About 3 weeks ago one of my co-workers and very good friends had her 21st birthday party. It was a fantastic night! Everything ran smoothly and no one got alcohol poisoning. If you have a friend about to turn 21, that didn’t experiment much with alcohol before and likes scavenger hunts, then this is the kind of party to throw! I’ll walk you through how I planned it out and give suggestions on how to tailor it and improve it.
Our birthday girl started the evening at about 7pm. She arrived at the just before 11pm. The plan was for her to take about 30 minutes at each stop. Sometimes she took more time, sometimes she took less. It all depended. Part of the reason for the later start was that some people were still getting off work (college town). But if your friends are ready earlier in the night, start earlier! The last bar she went to was where everyone was supposed to end up. This is our group’s overall favorite bar, one of our friends even works there as the sound guy for the live music. The night of the party there was a live band was playing as the evening’s entertainment, so it was the perfect place to end. For the last bar pick one that most of the group will like to go to. If you pick one that only a small portion likes not a lot of people will show up. Our entire group didn’t show to the last bar, but the majority of the group was there and that is what mattered.
To get this all started there first needs to be a good friend base for your birthday boy or girl. For my party, I called upon a lot of co-workers that are also great friends. It doesn’t matter how many friends you have coming as long as there are enough to cover a good number of bars. I had at least 14 people commit to coming so it was just a matter of deciding how many bars they could, or should cover.
There are a lot of bars in the town I currently live in. But I only wanted to send our birthday girl to the “good ones”, or in other words, the ones our group of friends like. I picked out 1 liquor store, 5 bars and 1 food stop for her. The liquor store was just to be a joke and to jump-start the night. The food stop however was for 2 reasons; 1) so that she would get some food and sober up a bit, 2) so that our friends who are minors could take part also.
Here’s my chicken scratch list of the bars and who volunteered be at each. Then underneath I put the order and times our birthday girl would hopefully go through them. To determine the time to start, begin your list with the last stop. When do you want to reach the last stop? For our group we wanted to see the band which started at 11pm. Thus I wanted to get us all there before it started. I also figured 30 minutes would be a good amount of time to be at each bar. What I didn’t account for is travel time. You might want to consider that in your itinerary. It worked out great for me, I just told her sober driver to be aware of it. But you have to judge that for your group of people.
I found it key to put the liquor store first, you don’t want the birthday boy or girl looking like a total drunk going into the store. Plus you want to get there before it closes. I also found it key to put the food stop in about in the middle so that she had a chance to sober up before going on in the night.
I can’t help you too much with specific clues, but I made sure to do two things with them. First, make the hardest clues the first clues. The easiest should be near the end. Your birthday boy/girl won’t want to figure out a super hard clue at the end of the night. Second, I made each clue larger than the last. This way the last clue was large enough to read for the drunk girl. This kinds the idea of what my clues looked like:
I felt it necessary to put together a “drunk kit.” Basically it had water, Advil, B-vitamins, some make-up, hair ties, a mini first-aid kit, a headlamp, lip gloss, body mist, deodorant, lotion and mouth wash. Our birthday girl used the kit twice, but more importantly a few other people from our group used it. I remained sober to take care of anyone if needed and I’m glad I did. I did use the first-aid kit on a tiny little cut, but used it nonetheless. This is everything that was in it:
Alright, the next step is a KILLER T-shirt. This is how your birthday boy/girl will remember the night. I got one for my 21st and it was great. Every drink that someone bought me was written on my shirt. The first morning after it might not be so great, but weeks later it is fantastic! My roommate handled the shirt. She drew a little building for each place she had to go (makes the clues a little bit easier) and then a place for each person waiting for her to sign their name and drink. She even left a place for the band to sign. My tip here is to make sure you spell everything correctly. This is what it looked like. Front and Back…
So the things for the party planner to take care of… make your GAME PLAN/ITINERARY, then put together your CLUES and make a T-SHIRT for people to sign.
Then you have to decide what is the best way to tell each person where to be and when. I personally used texting for all of that. Since it was a surprise party I didn’t want our birthday girl getting a hold of any paper invite. Second you have to determine how you are going to get each clue to each person/bar/stop. I did not personally run around with the birthday girl. I was always one step ahead of her so that I could give the clue to the next person, knowing also that they were in place. But then I had to make sure that our birthday girl had a sober ride and a few people traveling with her. For that I used HER roommates. This way they were involved and got to spend a majority of the night with her. It worked out great. But if you have trust worthy friends, give them the clues before hand and just trust they’ll be in their places ready for the birthday boy/girl’s arrival.
In the end the party was a great SUCCESS! I had a lot of fun putting it all together and all our friends enjoyed the reason to hit the town. Here are a few more photos from the night. Two stops at bars and the T-shirt the next morning!