Creating a Secret, Private Event on Facebook

Topics: Social Media

create-private-facebook-eventAbout two years ago, I wrote a post which posed the question: How can I create a public event that blocks certain users? I wanted to create a public event that everyone could see *except* the person whose surprise party it was.

I still don’t have the answer!

In the meantime, however, that post continues to be of the most-viewed articles on our entire site. It attracts visits from people asking questions like:

- How to block someone from seeing an event on facebook
- How to make a surprise party event on facebook
- How to make a facebook event secret
- Surprise party facebook event
- And more…

Even though the post attracted a ton of traffic, it also had a fairly high bounce rate and low amount of time on the page. This caused myself to ask: What can I do to improve this page?

Well, by looking at the average searches that lead users to this page, it was obvious: my post doesn’t answer questions about creating a basic private event. Most people are looking for a simple way to just create a private Facebook event or surprise party; the issue of blocking only one person is less of a concern.

So without further ado, here are screenshot instructions for how to create a Private Facebook Event, whether it’s a surprise party or otherwise. Um, and sorry it took me two years to do this:

1. Go to your Facebook Homepage. Click “Home” on the upper right-hand corner of the screen:


2. Click on your “Events” from the left-hand column:


3. Click “Create Event” from the top right-hand side of the screen:

4. Choose “Invite Only” for the Event Privacy. The next screen is where you can add the event name, time, location, details, and privacy settings. If you want the event to be totally secret and private to only those who you invite, select “Invite Only”:

4. Decide whether you want guests to invite friends or not. If the party truly needs to be as secure and private as possible, you’ll probably want to leave this unchecked.


5. Customize your event with photos, invite friends, message guests and more. See the upper right-hand corner of the screen for full controls over your event. And by the way Facebook – how come we can’t use larger featured images for events?!

Add facebook event photo

edit facebook event

5. That’s it! Hope this additional information helps you create your top-secret, invite-only Facebook event.

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  1. Can the event name be viewed though? For example if I take all these precautions.. and someone RSVP’s.. would it say “sally is going to Bob’s surprise party’? and then Bob could potentially see this?

    Posted by Kristina, February 16, 2013 Reply

    • Hi Kristina, No one can see any posts related to a private event unless they are invited. So if Sally joins the event, it might post to Sally’s wall or the event wall, “Sally is going to Bob’s party’, but ONLY Sally and ONLY people who are invited to the event can see this. Sally’s friends (such as Bob) who are NOT invited to the event, can NOT see any related posts about the event. Hope that makes sense?

      Posted by Sarah, February 19, 2013

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this information!

    So, that’s it? You just need to make sure you choose “invite only” and the event is private? I am trying to throw a surprise party for my boyfriend and sort of panicking about the whole FB invite thing!

    Posted by Christie, February 24, 2013 Reply

    • Yup, Invite Only and you will be all set!

      Posted by Sarah, February 28, 2013

  3. Thank you for the info. It really does help. I too am planning a surprise birthday for my boyfriend and I’m a little worried about him seeing it some how. I’ve seen friends comment on events that I wasn’t invited too and people I don’t even know. BUT it could just be because they didn’t check all the appropriate boxes to keep it private. My fingers are crossed here because I will be soooo bummed if FB is the reason his surprised is ruined.

    Posted by Becky, March 5, 2013 Reply

  4. Hi Sarah,
    I’m sure you have been asked this before but is it possible to create an event for a FB PAGE with the same ‘invite only’ settings? Ie: private until I want to to make it public (and invite everyone?) Tks!

    Posted by Nikolas, March 30, 2013 Reply

    • Hi Nikolas – Good question! Since Facebook pages are public by default, any events that you create for a Facebook page will also be public – there is no way to make the event private.

      Posted by Sarah, April 2, 2013

  5. So my wife left her FB account unlocked and I grabbed a list of her friends.

    I don’t see a way to add them to the party without friending them . . which I can do . . maybe. But it will be suspicious.

    If I can get on her account again what is the best way to invite them without tipping off my wife?

    Posted by Aaron, May 3, 2013 Reply

    • That’s tricky, but you can private message them the event information.

      Posted by Chan, May 29, 2013

  6. OMG you have made it so easy and my events page is up within 20minutes!! I had to think longgg and hard what I wanted in the details otherwise would have been quicker!!!

    Posted by Kinny, May 4, 2013 Reply

  7. My page doesn’t have an events column ?

    Posted by angelica, May 5, 2013 Reply

    • Hi Angelica,

      If creating an event from your own Facebook account, you should see a link that says “Events” on the left hand side of the main Facebook page. Be sure to click “HOME” so that way you can see all options (versus looking at your personal profile page).

      Are you trying to create an event for a Group or Page, instead of from your own personal account?

      Posted by Sarah, May 6, 2013

  8. Can you create “Invite Only” events using Pages? The Privacy drop-down menu only seems to appear when I create events from my personal account.

    Posted by Alex, May 14, 2013 Reply

    • Hi Alex,

      When you create an event for a Facebook page, everyone who has liked the page is automatically included in the event. Events are also public, since all Facebook pages are public by default as well.

      Posted by Sarah, May 15, 2013

  9. Hi sara,
    My column doesn’t have events either….
    it has news feed/messages/photos and search friends.

    Posted by kaytee, May 15, 2013 Reply

    • Hi Kaytee,

      It might depend on what version you are using – Facebook has made some upgrades so things look different for some people now, and this post was actually written for an older version. However – you should be able to edit what appears in your Favorites. See this link: and then “How Do I Rearrange My Homepage Favorites”. Hope that helps!

      Posted by Sarah, May 16, 2013

  10. Can you only invite friends on your friends list though if you keep it to invite only. I want to arrange a party for a friend and without adding her friends I can’t seem to invite them and keep it away from her?

    Posted by Liz, May 30, 2013 Reply

    • Hi Liz,

      You have to be friends with them in order to invite them. In retrospect, this is probably a good thing, otherwise people could create events and spam everyone on Facebook with invites. Still, it can make organizing events tricky if you want to invite people that you aren’t “friends” with. One thing you could do is edit the event and go to “EDIT HOSTS”. You could add an additional host to the event, who could invite other people for you if *they* are friends with the other people?

      Posted by Sarah, May 30, 2013

  11. I havent read all comments here, but just in case, let me just point out that if you do this, it will show on guests activity logg on their page that they joined the event. Just tried it, and yes, I am trying to make a surprise party. It doesnt show on MY page, but the one I’m trying to surprise can easily see her friends joining the event. I am not sure if the person you are trying to hide it from can click into the event and read the description (doubt it), but the event name is definately something you should chose carefully, as it is not completely hidden.

    Posted by Robert, July 11, 2013 Reply

    • Hi Robert – Great point to clarify and another Facebook feature that makes private events so confusing! When you join an event, it WILL show on your Facebook page – but only you and other people who were invited to the event can see it on your page or in their feeds. I am also a member of a few secret groups, and I see my activity in my feed and the activity of other people in the secret group in the feet – but only I can see this, and only other group members can see it.

      Posted by Sarah, July 15, 2013

  12. Hi, how can I keep invite list in events secret on Facebook? I don’t want people to see who I have invited.

    Thank you


    Posted by Paul Lewin, August 21, 2013 Reply

  13. does the “invite only” work ? I’m planning a surprise party but won’t she see this in her feed if friends click attending? :( help please!

    Posted by kristie, September 3, 2013 Reply

    • Hi Kristi, It works! If you are still nervous, try creating a test event, and invite only 2 of your friends, making sure it’s INVITE ONLY. Then see if another one of your friends can event visit the event page (copy the URL from the event page when you visit it). Chances are that if they even try, they’ll be redirected because it’s a private URL.

      Posted by Sarah, November 4, 2013

  14. The whole invite only thing doesn’t work!!! I created a surprise party event and someone who was not invited could see wall posts from the event in his new feed!!

    Posted by Katie, September 10, 2013 Reply

    • Are you sure you selected “INVITE ONLY”?

      Posted by Sarah, November 4, 2013

  15. I created a private event, friends cannot add anyone. Selected 30 friends. Then FB adds 4 people at random. I delete them, and they get added back. The next day, a few more are added, including the 4 from the day before that I did not add. Very strange, any ideas?

    Posted by Greg S, September 17, 2013 Reply

    • Maybe be sure you haven’t included the ability for friends to invite friends?

      Posted by Sarah, November 4, 2013

  16. Create a ‘Group’ instead of an ‘Event’. Click the ‘Secret Group’ settings, then only the people you want to invite to the party are in the Group. The person you are surprising will not see any notifications.

    Posted by Kelly, December 11, 2013 Reply

  17. If I created an invite-only event in a Public Group, would the event be private from all the other people in the group who aren’t invited??

    Posted by Dee, March 9, 2014 Reply

    • Hi Dee,

      Anyone who is in the group can see it. If the group is public, that also means people not even in the group can see it.

      The best way would be to create the invite from your personal account and not associate it with the group.

      Kelly – yes, if if’s a secret group, then it would be private. But people would also need to join the group.

      Posted by Sarah, March 11, 2014

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