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Celebrating the Big 12 with A Nancy Drew Party

October 23, 2008

Having my oldest child celebrate her 12th birthday was very strange. She’s almost a teenager and it’s rather surreal to me, because in many ways it seems impossibly quick, but in other ways it seems like we’ve been through a lot to get to this place.

I’ve had several questions about what we did for a Nancy Drew/detective party, so I will share. I’m not a party planning whiz by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it scares me to orchestrate a party and wonder if enough activities have been planned and if they will go over well and be entertaining or be a flop. This might be a good time to say that we never invite a huge group, that’s too impersonal to me. She invited four of her friends and three came for the first part of the party and one came later.

First off Maddy and several of her friends are into Nancy Drew. Not the new movie one, the old, original Nancy Drew from the series. We have an office supply store that sells some Nancy Drew products with graphics from the front of the original books and Maddy was so thrilled to find that several months back. But I digress.

We started out by sending invitations that we cut into puzzle pieces so the recipient would have to put it together to find out what it was all about. The puzzle pieces were actually mailed in the fold-up Nancy Drew stationary mentioned above.

I planned the following activities for the party: scavenger hunt, who am I game, murder mystery, find the time bomb and we rented the Original Nancy Drew Movie Mystery Collection (four of the original movies from the 30’s).

The scavenger hunt was actually the biggest source of worry for me because I couldn’t figure out the venue I wanted to use. I didn’t want to let the girls loose in the neighborhood with a list like we used to do when I was younger, because we don’t live in that age anymore or the type of neighborhood where we are close to our neighbors. We don’t even know most of them. I thought about a store or our historic downtown, but that makes speed and keeping an eye on the girls a concern. So, I settled on a park, but then I couldn’t figure out what would be on the list. So, the morning of the party, I swung by the chosen park and made a list of 30 things that I saw that could easily be identified and found by the girls.

When it came time to do the actual hunt, we went to the park and then I had them draw teams. Team A and Team B. Each team got their list. The list had the same items on it, but in different order. This was a type of digital photo scavenger hunt. The rule was that they could collect an item and put it in their envelope if possible, say an acorn or a lichen, and if they couldn’t collect it, say a slide, then they should take a picture of it with the camera that each team had. Or they could choose to take photos of everything, which is pretty much what both teams chose to do. Then they had to have me look through the photos and check them off for accuracy. The whole activity took about 50 minutes or so and it was well received by all the girls. It was very close. About one minute separated the teams finish times and they were both stuck on the same two items. There were many compliments and all girls got goody bags upon finishing that had some items that all detectives need: a flashlight, notebook and pencil. We wanted to add a magnifying glass and compass, but we couldn’t find reasonably priced ones locally.

The girls busily running and checking things off!

I found these mushrooms while I was following the two teams around the park. I wanted to take them home and cook them, but I didn’t know if they were edible.

Before and after the hunt the girls played board games. After the hunt they watched one of the Nancy Drew episodes. Then I started cutting toppings and shredding cheese for the individual pizzas we were making. (Thank goodness I remembered to start the dough before we left for the hunt!)

We played murder mystery, which is a game that I saw online and it requires that you have slips of paper for each of the guests. On one piece of paper you draw a gun (this denotes the killer) and on one you draw a magnifying glass (this denotes the detective). The rest are blank. You draw slips and then the turn the lights off. The murderer then chooses a victim and goes to them and whispers “you’re dead” or something like that, the victim screams, the lights are turned back on and then the detective has to question everyone, except the victim. Everyone must tell the truth except the murderer. This was a hit. We got to hear a variety of scream pitches and volumes and hilarious laughter.

The who am I game went over okay. You play it by taping the name of a well-known person, living, dead or fictional on the each person’s back and each person must ask yes or no questions to determine who they were. This was somewhat hard because not everyone knew who the people were!

The time bomb one was also fun and it was the last game we did because it was getting on towards 10:00. This required someone hiding a ticking clock (in this case the only one we could find was Lawrence’s chess clock from tournaments!) and then everybody had to find it. A simple premise, but surprisingly fun.

In between things we also had cake and ice cream. It was carrot if you want to know.

Then the girls wound down and played more quiet games up in Maddy’s room and eventually drifted off to sleep.

Then we had a heaping pile of pancakes and maple syrup for breakfast.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    October 24, 2008 2:23 pm

    That sounds like so much fun! I would have loved that party. Congratulations on pulling it off and Happy Birthday to Maddy.

  2. Lisa permalink
    October 24, 2008 7:39 pm

    Sarah-It did turn out really well, thank goodness!

  3. Tonia permalink
    October 24, 2008 8:20 pm

    I was soooo into Nancy Drew when I was growing up. I have the complete hardback yellow spine cover and the Nancy Drew cookbook. Nancy rocks! The birthday party sounds awesome. –tonia

  4. Rane permalink
    October 25, 2008 3:20 am

    You are such a awsome mom! It
    sounds like they had loads of
    fun!!! I bet it will be hard
    to beat next year! LOL!

  5. Lisa permalink
    October 25, 2008 5:08 pm

    Tonia-I never heard of a Nancy Drew cookbook. I will have to look into it, I bet Maddy would love that!

    Thanks Rane!

  6. Tonia permalink
    October 26, 2008 3:51 pm

    If I can find it I will send it your way. I seriously haven’t opened it for years. I remember thinking, even then, that some of the recipes were a bit peculiar. I’ll have a look around, I saw it in the Nancy Drew book box earlier this summer. I was considering selling the set, but just couldn’t do it.
    Anyway I will let you know. Cheers! -tonia

  7. Lisa permalink
    October 28, 2008 4:13 pm

    Tonia-That is so incredibly generous of you to offer to do that! Thanks!!!

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