Idea No.


Mystery Party -8yr- Rotten Gang Took The Cake



June 2004


Natalie in Litchfield Park, AZ

Honorable Mention

Mystery Party

My son had a MYSTERY PARTY when he turned 8.  The party was for a variety of kids, ranging in age from 2 to 9.  We used different rooms in the house to create different "classrooms".  The invitation read: ------------------- Case #:  10/26/95 (birthdate of son) Case Name:  The Kidnapped Cake Caper To:  Freelance Detectives From:  Headquarters  Background:  Young Caleb G of Litchfield Park, and a group of his fun friends were innocently planning a party to celebrate his 8th birthday.  Unfortunately, the Rotten Gang has struck again.  At an unknown hour, the Rotten Gang stole Caleb’s cake, leaving only footprints in the crumbs.  All indications are that they have hidden the unfortunate dessert in the dilapidated and abandoned old schoolhouse, known as the Greaves Institute. 

Your mission will be to help Caleb and his other friends find his lost cake by using your bravery, intelligence, and cunning to solve the clues and follow the trail to the treats.  We here at Headquarters have supreme confidence in your abilities, and hope you are ready and able to assist us in this matter, because it’s a really yummy cake!!!!  Enclosed, you will find your first clue.  Should you need help deciphering, please call us at Headquarters, 935-7232.  Thank you for your help detective! -----------------  The second page of the invitation was in code, using "wingdings" font on the computer (gibberish font) to type the date, time, and place of the party, with the key at the bottom, showing that the icon looking like the sun actually meant an "T" or whatever.  The kids really got a kick out of this.   

On the day of the party, we had a sign on the door reading "Greaves Institute", with the first clue attached.  All of the clues were done in a simple rhyme sending the kids to a certain section of the "abandoned schoolhouse".  The first sent them to "art class" in the dining room, where we made paper lanterns.  (October birthday, so some of the stuff was "scary".)  After they had all completed that, they could open the next clue in the envelope, again in a riddle. This time it was upstairs to the "spelling bee".  I gave each kid a word to spell in turn, making sure the two year old was given "A", and the 9 year old was given things like "giraffe".  All the kids cheered for each other, no prep on this one. 

After we crowned the spelling bee winner, we read the next clue, which sent us to the backyard for "P.E." which was red-rover.  Again, no prep, but this is one I would change to a different game.  This was not good with all of the different sizes of kids, we were a little worried some might make a trip to the nurse! (hahaha)  Any backyard game would make a great substitution.  My husband excused himself during this one, and prepared for the next, which was the Math Maze.  I was as shocked as the kids when he emerged from the bathroom dressed in a bad plaid shirt, hiked up shorts, glasses with tape on them, and pokey wacky hair. 

He was the perfect "math nerd professor".  I could barely quit laughing to take pictures of "Professor Snigglefritz".  Kids still talk about this part months later.  We had made a maze on a poster board, with things like "ahead 2 spaces", "belch", (gross, but they loved it), "hop up and down", "back 2" etc.  He also had little strips of paper with math facts on it, and little kids could pick someone else to help them if they couldn't answer it.  The next riddle sent them upstairs to the Science Lab in the upstairs bathroom for a dissection of a "body."  The kids stood in line, smallest to biggest, to feel yucky things while they were blindfolded.  We used cornnuts for teeth, fruit roll-ups for skin, spaghetti with glycerin for guts, dried apricots for ears, peeled grapes for eyes, and Sunkist fruit-gems for a tongue. 

Possibilities are endless here!  Then is was the last clue, which was a little bit of a tough riddle, telling them that no matter how warm they felt now, if they hung out in this place, they would turn blue (only  much cuter in a rhyme).  The mystery cake was hidden in our deep freeze!  It was one layer of brownie, with ice cream in the middle, and then another brownie layer on top, so it looked like a giant oreo.  I had also drizzled chocolate and caramel syrup on it.  We had "recess" at the park 2 houses down, and ate our cake, opened presents etc.  The kids all left with a little notebook and pen, so they could continue their detective work.  This one is going to be hard to top next year!

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