Idea No.


Super Caper Slumber - Question Mark Cake



April 2001


Stephanie in Deltona, FL   United States

Special Mention

Mystery Party

Super Caper Slumber Birthday Party  If you love detective stories, mystery movies, and plays as such, this party is for you! It's a Bewildering Birthday bash nobody will forget easily! 

INVITATIONS: Invite a small group of good friends who generally get along. Small parties are cheaper and easier to attend to, plus just as fun as big ones. Print in large, dark, block letters on a sheet of cardstock paper = "You are Invited to a Private Eye Party by (child's name). Come on (party's date) at (party's time and location) to enjoy an invigorating time." Then cut the paper into pieces that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Put the pieces in an envelope and include a miniature magnifying glass. The receivers of the invitations will have to piece it together! Or better yet, mail the pieces of the invitation to the guests one at a time. Another idea is to write the words of the invitation in code and include a decoding sheet in the envelope. Make it interesting! Mail the "puzzling" invitations two weeks in advance, or send the pieces to the guests over a period of 3 weeks.  

FOOD: How to plan an intriguing meal for a detective party? Serve burgers as "mystery meat" for the main course, with "mystery" punch. This is made when each child brings a pitcher of his favorite juice, and they are all combined to make a delightfully mixed-up and mysterious drink. If the result tastes yucky, have some soda on hand. Keep some chips, popcorn, pretzels, and cookies handy too.

As for the birthday cake, make a cake with one chocolate section, one butter yellow section, and one white or angel food cake section. Ice it over with white royal icing so none of the actual cake can be seen. Then squeeze out a big question mark in black icing on top as well as birthday greetings. No one will know what kind of cake they will get!  

GAMES: Play this great detective game at your party. Cut out slips of paper so that there is one for each person at the party. On 1 slip, write "D", on another, write "M". These stand for "Detective" and "Murderer". The rest of the slips of paper are blank. Fold the slips of paper in half and mix them up in a hat. Each player picks a slip. The player with the "D" announces himself as the detective, but the murderer and the regular people remain anonymous. The other players go into a separate room and close the door. They wander around a bit with their eyes closed until the murderer, who is innocently hiding among the normal people, taps one person twice on the bottom of their neck.

That is that person's cue to scream loudly and drop to the floor. The detective will now enter the scene. She observes the dead person, and can ask the other players questions while they sit down. Only the true murderer can lie. By inquiring intelligently, her goal is to figure out who the murderer is by finding out who was close enough to commit the crime. She can only accuse two people of being the murderer. Was the detective stumped, or did she reveal the murderer?

This game can be repeated over and over, because it's so fun!  Another cool game to play at a detective party is Treasure Hunt. You can buy "Klutz's" book on treasure hunts, but a make-shift one is easier and thriftier. Have the guests work as a group to solve the caper of the "Stolen Prize". Start them off with a note posted on the front door reading:  "look for a clue in sunny and green,  colorful, teeming with life, and serene" This clue should lead them to the garden. Once they arrive at each spot, a small trinket will await them…candy, stickers, bookmarks, nail polish, pencils, etc. The final clue should lead them to the living room where the birthday child will find a table heaped with his birthday presents for him to open. The rest is history.   

You can also buy those murder mystery kits from the stores and set it up according to directions. Or just secretly invite another guest and when there comes a moment when the room is dark, slip out of sight with the secret guest and scream. Leave clues for the party guests like footprints, scribbled notes, etc. They should finally find you hiding in some inconspicuous spot with your "kidnapper". They'll have to had figured out who she is too!  Send the guests home with night vision goggles(inexpensive plastic sunglasses painted with glow-in-the-dark paint) and small pillowcases stuffed with candy and signed by all the kids there. These serve as cool favors.      This whole party should cost about $50.00 if you do it right.

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