Mad Scientist Party Theme

spooky science lab setting

Dina Belenko Photography/Getty Images

Slip on the lab coats that you can make yourself and let's do (mad) science! This is a great party theme for kids with an interest in science, though it can easily be adapted for an adult party theme as well.

This step-by-step guide can help with everything you need to make your mad scientist party a success. Make clever invitations, decorate your area to resemble a mad scientist lab, make a crazy cake, serve mad scientist food and drinks, entertain your guests with educational science games, and send them home with fun mementos of the party. Let's get started!

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Mad Scientist Invitations

Albert Einstein with his tongue out


Be creative with your invitations! Here are some invitation ideas with a mad scientist flair.

Science Experiment Invitations

Write out your invitation to it resembles a science experiment.

  • Purpose: To have a (birthday, Halloween, etc.) party.
  • Hypothesis: Mad Scientist parties are more fun than other types of parties.
  • Date:
  • Time:
  • Location:
  • Information: Should your guests bring anything? Will they be getting slimed or should they bring swimsuits? Dry ice or liquid nitrogen in the pool is great for an adult party, though it is not a good plan for kids.

You are welcome to print out and use this silly picture of Einstein or the mad scientist. Don't forget that many scientists, mad or otherwise, can get emails, so you may be able to email the invitations instead of mailing or handing them out.

Test Tube Invitations

Write your party details on strips of paper and then roll them to fit inside inexpensive plastic test tubes. Hand the invitations out personally.

Invisible Ink and Secret Message Invitations

Write your invitations using any of the invisible ink recipes. Explain on the invitation how the message can be revealed.

Another option is to write the message using a white crayon on white paper or a white card. The message can be revealed by coloring the card with a marker or painting it with watercolor. This type of message may be easier to read than the type produced using invisible ink.

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Mad Scientist Costumes

young boy as a mad scientist

 Jason_V/Getty Images

Mad scientist costumes are easy to make, plus they can be inexpensive. Here are some ideas of ways to get the right look.

  • Buy packs of plain cotton t-shirts or undershirts. Cut them up the middle (they are knit so they won't unravel). Wear these as lab coats. Your mad scientists may wish to decorate their lab coats with permanent markers or do some Sharpie tie-dye to personalize their science gear.
  • Purchase inexpensive safety goggles, sunglasses, or wacky glasses from a dollar store.
  • Make construction paper geeky bow ties, which can be attached to a shirt or 'lab coat' with a safety pin or paper clip.
  • Print a lab safety symbol and attach it to the lab coat with a safety pin or even double-stick tape.
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Mad Scientist Decorations

colorful helium balloons against the sky

Taweesak Baongern/EyeEm 

Mad scientist decorations are a breeze!

  • Get balloons. Mylar (the shiny silver kind) look high-tech, but you can use normal latex balloons for electricity science experiments. Helium-filled balloons are great for changing the pitch of your voice (illustrating density). You could inflate surgical gloves as decorations, too.
  • You can print MSDS sheets or molecular structures for sucrose (sugar) or sodium chloride (salt) or lab safety signs. Biohazard is always a nice touch, though radiation is also cool.
  • You can decorate a chalkboard or dry erase board with equations or instructions for your science projects.
  • Fill jars with food-colored water. Add plastic eyeballs, animals, fake body parts, or whatever you find that looks 'science-y'.
  • Dissect a few gummy worms or frogs, pinned to cardboard.
  • I highly recommend having a black light (ultraviolet lamp). There are several food and drink options that will glow under a black light, plus it opens up the possibilities for glowing party games and makes everything look cool.
  • Replace your normal light bulbs with colored bulbs.
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Mad Scientist Cakes

cake that looks like an eyeball
Anne Helmenstine

You can make a fun cake for a Mad Scientist theme party.

Eyeball Cake

  1. Bake a cake in a well-greased 2-qt glass or metal mixing bowl.
  2. Frost the cake with white frosting.
  3. Draw an eye using blue or frosting. You can use a glass to make a circle shape in the white frosting.
  4. Fill in the pupil of the eye with black frosting or use a circle made from construction paper. I used a mini-Reeses wrapper.
  5. Use red gel frosting to trace blood vessels in the white of the eye.

Brain Cake

  1. Bake a lemon or yellow cake in a well-greased 2-quart glass or metal mixing bowl.
  2. Decorate the cake using pale yellow (brain-colored) frosting by squeezing frosting in a pastry bag through a round decorating tip.
  3. Make thick back-and-forth brain grooves (called sulci in case anyone asks).
  4. Use red gel frosting to trace blood vessels on the brain or else use a clean pastry brush and red frosting to draw more gruesome blood.

Volcano Cake

  1. Bake a red velvet cake in a mixing bowl.
  2. If you have access to dry ice, you can hollow out the top of the cake to accommodate a small cup and frost all around the cup. When it's time to serve the cake add hot water to the cup and drop in a bit of dry ice. If you don't have access to dry ice you can use lava-colored fruit roll-ups to simulate an eruption.
  3. Frost the cake with chocolate frosting or swirl red and yellow food coloring into vanilla frosting.
  4. Use orange frosting to make lava running down the sides of the cake.
  5. Sprinkle red sugar crystals onto the orange lava.
  6. To make a fruit roll-up eruption, fold two lava-colored fruit roll-ups in half and re-roll them. Set them into the frosting on top of the cake.

Math or Science Cake

You can decorate any cake with mathematical equations and scientific symbols. A round cake could be decorated as a radiation symbol. A sheet cake could be made to resemble a chalkboard.

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Mad Scientist Party Food

wraps that look like mad scientists
Anne Helmenstine

Mad scientist party food can be high-tech or gross or both.

  • Have your party guests make colored celery sticks by soaking cut celery in food-colored water. You can explain capillary action! Serve the celery with cream cheese or peanut butter.
  • Serve normal food, but give it science names. Do you have guacamole-flavored chips? Call them alien crunchies.
  • All the usual foods are good: hot dogs, pizza, spaghetti. You could use colored water to make the spaghetti.
  • You can make sandwich wraps resemble kooky mad scientists. Use vegetables for hair, olive slices for eyes, and cut cheese for detailed features. You can add chicken or tuna salad, or pretty much any filling.
  • Use a black light and make glow-in-the-dark Jell-O.
  • Make blood pudding. Yes, it sounds gross, and no, I'm not recommending making the traditional dish, real blood and all. Simply add red food coloring to vanilla or banana instant pudding. You can add a few gummy worms to increase the gross-factor. Tastes great, kind of disgusting.
  • You can make liquid nitrogen ice cream or carbonated dry ice cream.
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Mad Scientist Party Drinks

glass with glowing ice and liquid
Anne Helmenstine

Party drinks can look radioactive or can glow in the dark. Here are some ideas.

  • Anything served in a beaker or test tube. If it is carbonated or brightly-colored (like Mountain Dew) so much the better.
  • Anything made using tonic water will glow under a black light. If you freeze tonic water, the ice cubes will glow bright blue under a black light.
  • Consider freezing candy eyeballs or gummy worms into ice cubes to add to drinks.
  • You can use glowsticks as stirring rods or decorations in your drinks.
  • If you have access to dry ice, adding a little to a punch bowl will produce a dramatic boiling, foggy effect. Just don't drink the dry ice!

Make Igor-Ade

  1. In a saucepan, mix 1-1/2 cups of apple juice and a 3-oz package of lime-flavored gelatin.
  2. Cook and stir the mixture over low heat until the gelatin dissolves.
  3. Remove the saucepan from heat. Stir in another 1-1/2 cups of apple juice.
  4. Refrigerate the gelatin mixture about 2 hours or until thickened.
  5. Divide the mixture evenly among 6 glasses.
  6. Slowly pour an orange-flavored drink down the side of each glass. The orange drink will float on the green gelatin mixture.

Make Glowing Hand of Doom Punch

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Mad Scientist Party Activities

molecule models made of candy and sticks
Anne Helmenstine

Classic Mad Scientist party activities would involve slime and volcanic eruptions, but you don't need to get messy to have fun.

Potentially Messy Party Games & Activities

Good Clean Mad Scientist Fun

  • Make molecules using toothpicks or spaghetti and mini-marshmallows or gumdrops.
  • Go on a chemistry scavenger hunt.
  • Play with balloons. You can rub normal balloons on your hair and stick them to a wall. You can raise the pitch of your voice using helium balloons.
  • Explore freezing point depression by making yummy ice cream in a baggie.
  • Make fruit batteries to light holiday lights and learn about ions and electrochemistry.
  • Play 'Burst the Atom'. Tie one balloon around one ankle of each guest. Guests try to stomp balloons while saving their own. The winner is the last person with an 'atom'.
  • Go 'Bobbing for Eyeballs'. This is like bobbing for apples except using ping pong balls on which you have drawn an eyeball with ​a permanent marker.
  • Make your own (edible) mad scientist monsters. Cut a tray of rice krispie treats into rectangles. Let guests decorate their treats to resemble scientists or monsters using green frosting, colored candies, licorice, and sprinkles.
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Mad Scientist Party Favors

different colored putty and play-doh

 redarmy030/Getty Images

Send your mad scientists home with science party treats. These make great prizes for games, too.

  • Science candy. Think Nerds, Atomic Warheads, Pop Rocks, Smarties, and gummy creatures.
  • Cans of silly string are fun.
  • If you made slime, send it home in zipped baggies. Ditto for any gumdrop or marshmallow molecules (not in the same baggie with the slime, but you knew that).
  • Pen-sized black lights.
  • Silly putty.
  • Mood rings.
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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Mad Scientist Party Theme." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2021, February 16). Mad Scientist Party Theme. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Mad Scientist Party Theme." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 2, 2023).