The 4 Things You Need to Make It Unforgettable
So not only does your kid have a birthday coming up, but you've been especially asked for a mad scientist party. And now it's up to you to deliver.
Not that there's any pressure. Only all the kid's friends and the opinion of all of their parents falling squarely on your shoulders. And although you've thrown parties before, you've never done one of these.
But what does a mad scientist party entail? Spending the entire birthday afternoon in a dingy basement, attempting to re-animate the dead? Developing a new super-weapon or death ray? Plotting to take over the world by creating a race of zombies?
On the contrary, these off-beat parties can have a lot of liveliness, color, and energy if they're done right. The key is in finding the right mix of activities, decorations, and fun foods to compliment one another. And there are a couple tips in particular that will have the party guests singing your praises by the time it's all said and done.
Seriously, this can be one of the most fun themed parties you'll ever do for your kid. It lends itself to so many possibilities. The decorations, the foods, the costumes, and the activities.
So how do you do a mad scientist party, anyway?
Let us be your guides, and show you how it's done...
"Welcome To My Laboratory..."
(Invitations & Decorations)
First impressions are a big deal. They tell people what to expect, and they give clues for what the vibe of the party is going to be like. This is a playful and fun world that doesn't take itself too seriously.
Yes, mad scientists exist in some scary stories as well, but generally the world of this party is almost animated and ridiculous. It's the mad scientist that we'd see when we would watch Saturday morning cartoons.
So keep it light-hearted. If there is anything spooky or Halloween like, make sure it's on the not-so-serious side of things. Save the actual experimenting on corpses for October 31st. And maybe not even then…
The decorations for your mad scientist party and the main entrance to your "laboratory" should suggest that the guests and birthday kid are all entering a different world. Luckily, a few simple tricks can help set the tone right away.
So if you please, would you just walk this way...
COLOR ME MADD
First off, you'll want to decide on a color scheme. We recommend neon blues, yellows, and greens... the favorite colors of mad scientists everywhere!
Oranges and browns are less popular for this theme (though they'll get plenty of use in the Autumn months for Halloween and Thanksgiving).
Reds and purples, on the other hand, can be used sparingly to excellent effect in the right areas.
Of course, none of this is set in stone. If the perfect prop or food item only appears in orange or brown, go ahead and use it! But some level of consistency improves the look of the party, and blue and green are a good place to start.
Set the expectation early by sending out themed invitations. If you want to go the extra step in creating the mystery for the party, you could include a special code that your guest will have to use in order to enter the “secret laboratory.”
Just have a backup plan in case they forget what that code is! You don't actually want to turn anyone away at the door...
Mad Scientists Only!
Kids love getting into places that require special access. It's a very grown-up thing to be able to do, and not something they often get a chance to experience. So let them "earn" their way into the party with an awesome hand-scanner device. This means that they are not just showing up to a house… they are about to embark on an adventure.
Only once they've been verified as an authentic mad scientist are they are allowed to enter… the laboratory.
THIS AREA OFF-LIMITS!
Of course, there are probably areas you don't want kids to wander into during this event. Whether you're throwing the party at your home or at a public location, there are going to be rooms that you want to keep private, or that might not be kid-proof
(or maybe you just don't want your guests seeing how messy your storage room is. Don't worry, we won't tell!)
Luckily there's a great way to block off these areas without disrupting the ambiance. Get a roll of biohazard caution tape and quarantine the rooms that need to be off-limits. The kids will understand that they're not supposed to enter certain rooms, and you still keep that "mad scientist party" vibe alive.
Another great trick is to greet new guests is to ask them to wear name tags–er, we mean, you should give them high-level security clearance badges.
These badges do everything a regular name tag could do, can help the guests break the ice if some of them don't already know each other (and will also help you keep track, too, just in case).
Just make sure you get all those names down correctly!
You Don't Look Like a Doctor...
Kids love playing dress-up. Whether the party is close to Halloween or months away, a collection of props and costume pieces can add an extra dimension of mad scientist role-playing to the party. And they don't even have to be complicated or expensive!
A few things that can quickly transform your guests into mad scientists hell-bent on crazy experiments?
If you really plan on going big, you can add props, wigs, hats, and other pieces to the mix. And if you're adding a photo booth for later (or even if you're just taking some candid pictures yourself), you can get these props to pull double-duty.
Now your young guests are ready to re-animate some corpses!
To make the laboratory that authentic lived-in look, try adding some experiments as decoration. Beakers bubbling away are always a good choice, but if you don't have something that fancy, here are some quick and easy solutions.
Some inventive party-planners have worked in the periodic table of elements into multiple stages of their designs. Talk about getting specific!
One such inventive person made the entire table out of cookies and arranged them in order. That's some dedication.
Another mom made a periodic table out of balloons and attached it to the wall.
S.p.e.l.l I.t O.u.t
Another way to work this scientific chart into your designs is to spell out names with them. But be prepared to do a little bit of editing here. Not every word or name can be written out perfectly using only the official table of elements.
So use some artistic license if the need arises. You can either edit a pre-existing element or make one up! (Extra points to the smart young cookie who's able to pick up on this.)
Speaking of cookies... that reminds me. It's time to head to the kitchen!
"Please, Eat Something..."
(Food & Drink)
It's not a birthday party without some sort of food. You'll want to take into account your guests' dietary restrictions, but we have a wide variety of ideas to feed your budding evil geniuses. A brilliant mind needs food to function, after all!
So please, feast your eyes upon these samples...
- You're a Sharp Cookie, Aren't You?
- Cupcakes Galore
- Let's Dish!
- We Will Require Additional Hydration
Cookies are definitely a highlight of more than one mad scientist party. Check out these stunning designs that can be easily suited to the occasion.
If you're up for the challenge, this creative baker has come up with some incredible "glass-beaker-shaped cookies", complete with little bubbles rising to the surface!
If those bubbles are a wee bit more than you've got time for, you can also achieve a brilliant effect by using appropriately-colored sugar pearls.
What more could you need?
While cookies are an excellent way for you to show off your baking and decorating skills, cupcakes can also round out the look of a party with vibrant visuals. Keeping in mind whatever color scheme you've chosen, then decorate the cupcakes with the matching neon frosting to add a strong burst of color to your table.
If decorating and patterns are more your thing, you can still get artistic! These hosts created cupcakes that have the atomic design drawn onto them, but you could also go with the biohazard sign, the radioactivity symbol, or just do all three and let the guests choose which of those they like best! (Just please don't serve them cupcakes that are really radioactive!)
Speaking of eye-catching treats, here's another goodie you can add to the mix: Petri dishes filled with a yummy "experiment."
Start with a bunch of plastic Petri dishes and put jell-o inside them, along with a gummy worm or some edible eyeballs. Once they're chilled, they'll make for a deliciously cool-but-creepy snack!
They can also be sent home with the kids as a party favor, in case you don't want to deal with having stacks of the little guys hanging out in your fridge for the long haul.
Along with your food, you're going to want plenty of drinks that fit the theme of the afternoon or evening. The most common approach is to put Kool-Ade (or any such brightly-colored drink) in a large pitcher or serving bowl and simply label it something else... "radioactive waste" for green, perhaps? This is a fairly easy way to go, and it Kids Talk works just fine. (Extra points if you actually drink your creations out of beakers).
Another route is using a clear drink like lemonade, Sprite, or 7-Up and then adding ice cubes that are colorful. As the ice slowly melts, the effect will be one of a science experiment taking place right in the glass.
And it's about time, because there are other experiments awaiting. What else one do at a mad scientist party, anyway?
"Who's Up For a Little Experiment?"
(Mad Scientist Party Activities)
If you're going to do a mad scientist party right, you've got to have the right kind of activities, and that usually means experiments. This is the heart and soul of the party. The kids will love the props and the food and the decorations. But if you ace the activity portion, they'll talk about this party for ages.
The type and style will depend on the number of guests and what the birthday guest-of-honor likes, but here are a few tried-and-true ideas that won't let you down.
But there's one in particular that you absolutely don't want to forget, and that's making "Gak."
Slime It Up
"Slime", or Gak, has been around for years. It's a stretchy substance, a bit like Play-Doh. But rather than being crumbly it just keeps getting stretched thinner and thinner, like it's halfway between Play-Doh and "ooze."
Although it seems like something that came from the future or another planet, it's not really a new invention. But it remains a favorite activity and it's perfectly suited to a mad scientist party. It's something the entire group can do together (just change the recipe size so that there's plenty for everyone to play with once it gets made!) It uses up a little bit of time and it can even be turned into a party favor after the event is over.
Making slime is a great activity for a birthday party, but you want to make sure the kids are old enough that they know not to eat it. (So if you're throwing a party for the younger set, maybe skip this one. Obviously, use your best judgment here.)
If your guests are all the right age to tell that Gak isn't food, then go on! Have fun with it... it's a great activity for ages eight, nine, and ten.
Making the Gak
First off, try to choose a table or countertop that's not immediately next to where the main snacks and food is being served. Somewhere all the kids can gather around and will have plenty of room to make a mess.
To get started you'll want a few ingredients.
GAK INGREDIENTS LIST
Now… let the experiment begin!
- 1Measure out 4 oz of glue and put it into the container.
- 2Add 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir it until it gets a nice even consistency. You can also put in food coloring at this point.
- 3In a separate container, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of Borax into another 1/2 cup of water. Make sure the Borax gets completely dissolved!
- 4Slowly add the Borax into the glue mixture. Continue to stir them together.
- 5Watch the Gak slowly take form.
- 6Let it sit for about ten minutes so that it gets a little less sticky.
- 7Have fun!
If watching a quick tutorial is more your style, this mom shows you the recipe and breaks it down so that it's super simple:
This mom also recommends washable paint over food coloring. And here is the one thing you should do first. Most people assume they have the right ingredients, and sure, you can make this go off really well with food dye. But if it gets on anything, it'll cause a mess!
The food coloring will set once the Gak is finished, but if the kids get it on their hands (or if they start playing with the Gak too early) then you run the risk of them staining the carpet. So probably best to stick with the washable paint.
In fact, you may want to use this technique at all your parties, if you're making anything that you're not going to eat. Just use the paint instead of the dye.
There's an insider trick that not everybody knows…
We Got a
If you're not into the slimy stuff, you can keep the kids entertained with "Mad Scientist Party Bingo!" Simply re-purpose the usual bingo game and add a different look to it. You could also make a special one for the parents, if you've got multiple adults in the room who need something to do as well.
The game can incorporate the signs and symbols from the Mad Scientist world! Just make sure to set aside a prize for the winner.
If you're of a mind to let the kids experiment with food, you can get them each a personalized crust, get toppings, and let them make their own pizzas. Of course, label your ingredients differently so that it's thematic. If you can't think up names you'd want to use, you can also use the Periodic Table approach again.
But the point is for the kids to have fun! Most of them like to make their own choices as much as they can, so a DIY-pizza dinner is a good way to give them something to do.
If you have made Gak, the hardest part will be getting the kids to put it down while they're eating! You'll also want to make sure they wash their hands. But trust us, no Gak at the table. Even a mad scientist would know not to experiment with that.
Those props can really come in handy now. If you haven't passed them out beforehand, or if you're just getting to it now, it's time to pull out all the stops.
Seems everyone wants photos these days. Whether it's celebrities sharing pictures of their glamorous travel or their exercise routines, or your childhood friend sharing pictures of his lunch, picture-taking is more a part of daily life than ever. And a great party should have at least one thematic photo op.
You don't need a fancy “photo booth” in the literal sense. But it is a good idea to have some area of your party setting reserved for taking pictures. Wherever you've got great lighting is the best bet, and ideally, you want to create a visually interesting backdrop so you can show off your decorating skills.
If you've spelled out your birthday kid's name (in Periodic Table elements or just the old-fashioned way), and also thrown some displays, you'll have the perfect setup.
Snap pictures of your guests and friends with their costumes, toys, and decorations. You can bet that when you look at these pictures years from now, you'll find yourself with a smile on your face.
Now, for the grand finale!
The birthday cake is undoubtedly the biggest project for most birthday parties. As Julia Child once said: “a party without a cake is just a meeting.” And who are we to argue with one of the greatest chefs in history?
You'll want your cake to reflect the interests and tastes to the guest of honor. There's nothing more disappointing than a birthday kid being sad because the cake was a flavor they didn't like, or was thematically based on something they weren't actually interested in.
Of course if you are throwing this party for your own kid, you probably know this stuff. But if you've gotten roped into throwing this party or baking the cake for someone else and you're not sure of these things, it's a good idea to check before you start mixing up the recipe!
It's also good to know your own capabilities as a baker before you tackle a project like this. If you see something on Instagram or Pinterest that looks absolutely perfect, that may be because it was whipped up by a professional baker and then photographed by a professional food photographer. That whole industry is based on making things look easy.
That only makes things more stressful!
Here's our advice - make a cake that you know you can make, and we'll show you how to make it “Mad Scientist Party” themed. That's what we're trying to do here, after all!
DO: Keep With the Color Scheme. You did all that work up until now! The cake can tie it all together and make the whole party look amazing.
DO: Decorate the Cake With Toys. Mad scientists are all about their stuff. Their tech, their inventions, their toys. So make a cake that reflects that. Beakers, test tubes, figurines of mad scientists (or their inventions) can all be put to use to create the picture perfect cake. (Just don't put the plastic on before you bake!)
DON'T: Totally overcrowd the cake with stuff. You still want room to be able to write the name and maybe something about their birthday or how old they are.
DO: Find a place to write the guest of honor's name on the cake.
DON'T: Forget to check about guest's dietary restrictions. If there is someone who might be left out (because of an allergy maybe?) then don't make them feel bad about being unable to participate in eating the cake.
DO: Try to find something they can eat that will still make them feel included. Maybe if they are super allergic to chocolate (gasp!) you can make them their own personal cupcake in a different flavor they like, but one that still has the same look and style of the bigger cake.
Once the cake is cut and presents opened, it's time for the party to wrap up.
But it's always good to have one last trick up your sleeve!
Mad Scientist Party Favors
One of the most popular party favor methods is to set up trays of test tubes with small candy inside, and hand them out to guests. The tubes should be easy to carry and also should keep any food inside safe enough to ensure that it arrives home in one piece.
Already used test tubes in your decorations? Have no fear! You can still send home those goodies in a different appropriately-themed container. Beakers are another obvious choice, but maybe check out these clever light bulbs (don't worry, they're plastic!).
They unscrew on the bottom so they can be easily filled to the brim with candies, and the bulb is actually flat on top so that it won't roll around like real light bulbs do. (If only we could get the real light bulb manufacturers to make it this easy!)
Have any cookies left over from your baking extravaganza? You can pack them up and send them home with your guests.
You Did It!
Congrats! You made it work! You aced all four big components: Decorations, Food, Activities, and the Cake. Being a mad scientist is a lot of work!
You may feel dead tired after all that effort, but for a very worthy cause. This is one birthday theme that guarantees that when you do it right, this party isn't dead...