Idea No.


Mystery Sleepover -8yr- Hotel Safe is Empty



August 2006


Sherri in NJ

Special Mention

Mystery Party

This is long... For my daugher's 8th birthday, we had a mystery/slumber party with the plot centered around a large sum of money and jewels missing from one of the 'haunted hotel' guests.  We created a character for every guest invited.  Each character was unique, and had both a special trait and item of clothing they wore to allow for each of the guests to 'dress or play the part', if they choose to.  As an example, one character was Penny Sport who made Gatorade for a living and only wore uniforms, since she played on all sports teams (she actually came to the party carrying a case of gatorade!).   

Invitations: On the outside of the invitation was written "Whodunit?", with the question mark shaped from the phrase "super slumber caper".  Inside the invitation it read:  Your character (Penny Sport) is summoned for questioning regarding the recent crime committed at the Haunted (our street name) Hotel.  Date of Questioning: xxx Time of Questioning: xxx Place of Questioning: xxx  Please confirm you appointment by calling xxx-xxxx no later than xxx.  All no-shows may be subject to hefty fines or jail time.  Due to the number of suspects being brought in for questioning, we expect the questioning to run long into the night.  Please be prepared to stay in the hotel overnight by bringing a sleeping bag and pillow.  All suspects should be ready for release by 10:00am. 

As part of the invitation, there was:
1.An insert with all "characters" listed and a small description of each character to give an idea of how to dress, etc.  Penny Sport's description read that she made Gatorade for a living, listed sports she played, etc.  We didn't put the actual child's name on this insert.  This is important since this left all the girls guessing as to who each character might be.

2.Note to the parents that it will be more fun if each character dresses up but not to buy anything.  Call me for help and I will provide ideas/items for them to wear.  I also created these characters based on the individual personalities of the guests, knowing who was creative, etc.

3. Special note that our dog will be having his own sleepover (for kids who were afraid of dogs).  I also enlisted the assistance of 2 other parents (including myself and husband).  My husband and the 2 parents also played a role in the mystery.  They were hotel workers (cook, cleaning lady and maintanence man).  I was the police officer conducting the investigation.  Prep for party (which were given to all suspects for evidence of crime): 1. House plan showing all rooms that would be used for the questioning. 2.

Evidence #1-an unsigned letter found in the hallway hotel saying that this individual will be visiting a special Aunt soon with a very nice surprise. 3.
Evidence #2-a letter sent to the hotel (created from cut out letters in magazines) asking if they found an unclaimed passport.  If so, they asked to send it to the same address shown on the letter in evidence #1.

4. Police report detailing the crime.  This also listed evidence #1 and 2.

5. A special sheet with coded letters.

6. Police tape used to tape off front of house. 

Start of party:
1. All kids gathered in front yard and we had a fingerprinting booth set up (run by one parent) and handed out packet of prep info.  

2. After fingerprinting, they moved to mug shots (by another parent) where they had 1 front and 1 side picture taken.  After this, they were asked to review the packet of info.

3. I gave an intro of all parents and their role and introduced each character.  Some charcters were Lily Tiger (local florist),  Bella Ball (dancer), Ms. Match (famous clothing designer), Inspector Cluster (private investigator), Robbin Banks (professional bank robber and previous keymaker), etc.  As part of the intro, each character got a cheap prop to go with their character (Penny Sport got sweat bands, Robbin Banks got gloves, Bella Ball got toe socks, etc.).

4. I mentioned that we believed the person asking for the passport in evidence #2 is believed to be the same person who wrote the unsigned letter (evidence #1).  The safe in the hotel was found closed and locked but inside all jewels and $ missing.  If we could locate the key to the safe, we might find the passport inside and ID the thief. 

Mystery: On the house plan, the rooms were identified that would have clues.  THey had to go in order (clue #1, led to clue #2, etc).  THis was important since certain clues also provided items they might need along the way.  It's hard for me to list each clue/puzzle since most were designed for my house.  But here are examples: 1. Dining room table was set as it looked the time the hotel realized there was a crime.  The menu was the first clue.  It was written in several colors but all letters in the color red spelled out the next location--'fireplace'. 2. Fireplace had a code they had to crack (using the special sheet with code handed in packet).  Coding was different--some numbers translated to letters, some addition or subtraction and even easy Spanish (since they all take this is school). 

This was a riddle that led them to a 'bathroom'. 3. In the bathroom, they had to play silent hangman.  To guess a letter, they had to 'form' the letter using hands (either their own or their friends hands).  Strict orders for No Talking!  This led to the 'Ballroom'. 4. The ballroom contained 500 blown up ballons with 5 of the balloons having clues. 5. Another clue gave them large cards with words written in mirror image.  They had to find a mirror (bathroom again) to solve this. 6. The list goes on with about a total of 14 puzzles.  One of these clues led to my neighbors house who held the safe for us.   7. Clue #14 produced the key and inside was the passport of the maintance man (my husband). 

After the mystery, I gave each a can of silly string and sent them outside why I got dinner ready.  After eating, they spent a lot of time trying on each other's wig, costumes, etc.  This was followed by bobbing for apples and smores on the firepit.  They changed into pjs, had cake and settled down for a movie (the original Pink Panther).  Gave them all a party gift (personalized pillows) which they all used that night.  Some slept, some didn't.  Served pancakes for breakfast and sent the suspects home by 10am.   It was a lot of work but worth it all.  We laughed so hard and still talk about it.

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