Ok, this if off topic, but I had so much fun with this that I HAD to share it! My best friend is having a baby, and I got to do her baby shower. Now, my bff is a total geek, so I wanted it to be a “normal,” “pretty” baby shower, but with a geek twist to everything. To me, planning a party or any kind of get-together is a fun process of Googling and “adding stuff until it looks right,” but lots of people are baffled by how I pull it off. Here’s how.
The first step is to decide whether you can or should do a geek party. If you don’t know a lot about the area of geekdom you will be representing, you’ll need to do a LOT of research. With anything geek, it has to be exactly dead-on or it’s a total failure. “Do or do not, there IS no try.” And if you don’t get that quote, you probably shouldn’t attempt a geek party. Only do it if you’re absolutely sure you can pull it off.
Choose your geek focus. There are lots of areas of geekdom: math, science, gaming, old-school gaming, comic books/super heros, scifi books and movies, etc. And, of course, each of those has multiple sub-categories under them. For example, if you choose scifi, you CANNOT mix generas: Star Wars must not be mixed directly with Star Trek. Many geeks, myself and my bff included, enjoy several different areas of geekyness. So my dilemma was which one to represent. I made a risky decision… I’ll cover several, but keep them distinctly separate. The decorations, cake and party games were math- and science-geek, treats and snacks were Star Wars and drinks were Star Trek (set out in completely separate areas). Then I saw some tetris sugar cookies online and HAD to make them, so there was a subset of treats and snacks that were old-school-gamer-geek. If you’re not a geek yourself, I strongly recommend choosing only one geek type, though.
Adding to the challenge was that everything had to be gluten free… but was worth it to make an extra special party for someone who’s very important in my life.
I did a LOT of research online to get ideas. Pintrest and Google Image Search are GREAT. I got ideas for some of the food and decorations online. I tend to be a very visual person (which works very well in my job) and I can usually make something based on just a picture. But for those of you who aren’t so visual, there are often lots of tutorials out there. I found a lot of ideas for regular baby showers and looked at each one to decide how I could geekafy it.
Inspired by a maternity t-shirt that has a progress bar across the top, I re-created a Windows 7 progress bar at a printable resolution and made it into a postcard with all of the usual invitation information.
Everything is a normal food item, but with a geek name to it. (And everything is gluten free.)
- Chocolate truffles = Thermal Detonators
- Green Mint Meringue Cookies = Minty-chlorians (ie midichlorians from Star Wars)
- Green-chocolate-covered pretzel sticks = Light Sabers
- Cookies = Vader’s Cookies (a reference to a t-shirt she gave me “Come to the dark side, we have cookies”)
- Chocolate-coffee Mousse in dark-chocolate bowls = The Dark Side
- Tetris Sugar Cookies with “color flow” icing
- Stuffed Mushrooms = 1Ups
- Carrot/Cucumber/Zucchinis cut into flowers = Piranah Plants
- Earl Grey Tea = Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
- Root Beer (the favorite drink at Starfleet Academy)
- Strong Coffee = Raktajino
- Coffee Creamer and sugar = The White
Each food item was labeled using a font appropriate for the genera.
I included the cake with the decorations because that really is what it is, a decoration. I found a picture of a cake somebody made for a baby shower where there was a nicely-decorated, two- or three-tiered cake in the background and four cake-cubes in front that were decorated to look like letter-blocks spelling B-A-B-Y. I thought, that’s REALLY pretty! But how to make it geeky… instead of just normal letter-blocks, I made them elements from the periodic table that spell Ba-B-Y (aka Barium, Boron and Yttrium) on the big cake and B-O-Y(aka Boron, Oxygen and Yittrium) on the “blocks”. Further, since the gluten free cake mixes are much more expensive than cake for normals, I made the cake-cubes from the gluten free mix and the tiered cake from a regular-gluten mix (with approval from bff, of course).
The typical banner that spells B-A-B-Y (or sometimes the baby’s name) was spelled out using binary: 01000010010000010100001001011001. Then I printed several lines of pi, cut them into strips and used them as ribbon around some votives and printed out the due date using math problems and put them in picture frames that bff will use later in the baby’s room (the frames, not the math problems… though you never know with her).
Geeks typically love duct tape. They were the first to start making wallets, ties and other things out of the stuff. So, game #1 was to make a baby diaper out of duct tape. Winner chosen based on the fit, over-all design and least amount of sticky against the baby’s skin (using my daughter’s dolls as models).
Game #2 make up baby names using elements from the periodic table. To help with this I printed out the periodic table and cut out each element-square so people can shuffle them around and play with them before making a decision. Can be existing names or made up, but must be pronounceable. Winner chosen by the parents-to-be.
I went through several ideas for this but finally settled on a “Grow Your Own Sarlacc” kit. A Sarlacc is the big sand-pit-creature in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, if you don’t already know. The favor included a little baggie of sand and a little baggie of malted milk eggs and instructions to feed it clones and Jedis. I searched online and didn’t find anything to indicate how Sarlaccs reproduce, so I went with eggs. This is the one and only time I deviated from cannon.
All in all I had an absolute BLAST planning and pulling this off. I took it one item at a time, decided how to geekafy it and made a list… a HUGE list. Started planning it four months in advance, so I had plenty of time to research, plan, design, purchase and assemble.
Oh yes, inspired by the cans of “unicorn meat” that are available at thinkgeek.com, I made a couple of jars of “pureed butterflies” using fake butterflies I got at the craft store and vegetarian gelatin.
LOVE YOU MICHELLE!