Mystery birthday party in eleven easy steps

H likes to read Hardy Boys books. I hate them because they are silly and simple and sexist*, and yet too hard for him to understand more than about half. But no matter; he loves them. So he requested a mystery-themed birthday party this year. We had pin the mustache on the detective, a mystery ring toss, and the case of the missing birthday candles. I am documenting how this last game went because it was a pain in the butt to create and also because there were suprisingly slim its when I googled for ideas. Maybe my google-fu was weak that day, but maybe if someone else is in the same boat I was in a week or so ago, this will be helpful, while boring to most anyone else. However, all the rest of my computer time is being used up right now trying to understand public sector unions and what’s going on in WI, so this will have to do.

A relevant bit of information before reading the process outlined below: H believes fervently in leprechauns, more fervently than he believes in Santa. I have not encouraged this, but he is wholely convinced that I’ve never seen one because they are just so darn conniving.

1. Discover mid-party that the candles are missing. Loudly accuse all the birthday guests of stealing them. Listen to their pathetic protestations of innocence. Corral them in the bedroom and be a little menacing about it.

2. Take mugshots of all guests. Later, print them and give them to their parents/guardians. This will make you look like a super awesome, on-top-of-things, over-achiever parent, meaning slacker parents will hate you and over-achieving parents will want to be your friend. Before planning this step, consider whether or not you’d like to have that status.

3. Discover a verse on a card near the scene of the crime. Sheepishly admit your mistake in falsely accusing the children.  Don’t worry! This whole process teaches the children about injustice, a valuable lesson! Read the clue:

I’ve taken your candles,
so you can’t have your cake
unless you follow the clues
back to where H—- awakes.

4. While step three is happening, have someone go to the bedroom and dump out pre-prepared balloons, two of which contain the next clue in the form of a rolled-up piece of paper.

5. The children will go the bedroom and figure out after an absurdly long time and some hints that they need to burst the balloons. They will read this:

Ouch, you popped me
I’m going to bawl
The next clue is where we keep
the batteries in the hall.

6. Then they’ll ransack the hall closet and cabinet until they find your egg beater with a big tag on it reading “Take me home.”

7. They will go into the kitchen looking for where the egg beater belongs. Fortunately, H is the only one who knows, exactly, so he gets to contribute here. In the drawer where it goes, there is a card with a photo of the globe, but distorted to be stretched very very long and thin. Once the kids figure out what it is, they will

8. Run to the globe, which someone will need to get down for them or else you will have children scaling your living room bookcases. In an envelope stuck to the globe is a puzzle. They will sit on the floor to assemble it and discover it’s  a picture of a fireplace.

9. If you are not me, you may have the forethought to clean out the fireplace before the day of the party. If you are me, you will need to vacuum the living room as an afterthought. In the fireplace is a close-up picture of the wall clock. Mine wasn’t close-up enough to be hard. Curses!

10. The children will go to the clock and someone will need to beat them there to prevent the glass and metal clock from being torn right off the wall. They will read a clue taped to the back of the clock. While they are doing this, you should really remember to go to H’s room and slip the final verse and the candles under H’s pillow.  Should you forget to do so, you may need your SO to physically hold the children back after they read:

Look in a place that is under your head, and that would be in a nice cozy bed.

11. After you place the candles and final verse, the children will be released by your SO and stampede into the bedroom to locate the hidden items:

Your birthday’s in March
When the leprechauns play,
so I just stopped by early
to say happy birthday!

Then you may eat the cake, as per usual procedure.

*Note to self: check out a Trixie Belden book for H. Still silly, but less with the sexism.

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About sayingthings

K lives in the US with her man and kiddos, knits, cans, dehydrates, bakes bread, (but doesn't cook regular food, particularly), crochets, spins, gardens, studies for a degree that never seems to end, and um, works. Sometimes she wastes time online. Also -- and family, she's looking at you here -- sometimes she swears and says things you might not agree with. But she still loves you.

Posted on March 3, 2011, in Fambly, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I love it! What a great game & theme. I never would have thought of pin the mustache on the detective. That one made me LOL. (I suppose I should come out of the closet and tell you that I love Nancy Drew so much! I read them all when I was a kid.)

  2. This is awesome! I especially like how Holden gets to be extra important in the hunt since he knows the house the best. I never thought to do a hunt with guests!

  3. Adorable concept!

    And thanks for your kind words about my Percy shawl 🙂

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