Scooby-Doo Mystery -5yr- The Father Mummy
Beth in Shelbyville, IN, USA
My son just celebrated his 5th birthday with a Scooby Doo Mystery Party. He wanted it to replicate an actual "Mystery, Inc." case, with a villian in which to take a mask off of at the end - so here is what we came up with.
For "spooky" decorations I hung material, in which I cut several vertical sections in, in many doorways around the house. Black crepe paper, cut similarly, hung in the windows. I used a tracer to draw spooky eyes (which surrounded the front door), and the centerpiece of our decorations; large black outlines (shadows) of those "meddling kids" running across our family room wall. I just found the image on the internet and transferred the outlines onto black poster board. The effect was wonderful. Orange, Purple, Green, and Black Balloons finished the décor.
When the children arrived, we asked them to put their presents on a special table before going outside to play. While they were outside, we hid all of the presents in our son's bedroom closet (to set up our mystery). We called all of the kids back inside and announced it was time to open presents, and faked astonishment to find that the gifts were missing. I had prepared a "Suspects & Clues" poster board ahead of time with pictures of five Scooby Doo villians affixed to it, and had it, along with a note from the "villians" left in the place of the presents.
I explained to the children that Scooby and the gang had solved so many mysteries, and sent so many bad guys to jail, that the villians had gotten revenge by swiping the presents. The "note" explained that the only way to get the presents back was to play each of the villians' challenging games, and in turn get a clue as to which one of the villians took the presents, and solve the mystery. For each of the selected villians we played a themed game, the following are the ones in which we selected (you can customize your party with your favorite villians): Note: At the end of each game, we found a clue plus a note directing us to the next challenge. For example: PROCEED TO THE CAVEMAN'S CHALLENGE. . .
THE CAVEMAN GAME - I hid "Dino" eggs around the backyard (large easter eggs with a mixture of: 2 cups sand, 1 cup cornstarch, 1 1/2 cups water, heated on the stove until thickens to paste, smeared on outside of shell. Do this several days ahead because they are very fragile and may need a couple of layers of mixture to stick.) Each egg contained a dinosaur for the kids to keep, while I found a special egg (that I hid where only I would find it) which contained Clue #1: A Gold Coin. This could apply to several of our villians.
REDBEARD THE PIRATE GAME - I taped two plastic tablecloths(different colors) on the floor of our garage, with a space in between, forming a green "pirate ship" and a orange "pirate ship". I then split the children into two teams and told them which "pirate ship" to kneel on. Each team received about 50 waded up newspaper balls to fling at the opposing "ship". After about two minutes of trying to the "sink the enemy", we halted the action and counted up which team had gotten the most balls on the opposition's ship. Everyone received participation prizes. I found Clue #2 in the bottom of the prize container: A small baggie of sand - again matching several of our villians.
THE MUMMY GAME - Classic "Red Light, Green Light" game with a Mummy twist: If the "mummy" (my husband) saw the children running, they were turned to "stone" and had to return to the start line. If they reached where my husband was standing, there were small baggies of goodies awaiting them on the floor. Again, I found Clue #3 at the bottom of the prize container: A "Scooby Doo Villians Club Membership Card" that I fashioned out of cardboard, but the name was smudged and couldn't be read. This could pertain to any of our villians.
THE SPOOKY SPACE KOOK GAME - I took the Thomas the Tank Engine board (which resembles an overhead map) from my son's train table, and had the children sit in a circle around it. I had made a spooky spaceship for each child with their name written on it (I did this by drawing the spaceship and photocopying the drawing on grey paper, then cutting them out, for each child.) I then put a small ball of sticky putty on the back of each spaceship. With the birthday boy going first, I told the children to "crash" their spaceship on the map by smooshing the putty to the board. I had affixed a picture of the Spooky Space Kook on the opposite side of the board and we turned it over and determined who the winner was by seeing which spaceship was the closest to the Space Kook. We found Clue #4 also affixed to the underside of the board: A piece of paper with hieroglyphics written on it. Some children thought this could pertain to the caveman (cave drawings) or the mummy - so the mystery was still intact.
CAPTAIN CUTLER'S GAME: Classic Polaroid Picture Treasure Hunt. We found a picture of our mailbox along with the hieroglyphics under the Space Kook board challenging us to follow the picture trail to the Captain Cutler's treasure chest. In the mailbox was a picture of my son's playhouse, in the playhouse another picture of the backyard slide etc., until they get to a picture of "The Graveyard of Ships" sign that I put on our back hallway leading to our son's bedroom. Throughout the hall I had poster boards with sea serpents, old wrecked ships, and Captain Cutler (again done with the tracer) affixed to the walls - with "up light" canisters with blue lightbulbs shining on the walls. Blue fabric draped from the ceiling and a recording of the kitchen faucet running water played on my son's toy tape recorder. The effect was awesome!
They were directed by arrows back to my son's bedroom closet (complete with blue lighting as well) to find a treasure chest with treats for everyone (I had shredded green fabric and had spritzed it with water from a spray bottle for a gross out effect). After retreiving a treat from the chest, they also discovered the missing birthday presents in the closet (which they were instructed to take back to the family room) and the final clue (also in the chest) was : a shred of gauze which meant it had to be the mummy. I took the "Suspects & Clues" Board around to every game with us, so that the children were reminded of which villians were suspects, and to affix each found clue to the board with velcro.
As we were discussing the final clue, and that they all thought it was the mummy, my husband rose from the back of our couch dressed as the mummy. After only a moment my son hopped up on the couch to reveal that it was only his dad tricking everyone. We heard from some children that they thought the mummy was the best part of the party. After the mummy revealing, we opened presents and wound down by having cake, ice cream, and Shaggy Mix: Equal parts of Bugles, Corn Chex Cereal, Pretzel Sticks, and Goldfish in individual serving cups, while watching a Scooby Doo video. It seemed as though the children really enjoyed themselves.
For take home bags, I had purchased bags with handles on them and had affixed official "Mystery, Inc." Certificates on the front of each bag, complete with each child's name (you can find these by going to the Scooby Section of Cartoon Network's Website, clicking on the "Dig It" icon, filling out the application with each guest's name and printing the certificate). I laminated them and affixed them with velcro for easy removal. One final note: The handles came in handy in transporting the take home bags from game to game (in order for each guest to accumulate their goodies) - just put a large dowel rod through the handles for an easy carrying tool.
We had 15 guests, and this method worked really well. My son gave his party an enthusiastic "DOUBLE 10" on a scale from one to 10, and it was priceless to see him act surprised along with all of his guests. It really made him feel special to have some inside knowledge of an authentic Scooby Doo Mystery!