for olivia's 9th birthday party she chose a "ghostwriter" theme. if you're not familiar with that show (and i'm not surprised if you aren't; it's a pretty obscure/nerd-tastic PBS series from the 1990s, worth picking up from the library if you can find it and have a kid who's into being awesome + solving mysteries) the basic premise is this: a group of new york city kids solves mysteries and fights for justice in their community through a combination of clever intellect, teamwork, and help from a mysterious ghost who writes to them ("ghostwriter"). ghostwriter's messages are invisible to the average person; only the ghostwriter team can see them. it's this "secret message" aspect of the show that inspired the invitations, as well as the rest of the party.
we thought it would be fun to let the kids solve a mystery and at the same time wow them with science :) so we brainstormed like crazy, consulting google as necessary, to come up with a bunch of ideas for secret/invisible writing. then we took those ideas and made them into a party. here's a list of the invisible inks and other secret writing methods that we used:
-lemon juice ink (word to the wise: make sure you use thicker paper for this or it will crinkle and the ink will still be visible when it dries; same goes for the milk ink below)
-pilot frixion pen (this is cool--the ink is erasable + disappears with heat/friction; fun fact: it also magically REappears when cooled in the freezer overnight)
-u/v ink pen (the ink is invisible in ordinary light but reveals itself under blacklight; if we ever sell this house, the new owners are in for a real treat--there are secret "invisible" messages everywhere!)
-a text message from sender: GHOSTWRITER
-crayon rubbing (we glued a raised message to the back of a page in their ghostwriter notebooks)
-a cipher (do you know how this works? it's a message within a message, and it's revealed with a key that blocks out all the irrelevant words)
-invisible ink + developer pen (one end of the pen writes the message, the other reveals it)
-a message on a balloon (inflate to reveal)
-scrambled magnetic letters on a chalkboard
and for the grand finale: ice cream floats that revealed a secret message of their own! but i will tell you more about that later. (hint: same principle as the invitations)
do you know any kids who are into mysteries and/or secret writing? would they have fun at a party like this?