Happy 18th birthday, Ted E. – Part 2

We gave Ted a surprise party yesterday. That’s why I couldn’t say much about it then. That and because it hadn’t happened yet, and I wanted to tell you about it.

But it wasn’t a surprise party like you might imagine.

Here’s how we planned it…

Ted concocted this idea back before my birthday in May. He wanted to pull it off for me, but it’s so Ted – we had to leave it for his birthday.

At the beginning of September, the plans started flowing. We decided to do it. Our family often gets together to help clean the church. The week of October 2 happened to be our week for cleaning. We could tell everyone that Ted thought he was going to the church to clean.

But get this: the surprise wasn’t for Ted – it was for everyone else.

We planned to wrap Ted in a large box, set the box in the middle of the room, and have everyone gather around. We would act as though Ted would enter the church with my dad, and we’d all yell, “Surprise.” But instead of Ted coming through the door with my dad, he would burst through the top of the box in the middle of everyone and yell, “Surprise!” at them.

Great idea, right?

I invited friends through a facebook event notification, not the smartest way to go about it. Most people never check their events, which I knew, but also event messages don’t send to the inbox. Instead, event messages have their own special inbox within the general facebook inbox. This means no one ever reads the messages. So all that work, and I still had to contact everyone separately.

Next came planning what to do. Everyone standing around talking is certainly enjoyable, but… not everyone knows everyone at parties. So we decided to play some games to help minglize.

  • Game #1: Mac-N-Cheese eating context
  • Game #2: Jelly Bean toss
  • Game #3: Team Spoons

Sarah McLaughlin volunteered to bake a cake and cupcakes. Done.

But Ted decided to cook Mac-N-Cheese the night before the party. While I’m at the Bible study, Ted cooked noodles. Or that was the plan.

Come to find out, he only cooked six boxes (we planned to cook 20). Oh well, more work for the next day.

After the Bible study, Ted, Will, and I drove back up to the church. We arrived around midnight. And talked. We didn’t know what we were doing.

The box idea wasn’t going to work. Ted couldn’t fit in the box. Also we didn’t know if we could wrap the box with him in it. Change of plans…

We decided to have Ted hide in a closet, which is right by the entrance to the church. We would cover the empty doorway with wrapping paper with Ted inside the closet. Brilliant, Ted could burst out of a wrapping paper covered closet.

But we had no wrapping paper. Off to friendly, neighborhood Wal-Mart, the only store nearby open after midnight.

Or so we thought. The Wal-Mart we chose closed at midnight. Lame.

So back to the church we drove. We already had purchased some party streamer, so we decided to hang that and call it an evening. That’s how we ended up with 50+ streamers hanging from the 10-foot ceiling in the church foyer.

The next day, Ted’s birthday, we purchased wrapping paper and headed back to the church. We removed the door to the closet and papered the doorway. Then papered the windows and front doors. We figured we could tell party attendants that we covered them so Ted couldn’t see us inside. Whatever. Mostly it was just to disguise the papered closet, which at that point looked pretty obvious.

The windows looked great with paper, but still, “Why one door covered with wrapping paper?” So we also papered the bathroom doors on the opposite side of the foyer.

The foyer looked ridiculous.

Perfect. Time for the party.

[Read Part 3 here.]