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Birthday Party Theme
Cops and Robbers




Birthday Party Invitations:  The Sheriff needs your help! Did you read about the Candy Caper Bandits? They hid all the candy that (birthday boy or girl) were going to share at their birthday party. Where did the Candy Caper Bandits hide the candy? The party's still on! We have some clues, but we need your help. Come on out at (address) on (date, time) and get ready to hunt, and find the candy!

Party Decorations:  Cut out large footprints that wander around to hiding places for dropped "loot" (candy) and some that wander around aimlessly. (You don't want to make it too easy unless your guests are very young!)  Paper plates, cups, napkins in solid red or blue, plus plastic forks and spoons.

Birthday Cake:  Cake cut like a police car. Using white icing, make two colors - white and red is always bright and colorful, but any two colors are fine. Soft drinks on ice. These should be available throughout the party, as there are running games.

Prepare Goodie Bags for your Guests to Take Home:  Contact your local sheriff's department and see if they have anything they can give you such as safety coloring books, stickers, etc. to add to your gift bags for your guests to take home.

Games and Activities at the Birthday Party:

(1) Costumes: Make your uniform:  First activity, to handle staggered arrivals.

  • Police Vest: Cut a hole in the bottom of each paper grocery bag before your guests arrive to create a head hole. The kids can put their head through the hole to create a Police Vest. Slit the bags up the sides to avoid the need for armholes, or wait until your guests arrive to size and cut armholes as needed for each child. Have the kids color the vest if they wish.

  • Police Badge: Make badges from cardboard. Cover with aluminum foil. Write each guest's name on a badge with a marker. Scotch tape, velcros, or glue a police badge on each "vest".

Transitional:  Shout: "Calling all Detectives!"  Say: "Study this room carefully and try to remember what you see. It will come in handy later!" Give them a minute to look around, which most won't do, then ...

(2) Conduct the Treasure Hunt (The Candy Caper)  Before guests arrive, hide wrapped candy all over the party area or back yard.  When it's time for the Candy Caper, shout: "Calling all Detectives!" Group your party guests in one area. Quickly explain the game. Let the kids follow the footprints and find the candy. This is fast and furious. Let it be a free for all. Have extra candy in your pocket to drop for little ones when they become frustrated because their big brothers and sisters have snatched all the candy. Don't bother with clues unless your guest list is very small. You might wish to hand out small bags to hold the candy they find. You can say something like: When your bag is full, you're done.

(3) Observation Game:  Again, shout: "Calling all Detectives!"  Say: "Here's your chance to win more candy. This is how the game is played. While you were playing Candy Caper, I have changed five things in this room. What are they?" Have kids guess. Let them scream it out. Toss winners a piece of candy.

Transitional:  Many kids will say, no fair! No problem. Tell them to quickly look around, then  move then on to the next activity ....

(4) Traffic Light Game - Stop and Go:  Before the party, cut out two big signs - a red stop sign and a round green circle for go. Explain the game is Stop and Go. Detectives can shout, but the person holding the signs is not going to say a thing. You will need to be observant. When the sign Stop goes up, STOP. When the sign Go goes up, Run to the (assign a place at the other end of the yard.) Explain to the kids that anyone who messes up will be sent to Jail. Point out the 'Jailhouse' where activities are ready. Play Stop and Go. As kids get 'caught', send them off to the Jailhouse, where another parent or two (or your babysitting crew) is waiting to direct them.

(5) The Jailhouse Arts and Crafts Area:

Police Car Chase Art:  Prepare a Table and have one parent host the car chase art. You'll need sheets of white paper, some little cars - be prepared for the kids to want to take them home. Pots of washable paint. Create police art by dipping the wheels of the little cars into paint, then rolling the cars across paper. Let dry - you have police car chase art.

Toss the crooks into jail:  Before the party, prepare a cardboard box with a round hole cut into the side. Using a black magic marker, draw lines on the box like the bars of a cell. Make or mark beanbags with names of crimes - Shoplifter, Really Bad Guy, etc. Have the kids 'toss the crooks' into jail. Have prizes. Tell the kids they may play as often as they wish, but they can only win once. Once the older kids have a chance to play, put 1 or 2 of the older kids in charge of this game.

Mirror scramble:  Before the party, make some bingo size cards with a message that can only be read backwards, and easily read by holding the card up to a mirror. Have the kids guess what it says, then let them hold it up to a mirror. Write messages like:

  • Return to Stop and Go Game

  • Go To Police Car Chase Art

  • Go to Toss the Crook Into Jail

  • You Have Won a Piece of Candy

Transitional: Shout: "Calling all Detectives!"  Round up the kids and sit them down for cake and ice cream and something to drink.

(6) Serve Birthday Cake and Ice Cream -  Have the birthday boy or girl make a wish and blow out the candles on the cake. Then, as you are serving cake and ice cream to your guests, play the Observation Game one more time. Say: "Here's your last chance to win more candy. While you were playing, I changed five more things in this room. What are they?" Have kids guess. Let them scream it out. Toss winners a piece of candy.

(7) Open Birthday Presents:  Have your party boy or girl open presents. Make a note of each present so that you can help your child send thank you cards at a later time.

(8) Handout Guest Goodie Bags, and thank your guests for coming to the Candy Caper!

 Free Coloring and Activity Pages - You might wish to print out some of these to have on hand at your party for your younger guests. It is always wise to be prepared!

Keeping Kids Safe - What to look for when buying toys (article)

Here is a recap of preparation
needed prior to the birthday party:


Paper plates, forks, spoons, cups (if desired) - red, white, blue

Bags of wrapped candy

Cake, Icing, Food Coloring, Ice Cream

Brightly colored construction paper for footprints, various signs and prizes, and police chase art.

  • Footprints

  • Stop and Go signs

  • Mirror Scramble signs

Brown paper grocery bags


Aluminum Foil

Black magic marker

Washable paint

Little cars

Cardboard Box


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