Secret Agent Blowout -16yr- Casino Royale
Sue in Chincoteague, VA, USA
I knew I wanted an amazing Sweet 16, but had trouble deciding on a theme. I wanted something formal, but I still wanted something that would be fun. I had originally thought of a gambling theme, but decided that it wasn't really what I wanted for my party. That's when I came across the idea of a New Year's style birthday party, with everyone celebrating at midnight when the birthday person's big day finally came. I decided on this scenario, but used a spy/secret agent theme too.
For save the date cards, I used edible paper from the International Spy Museum online store. Each pack has 32 pieces of paper. On each I wrote: Save the Date for my name's Sweet 16, then the date. I wrote a little P.S. at the bottom: Eat and destroy after reading. It was really cool. The paper was made of potatoes, vanilla, and sugar, so it tasted good too.
For invitations, I found the lead story from last year's paper on my birthday. I circled the date, except for the year, which I wrote over. Then I underlined letters and words to form a message": my name's sweet 16 the venue the time (9:30 to 12:30) dress like a spy or formally do not be followed. On a separate sheet of paper with "bullet holes" on it (scrapbook circle cutter and cigarette lighter for around the edges) I included instructions to the community center where I was having my party. The invitations were put in manila envelopes with caution and confidential stickers all over.
The community center was a big room with a stage and dividers in the back of the room to divide it into 4 rooms; a main room and 3 smaller rooms. There was also an enrtance hall with double doors leading to the main room. Outside the center I put "chalk footprint" stickers leading up to the front door. Inside I taped laser pointers to the walls making a maze of red laser lines. After you got through the maze I had made a jumbo "lock" for the double doors. It was silver made of silver paper and a 3D dial I made with spray paint and pieces of stacked cardboard. It looked very cool. My uncle also stood by the door dressed in black with black sunglasses. He was the security guard. He has a pretty good fake German accent so he said "Go on in" to the guests.
After the guest got inside they were in the main area. There was a dancing area a gambling area and a food area. The stage was also decorated. The 3 smaller rooms were also decorated but I will get to that later. The dancing area was just an empty space. The gambling area was well done. There were six card tables set up and five of them were covered with yards of green felt I had picked up from the fabric store. These five tables each had a different game: baccarat blackjack craps roulette and poker. My dad made the roulette wheel himself. Different family and family friends manned each table. The sixth table had the chips that each guest got when they came in and also kept track of the winnings. It also had 2 mini slot machines my cousin had let me borrow from his collection.
The table also displayed some of the prizes those who struck it big could win at the end of the night from the International Spy museum store. There was: Agent Double Gnome 7(a gnome dressed as a spy) Spy Funny Bands (like silly bands) The Handbook of practical Spying and magnets that stated The Top Ten Reasons Why I Din't Make It Into the CIA. In the eating area there was a buffet and bar in the corner and tables in the rest of the area.
The buffet had finger foods like mozzarella sticks panini mini hamburgers hush puppies small cups of french fries etc. The bar was another card table with a black tablecloth and kickboard made from painted cardboard. My aunt was behind the counter serving up non alcoholic cosmopolitans and martinis all in plastic martini glasses. There was also my signature drink: Poison No.16. It was dark blue and had hot pink sugar on the lip of the glass. My recipe was ginger ale and blueberry Torani syrup. The best thing about Torani is that it has almost any flavor imaginable (bacon anyone?) so you can customize your drink to meet your tastes. Everyone was drinking Poison no.16 all night long.
For the tables I used white tablecloths and black napkins and plastic plates and utensils. I tried to make it loook as formal as possible. In the center of each table was a vase of hot pink carnations (which are cheaper than roses). Each place had a namecard that I had printed off my computer. It all looked very nice. On the night of the party I put on a long black dress I had chosen myself that I felt looked very spy-ish. I put my hair up in a formal upsweep. Then I put on makeup and fake diamond jewelry. To finish my outfit I wore an earpiece like secret agents wear with a long wire. Then I went to my party. Most of the guests were already there so I walked it with my dad to the tune of the James Bond theme song (off of Music to Spy By a CD from the Intrnational Spy Museum.) Then we all gambled and ate and danced to my custom mix I made on my iPod (some from Music to Spy By some of my favorite songs and some classic party songs).
My cake was outside the stage as the stage had double doors that opened up onto a small patio. Projected on the wall of the stagewas a running countdown to midnight that was projected off of a laptop. My cake was black and white with pink carnations and edible black glitter. It was roped off for safety purposes (more about that later). Everyone was having a great time until the counter suddenly went off and my mom's face (diquised behind a wig makeup and dark sunglasses) appeared. She had made the video before the party. The background was a black piece of cardboard the said "CIA headquarters" on it. Here is the rough outline of her script: "Attention CIA recruits. I am Agent o-16 of the Central Intelligence agency. I am sorry to interrupt your party but an urgent emergency has arrised that is perfect for your first missions. If you complete it successfully you will be given the title of Agent and an agent number to conceal your identity. A message has come in from the Bomb Triad a small group of terrorists who oparate from London. They have announced that a bomb shall be set off at midnight tonight but have not told us where. Your mission: to find where the bomb is located.
You will work in groups of three and travel to London at separate times to try to complete the mission. Each group will be timed to find which group's recruits will become agents. Not only will finishing the mission be a determining factor but also how fast you finish. Remember the CIA only hires the best of the best and you've got to be fast. You will find your secret identity and the number of the group you are in on the opposite side of your placecard. Flights to London for every group are posted in the corner next to your mission director. Remember: memorize your identity complete the mission become an agent. Good luck!" Then the screen erupted into static and everyone rushed to find their placecards on the tables. Then everyone found everyone else in their group and got to work memorizing their identities since the first "flight" started in 10 minutes. The identites included: name purpose of trip birthplace birthdate destination and age. Everyone then went into the corner where my mom and the entrance to the first of the three smaller rooms was. The rooms were all connected inside so my parents and I had created an obstacle course of sorts through them. Everyone waited their turn and in the mean time kept gambling and having fun.
When your team was called you met in the corner with the mission director. She gave you a black case that contained a notepad code decoder pencil disposable camera shopping bag flashlight and three knockoff Nerf pistols I bought at the dollar store. Since they had been neon to start with they were spray painted black to look more official. This is what she told you: "You're going to have to get past customs first but just remember your identities and you'll be fine. Once you get to London go and find the man holding the identical shopping bag to this one and brush past them and trade the bags without getting caught. There are enemy agents everywhere. Inside the bag you'll find further instructions. Good luck!" Then you went throught the door and started your mission. Inside the first room was a small hallway we had made using big rolls of brown paper from Lowe's. At the end of the hallway was a sign form the ceiling that said Wecome to London England! And underneath that Customs with an arrow to the right.
Once you went right you were in a little "office" with a desk some folders etc. to make it feel real. A man is a suit (my dad's friend) greeted you and asked you questions about yourself. However since you had memorized your identity you were fine. It was funny how nervous I and my group were because he kept saying hmmmm..hmmm and asking questions to trip you up (for example he asked me if it was my birthday and I said no). When he finally took your folder off of his desk and stamped "Approved" on it with red ink you were really happy. Then we kept going right down the "hall" and turned onto a street in London. It was rows of "houses" (or just rough paintings of ones) with street "lamps" (or just those circular lights you can buy at the dollar store attached to bases) and a bench to the side. There was astroturf picked up from a Habitat for Humanity store covering the floor. A man was sitting on a set of front porch steps reading a newspaper and a man with a shopping bag was on the bench. (If you haven't noticed by now I had a lot of people who were willing to help with my party.) My group went torwards the bench and silently switched out the bag with our bag. The the man got up and left through the hall we just came out of. We opened the bag and received our instructions. "Believe it or not you are right outside what the CIA recently discovered to be the Bomb Triad's headquarters. It is house 129." (which was the house the man was sitting in front of. Instead of a painted outline of a door this "house" had a real door.) "You must sneak inside the house and find the plans for tonight's bomb. Do not get caught." After you were done reading the paper the man on the steps hurried into the headquarters.
My group waited a few seconds and then went silently into the "house" which was actually the second room. There was a hallway that went straight ahead to a "room" at the end of the hall. A door was painted on the paper to the right. We went slowly to avoid being caught as you could hear a man and woman arguing behing the paper door. They were arguing about "tonight's bomb" but weren't leaking any details. At the end of the hall was a small "room" with an air mattress bed with the covers unmade and a desk and calendar on the wall. There was also some dirty clothes on the floor. My group immediately and quietly (since you could still hear the people arguing) went to the desk as there was a safe on it. To crack it we opened up our Code Breaking instructions from the black case. It gave a few basic codes then recommended trying numbers that are important to the person like phone numbers or birthdays. On the calendar was "my birthday" and it said underneath "23 yrs old today!" We calculated the person's birth date and used it to open the safe!
Inside was a folder that said top secret. It contained plans for a cake drawn on grid paper that had a bomb inside. But wait! Was that my cake? We thought we had solved the whole maze when one of the voices arguing said "did you hear something?" We only had enough time to grab our guns before a man and woman wearing ski masks and nerf guns painted black came in. Then we ran into the third room and embarked on a chase away from the Triad members through tight halls that were made of the brown paper. We were all shooting at each other and it was really exhilerating. The halls emptied into open space and we were in a dark room that had stars above made with criscrossed holiday lights. If you had turned on the lights you would have seen that they were taped to the tall ceiling with the lights leading down to the electrical socket duct taped dark. In the corner was my old zipline from Swings and Springs that had been removed from my tree in the yard to serve at my party. If you go online the basic zipline is less than $100 bucks and is every kids birthday dream (hint hint). My dad had attached the line on one of the support poles in the room with a helicopter pinata duct taped to the top of it. He had tied rope to it to securing it to the handlebars and one by one we rode to safety hands on the handlebars and feet around the rope. Helicopter sounds were being played on a hidden radio and there were mini cardboard houses underneath us that had lights in the window that got smaller as we reached the end of our ride. For the end we rode out of the room through a black tablecloth cut into strips and landed to wait for the other members of the party. Even though this was the awesomest thing ever be careful or you might want to skip it for smaller children. According to the instruction manual you shouldn't do this but we had been very careful to keep everything safe and out of the pulley inside, and it was awesome. While you waited your turn the bad guys kept firing at you but from a distance. Also a lot of there shots went wide. When the zipline was pushed back into the room through the black strips you rode. After you were done in the maze you gave all of your supplies to someone waiting at the end and also wrote down your teams answer to where the bomb was. The supplies were taken back and hurriedly rehidden. We were all told not to tell the others what the answer was who hadn't gone yet.
We were all anxious to learn our times since my mom had had a stopwatch. After you were done with all that we kept on partying. It wasn't until the last group finished- 30 minutes until twelve- that we all counted up our roulette chips and got prizes. The person who got the most money won Agent Double Gnome 7 and the runner ups won packs of the spy silly bands. A few minutes before twelve the countdown changed to Agent o-16 again and we all listened to her announcement: "Congratulations to you all! Every team was successful in completing their mission. Agents will be announced after midnight. Thank's to you all we have discovered that the bomb has been placed inside (my name's) birthday cake. Sadly however we cannot send a bomb technician to safely remove the bomb in time. The bomb with go off at midnight. Everyone must stand back to avoid any casualties. Thank you and have a good night." Then she switched off leaving the countdown to a little more than a minute. Of course everyone was really excited so we all counted down to midnight when my cake caught on fire!! My dad lit the sparklers and cake from the back where you couldn't see him. It wasn't really an explosion though. It was basically a small baked Alaska with a few sparklers but it wasn't even cake. It was styrofoam rolled in fondant. Then my dad and my uncle sprayed it with that white foam stuff (a little too much more than the occasion called for if you ask me) and everyone cheered.
Then my mom rolled out the real cake and everyone cheered louder. After everyone sang happy birthday and got a piece of cake my mom announced the winners of the maze race with the fastest time. She put their three names into a hat and the winner got the Handbook of Practical Spying while the other two got spy silly bands. Then she announced the losers and gave them each the Top Ten Reasons magnet.