag and tied with blue curly ribbon. Tiki torches (with citronella to keep bugs away and make the game area brighter for the evening) will surround the playing area and streamers will be twisted around the bases.

The horseshoe area will be around the side of the house. I'll set up a few lawn chairs and tables along with a colorful beach umbrella for somewhere for people to sit and watch or wait their turn. I will also set out citronella candles in colorful holders on the tables to keep the bugs away.  I decorated another lime green poster board that the team brackets could be written on. The team that wins horseshoes wins a bunch of sour gummies worms tied in cellophane bags with curly ribbon. Tiki torches will surround this area as well. I'll hang flashlight lanterns in a large tree near by for when it gets dark. Throughout the party, people will take turns telling their funny stories about the birthday boy. Each time, that person will use a karaoke machine with a microphone to tell his or her story and the birthday boy will sit in his throne. For the throne, I'm decorating a lawn chair with streamers, and a big, fluffy, colorful cushion.

The party is next weekend, so I hope everything goes well. I hope this gives some of you ideas for backyard celebrations or for birthdays for college aged boys!

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