Idea No.


Nancy Drew Detective -8yr- Mystery Game!



August 2014


Lucinda in Mount Joy, PA, USA

August 2014 Winner

Mystery Party

INVITATION:  This year’s party was so much fun! We started things off by sending invitations that looked like a cover of a Nancy Drew book. We titled it,   The Clue of the Mystery Party on the front with a silhouette scenery picture of Nancy Drew. On the inside, we wrote - ‘Are you ready for a spine-tingling mystery party?! You don’t have to be a detective to figure out the clues below.’ Then we had all the party info (i.e. date, time, etc.) backwards so that the recipients had to use a mirror to read it.  We also purchased stamps that had the same picture as the front of the card on them from Zazzle.    

DECORATIONS:  We used yellow and black as our colors, so we had y & b balloons, crepe paper, table clothes, paper plates, cups and napkins. We purchased two detective themed cardboard stand-ups from Oriental Trading Co. and had one beside the front door as the guests arrived with CAUTION tape over the front door.  The other one was inside beside the yellow pennant ‘Happy Birthday’ banner that we made. For the banner, we drew magnifying glasses for the ‘P’s’, sunglasses for the ‘B’, two, enlarged fingerprints pasted top-to-bottom to look like and 8, as it was her 8th birthday, printed silhouettes and other detective themed symbols.

On the food table we laid out all types of detective items; magnifying glasses, police badges, mustache stickers stuck on the plastic table clothes, stripes of ‘Keep Out’ tape and other items, mainly found at a dollar store.  There was also a purse with beaded necklaces hanging over the sides, Nancy Drew books, a briefcase, a TNT ’bomb’ made from a pool noodle and CAUTION tape all over the house, front door and outside areas. (Some of those items were used in the ACTIVITIES, see below. The food was also part of the decorations, more information on that under PARTY SNACKS.  

ACTIVITIES/GAMES:  We had paper disguise masks for the kids to color while waiting for all the guests to arrive. (O.T.Co.) They turned out great, the kids really took their time decorating them. We provided lunch for the party, so that was the next activity.  After all the kids were fed, we played our first game - Pass the TNT! We made a ‘bomb’ using a red, cut-up pool noodle, dollar store calculator, black tape and a small bit of wire.  The kids had to pass the bomb while the theme to Mission Impossible played and when the music stopped, whoever was holding the bomb was out. We played a few rounds of that. 

Then, we played ‘Guard Dog’ using the purse mentioned above in DECORATIONS. The purse had beaded necklaces and ring pops inside. One child is picked to be a guard dog. They must sit in a chair with their back to the ‘Jewel Thieves’.  One thief at a time tries to sneak up on the guard dog and steal a necklace. (The necklaces were hanging out over the purse to make it a bit easier). The guard dog had one chance to turn and catch the thief.  After everyone stole a necklace, we played another round where the thieves had to steal the entire purse and if they succeeded they could get a ring pop, then replacing the purse for the next child. 

The next game, before the big mystery, was the Observation game.  All the kids sat around a table, each one having a paper and pencil.  We laid a tray with various spy/party decorations on the table and gave the kids 15 seconds to try to memorize the items. They, then, had to write down (or draw a picture) each item them remembered.  We gave them about 30+ seconds and then named each items and they raised their hands if they got it. They wanted to play this one again, so we did with all new objects!

After that last game, I announced that it was cake time! We all went inside to cut the cake, but it had been stolen!  There was an envelope, sealed with wax,  in it’s place with a rhyming clue in it that lead to another clue, 5 clues in all.  Here’s the first clue, as an example: I’m sorry but the cake you are trying to find, just happens to be my favorite kind!  The cake is now gone, it’s a mystery it’s true. So look under the ‘hopper’ to find your next clue! (the hopper was the trampoline).  Thank goodness we had a detective briefcase with all the necessary equipment on hand!

The briefcase had fuzzy mustaches and sunglasses for disguises.  We also made badges with each child’s Agent name. We had two piles of words; first pile was a cute animal and the second pile was a word associated with detective, like mustache, cluey, sleuthing, etc.  Each kid picked one word from each pile and got a silly Agent name.  My daughter’s was ’Agent Mustache Kitty’.  We had the word Agent already on the badges and I just wrote in the picked names, as my husband had them put their fingerprints on the badge. The kids just LOVED this. Armed and ready to go, they had to figure out and find several different clues.

Finally, it led them to our garage, where they figured out the code, opened the garage door and found the cake thief!  It was a lot of fun!   At the very end of the party, we had a local police officer K-9 Unit visit.  In lieu of gifts, my daughter requested donations for our local K-9 unit. She loves dogs and this being a detective themed party, we thought this was the perfect match.  The officer brought his dog and demonstrated various training commands.  The officer was extremely grateful, the dog was friendly and the kids had a great experience.  All the guests were very gracious and we raised a lot of money to help continue the donation-only program.  

PARTY SNACKS:  We served lunch, as well as snacks and, as mentioned above, some were used for decoration.  We had finger sandwiches to represent the Nancy Drew era, Clueless Chips, Mysterony & Cheese, Mysterious Munchies (veggie spread on crescent rolls), Magnifying Glasses - Oreo cookies with white icing on the outside on one side and a blackened lollipop stick, Mini-Bombs - chocolate covered mini donuts with a thin piece of red licorice sticking out of the middle, a bowl of Guess the Flavor Jelly Beans (We cut out the flavor chart on the back of the package, but said they had to taste first and guess the flavor before looking at the chart.), Rings Under Glass - unwrapped ring pops in a clear to-go like container), Detective Dogs - hot dogs, along with fruit and other snacks.  

CAKE:  This was my first time ever using fondant and, thankfully, it turned out great.  I just made two 9x13 cakes, one vanilla & one chocolate as requested, and placed them on top of each other with a layer of icing in between.  After icing was placed all over the outside, I placed the yellow fondant over the cake, cut & shaped, and then placed a Nancy Drew silhouette, made of black fondant, on top with ‘Happy Birthday’, etc.  It was supposed to resemble a book and it pretty much did.  I was happy with the results and everyone said it tasted good, so mission accomplished. Oh, and the cake was placed on an antique tray with wooden handles that we had. It went perfectly with the Nancy Drew-retro look. 

FAVORS:  For favors, we used yellow gift bags that we decorated with fingerprints, 3-D silhouette stickers that we found, the child’s name, and other stickers & stamps that matched the theme.  We found all this at a local craft shop.  In the bag were copies of Nancy Drew books that we had purchased, for less than a dollar each, at the local library sale months earlier, magnifying glasses & mini composition books from a dollar store and pencils we had made, from Oriental Trading Company, saying It’s no mystery, you’re awesome!  I think each bag cost less than $2.00 and most of that cost was the bag!  

COSTUMES:  Every year, I buy a shirt, themed with that year’s birthday party and my daughter’s age. And, as mentioned above, the kids had disguises of sunglasses, mustaches & badges.     We had so much fun and raised money for a good cause. All-in-all a perfect day!

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