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I planned this party for a year. The theme, Crime Scene: Sweet 16, was perfect for Brittany for two reasons. First, she loves forensics. Second... we're a police family. So what better theme??

I am a strong believer of unique invites. I think the invitation sets the theme for the party -- and if your invitations are awesome, guests won't want to miss your party!

The invites were 6x9 black quilted boxes. Inside was a custom made "dead body cookie" with the chalk outline on a greaseproof liner. There were fondant road dashes to give the appearance of the body in the road. Included was a small bag with a blacklight flashlight in it, and instructions to search for the clues. The inside of the top of the box had a ribbon that said Crime Scene: Sweet 16 and a bloody handprint. The rest was just "white space". When the guest shined the black light onto the white space, an invisible message appears with a poem about finding the "evidence". It said that the most important clues are found behind the crime scene line. So if you removed that panel with the crime scene ribbon, the pocketfold invitation was there.

At the party, the place cards had the tables printed in invisible ink. Each table was an iconic image: badge, crime scene tape, DNA, thumb print, etc. Guests had to use a black light to find what table they were assigned to.

The signature drink for the kids was the DNA... "Don't Need Alcohol" and was a glowing green slushy.

We had a photo booth company come in and I designed a back-drop for the booth that looked like a police line-up (with the height hash marks). They had police props and some other fun party props.

I hired a caricaturist who pre-drew a crime scene, and the guests' faces were drawn on police officer bodies.

The cake was three tiers -- a black bottom tier, then a blood splattered tier, then a black top tier. We made a white chocolate high heel shoe (which was another detail carried throughout the invite/decor) splattered with edible dye, added a #16 evidence marker on top, and fondant crime scene tape. The dessert table had a tablecloth that resembled the invitation, and the cupcakes were placed in the outline.

At each place setting, there was a numbered evidence marker. At the dessert table, guests had to bring their evidence marker to the table. Four markers were marked with an invisible code only visible under blacklight. Guests with those markers won a black hoodie with the street/body outline on the back and a #16 evidence marker on the front.

The party favors were "evidence bags" for the candy buffet, and wrapped around the evidence bags were yellow rubber bracelets that said "Police Line: Do Not Cross". These bracelets were actually 2GB USB flash drives. Almost every student needs a flash drive -- so they LOVED this favor!

My daughter came to the party in a police car, and was escorted in by her little cousin handcuffed to her with a pair of rhinestone handcuffs.

Her party was amazing. The guests loved the uniqueness of the theme and the details that were incorporated.

Idea

Party Highlights

  • Best Dressed

    The birthday girl, of course

  • Desserts

    A three tier Crime Scene-themed cake, a make your own sundae bar, peanut butter chocolate cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes, and a HUGE candy buffet

  • Activities / Games

    Caricaturist A four-hour photo booth that held up to 10 guests at once, complete with props

  • Budget

    $15,000

  • Party Favors

    Police Line: Do Not Cross USB Flash Drive Bracelets, and paper evidence bags to hold the candy from the buffet

  • Best Moment

    Her heartfelt speeches during her candle ceremony

  • What People Ate

    A buffet fit for a princess! In addition to the hot/cold buffet, there was a taco bar and a Coney Island station.

  • What People Drank

    The signature drink from the party was the DNA: "Don't Need Alcohol", which was a lime green slushy drink for the kids

  • Most Touching Moment

    Being told it was the best party they've ever been to by most of her friends... and having her say her party was perfect.

  • Funniest Moment

    Watching everyone - young and old - have a blast in the photo booth

Hand

Party Helpers

💬

21 comments

  • Keanna T

    Keanna T wrote:

    I love forensics also. Neat party. Love the photo booth.

  • Monica J

    Monica J wrote:

    Very cute and original idea. Where did you get the jump drives from?

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    Lisa O wrote:

    Monica, I got the flash drives from iPromo. Their website is ipromo.com. They were standard yellow bracelet drives with the Police Line imprint that I supplied. Everyone LOVED them!!

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    Skyla C wrote:

    This is so creative! Where did you order the cake from? The fondant is applied so smoothly and is very crisp..which is not the case with some bakeries. I live in northern nj, so I'm sure I can order a cake from ny- I'm turning sixteen in September :D

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    Duan F wrote:

    Love the idea. Where did you order the invites?

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    Lisa O wrote:

    Skyla... sorry to get back to you so late. I made the cake myself! Duan.... I also made the invites myself. They took a LONG TIME to put together. I designed them and had the paper parts printed, and ordered the black light flashlights. I baked the cookies, made the ribbons, etc -- and assembled everything myself.

  • Debra S

    Debra S wrote:

    I love this idea it is so different! I was wondering if you had the centerpieces made or if you made them also and if so how did you make them. Thank you

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    Lisa O wrote:

    Debra... Thanks so much. I made the centerpieces myself. Here's how I did it: I bought the vases from Michaels and then bought chalk board vinyl online. I think I bought it from either Specialty-Graphics or Sign Warehouse. It's a very thick vinyl - as opposed to a standard Oracal 631 or other wall vinyl. I found the images I wanted to use and vectorized them so I could cut them with my vinyl cutter. If you have a Cricut and have either Sure Cuts a Lot or Make The Cut, you can use that, too. I measured where I wanted the lettering/icon to be and set up my screen to cut. I used the chalk board vinyl because it was much less likely to get air bubbles because of it's thickness, and was easier to wrap around the vase. I then wrapped the inside of the vase with coordinating tissue paper (depending on the icon I used) and added a light (push light or glow stick works fine). I hope that makes sense!! If you don't have access to a vinyl cutter, you can have someone cut the vinyl icons/lettering for you, apply them on the vase, then spray paint the rest black. When dry, peel away the vinyl and you'll have a clear icon/lettering. Then just add your tissue paper and light and you're good to go.

  • Gretchen Z

    Gretchen Z wrote:

    I was wondering if you could email as I have a few questions. My daughter seen this and fell in love with it. gert0225@yahoo.com and that a zero not an o. Thank you

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    Hailey M wrote:

    where or how did you do your invitations

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    Hailey M wrote:

    how did you do your center pieces or where did you get them?

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    Lisa O wrote:

    I made the invitations myself. I ordered the envelopments (black outer pocket envelopes) and designed the rsvp card and invite panel. I uploaded both the rsvp card and invite panel to a photo site and had them printed because I didn't want to do them on my inkjet or laser printers.

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    Lisa O wrote:

    I made them myself. I bought pillar candle vases (straight sided) at Michaels. I used a vinyl cutter (similar to a Cricut) to cut out the vector image in black chalkboard vinyl. (Chalkboard vinyl is thicker than regular vinyl and will yield less air bubbles when affixing to the glass). I then added colored tissue paper to the inside and a push light to illuminate it. If a vinyl cutter is unavailable, you can order vinyl decals on Etsy. Affix those to the vase, spray the vase with black paint, and then peel off the vinyl decal. Add the tissue paper and light.

  • Chantiay H

    Chantiay H wrote:

    what site did you use to upload this design?

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    Savanah R wrote:

    I wanted to know where you got the black lights?

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    Savanah R wrote:

    And the boxes

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    Lisa O wrote:

    Sorry for the delay in responding... Chantiay -- I uploaded the jpg invite to mpix.com and had them printed. The postcard rsvp cards were done by vistaprint.com Savanah - I got the blacklights online from amazon.com. They're little blacklight caribiner keychain. I don't see them listed anymore, but it's a blacklight, laser pointer and flashlight all-in-one. I'm sure you can find them in bulk online. The boxes were bought from nashvillewraps.com, I believe. I'd have to look that one up, but that's usually where I get my boxes.

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    Elizabeth T wrote:

    Hi Lisa, I was just wondering for the r.s.v.p. cards did you designed them on vistaprint or did you attach a picture? im having trouble trying to find something similar to your idea. Also for the boxes what type of boxes did you use? i would like to use the same ones you used.

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    Millie G wrote:

    wow wow wow wow.. this is unbelievably amazing.. my daughter would love this.. we are csi law and order and everything police freaks my husband is a retired police officer.. my daughter would go insane for this.. I have a year to plan.. how can I do this.. please please please contact me... I can even PAY you to help me... millie3grls@gmail.com

  • Gretchen Z

    Gretchen Z wrote:

    I want to thank you so much for all your help. Sierra's is this weekend and while I short cut a few places the invites have been a HUGE hit so far!!!!! I am so excited for the party.

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    Lisa O wrote:

    Gretchen, I cannot wait to see the pictures!! Please email me some! Lisa

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