You've got your party plan, your cache locations and your birthday boy or girl. Now it's time to send out invites - evites or paper - and plan the surprises, including a great picnic menu.
Evites are an easy way to send invitations, but if you're looking for a fun and surprising paper version, this DIY pop-up invite is just the ticket. Instead of using polka-dot paper for the cover, as pictured in the example, use road or topographic maps. The invitation should tell guests to expect an outdoor, geocaching adventure, and tell them to wear layers and good walking shoes.
Guests should assemble at a central gathering place, so they can get the lowdown on what the day holds, and download their GPS coordinates. Depending on the size of the group, you may want to split into groups, which can race to complete the challenges before gathering at the final set of coordinates for a picnic.
Caches of any sort are fun, but if you go the DIY cache route, you can stash party supplies in the boxes - fluorescent feather boas, party hats, noisemakers or, if you're doing this at dusk or nightfall, flashlights, glow sticks, necklaces and bracelets. By the time your partygoers arrive at the final party coordinates, it will be quite obvious who has or has not found all the caches!
An outdoor treasure hunt is cool, but arriving at mysterious coordinates to discover an elaborate picnic already set up is sheer magic. Choose a meadow or glade that can be approached from a trail, to maximize the partygoers' experience - but that also has easy roadside access, so you can load in equipment discreetly. You'll need a buffet table and drinks station, blankets for lounging, and refreshments. Anything you pack in must be packed out too, and anything glass or breakable is a bad idea.
Choose a color scheme - the colors from a plaid blanket, perhaps, or blue enamel camping ware - to guide your decorations. Add lanterns and candles - the battery-powered kind. Pick a simple menu, such as baguettes filled with salami and arugula or tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella; bountiful salads; brownies, blondies and birthday cupcakes. Do a swanky variation on lemonade, an Italian soda bar - fizzy water and fruit syrups - or hot cocoa station. And don't forget to bring trash bags for hauling out debris.