Thursday, September 5, 2013

Murder Mystery Birthday Party: Developing the Theme

I began with searching the internet, and really it was mostly Pinterest, for murder mystery birthday ideas. There are quite a few ideas bouncing around out there, but I consistently ran into one of two problems: everything was too young (for my about to be fifteen year old) or everything was too old, mature, and racy (for my about to be fifteen year old.)

I backed off my searches, and focused on the "mystery" part. This helped some, but there was still a lot to be desired in most of the posts I found. But alas, this was about gathering ideas, and that is what I did. Once I finally had some ideas, I had work to do.

My son played an integral role in putting everything together and he helped with everything from clues to set up to playing a role in the party. The first thing was planning, so we started with a list:

1. A mystery to solve.
2. A way to reveal clues.
3. A victim
4. A perpetrator.

5. to serve food.
6. give fun and theme related gifts
7. make sure the girls had fun! (This meant games or activities...)
8. Make it Memorable

That's a lot to ask in one week.

We needed details and fast. We were still thinking murder mystery dinner party, so we wanted to give each girl an identity. Following the format of the Parker's Brothers game Clue we decided on colorful names, and why not combine those colors with famous detectives? Our hope was to match girls with favorite colors, but that was too difficult. It would have been fun to have the girls dress the part, learn about there character and in some way use those traits to solve the mystery, but again the time crunch did not allow for this.

My son and I came up with the following cast:

 And my right hand little-man:

I played the part of Cinnamon, from Mission Impossible...My son thought that was terribly nerdy, and his reasoning was that I was "way too pretty" to be Cinnamon. Whatever! But I gotta love the guy for trying.

Now just for the decorations, food, clues, invitations, and party games...No Problem!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Murder Mystery Birthday Party: How it Came About

When the kids were little I picked their birthday themes, but now it is up to them to give me an idea of what they want. This normally works well. I limit them to a theme or an idea and then I run with it.

This year, girl hemmed and hawed for the longest. She thought about talking animals--maybe a little Geronimo Stilton--or fantastical fairy land. But she didn't seem too sure. Then she hit on it, a week before her birthday: A Murder Mystery!

I thought. Easy. We have several of those dinner party events stashed away in the closet, hoping to be used one day. I will just switch it up with my amazing powers and it will work. Who needs three boys and three girls to put on a party?

Well, evidently all the murder mystery party boxes do. They also need a lot of extra-marital affairs, and lies to cook up a good murder. So, that wasn't for us.

Time for a new plan. Well, part of the reason she decided on this theme is that she and I have been watching Murder She Wrote and Agatha Christie together (and occasionally Columbo). I know what you're thinking--what a great way to bond! But really, it has been great to see her powers of observation improve. She now enjoys the puzzle and the game of working it out before the detective.

Now I had a theme I could really make happen.