I took a lot of my inspiration for Heidi’s party from bloggers, but they were all planning for much younger girls. I called my mom over in desperation to get some clues that would be super challenging for the girls. We ended up with 11 clues and most of them required something in their sleuth kits to solve it.
The ground rules were: My office, master closets, and sibling bedrooms were off limits. (Those areas were really messy, lol.) All girls must stick together and no one can read the next clue until everyone is back to the living room and sitting down. (I was trying to slow them down .)
First I handed Heidi and envelope that I “found” in the attic. (She knew I had been cleaning up there recently to make it a guest room for some overnight company.) It contained a “very old” letter that read:
Hello, Dear One,
If you are reading this, I have passed away. I have hidden this letter in my home, so from the grave, I can share a secret with you if you are clever.
You see, I have always loved a good mystery and fancy myself as something of a sleuth! In my will, I omitted a chest of heirloom jewelry presented to me many years ago by Lady Baillie of Leeds Castle. My family knows nothing of this treasure and I prefer it to go to someone with more sense. So I have hidden it in my home for the future owner, if you can find it!
You may need a few friends to help you in your search and there may be something special waiting for them as well if they are able to help you solve this mystery!
Good luck to you! Here is your first clue:
I’ll give you clues in the form of rhyme
When this thing stops, you’re out of time.
I borrowed a lot of the text from this letter from this blogger: http://thedecorologist.com/party-proposal-mystery-birthday-party. The original blogger had filmed this script herself dressed up as the old lady. I loved the idea and had planned to do this too and even found an old gray wig to wear. But at the end, the filming and dressing up and finding an old lady voice with an accent just about put me over the top with stress. So my mother antiqued the paper instead.
The next clue was hidden behind a clock in my bedroom and read:
(In large type) The clue you are seeking is really quite small. It’s so tiny you almost can’t see it at all. (Tiny Print 4 font hidden in between the lines of the big text) The game has begun. See them all run. It glides on the air. You will find it there.
The girls had magnifying glasses to read the tiny print with though many of them had excellent eyes and could read it without. It lead to our air hockey table in the basement.
The next clue was blank (invisible ink.) 3 of the guests had pens in their kits that would decode the clue. But it was a hoot watching them try to figure it out. First they scribbled all over it with invisible ink, and then found the decoder pen but rubbed it all over the wrong side of the paper, bwa ha ha.
When they finally figured it out the clue read:
In my long and fruitful life there is much that I have learned. You should keep your eyes open so you won’t get burned!
That took them to the fireplace where I had taped the next clue up inside the chimney. I promised the girls NOTHING would be in plain sight .
This clue was coded in basic substitution code. A =1 etc. They used their steno pads and pens to solve the code. When they deciphered it, it read:
The lovely lady has something to hide. Make sure you peek on the other side.
One of the girls immediately ran to my newest most beautiful mirror. Claimed that when she looked inside there was a lovely lady looking back at her and found the clue behind. She was too clever!
That clue was written in mirror image. I thought they would use their compact mirrors in their bags or even a wall mirror to read it, but instead they held it up to the light and read through the back. It said:
The next clue is not hard, don’t shed a tear. You’ll find it inside Hannah’s Brave Year.
Heidi immediately knew that was a book on her shelf in her room and wondered how in the world I got a clue in there with her home the whole time and never knew it . That clue was written in red letter code. The real clue was made of green and blue letters and inside each of those words I typed red words.
The red words said: You are the best friends a girl could have. True beauty inside and out lasts forever.
When they put their red decoder film over it, the red words disappeared and they saw:
On the buffet there’s a fortunate snack. Don’t worry about being rude, eat it now to stay on track.
My mother had baked fortune cookies and placed one word inside each one for the next clue. The girls had to arrange the words in order to find the next clue. It read:
Tickling the ivories makes a lovely song, finding this clue takes a mind that’s strong.
The next clue was hidden inside our old baby grand piano. It was a word search. The girls had to circle the words and then arrange them in the blanks to find the next clue. I used an online word search program to make it and then designed it hangman style so they could see the blanks with the unimportant words like an and the already filled in. That clue read:
Look in the spot where they used to mix batter, hidden away under the counter.
We have an old mixer built into our counter that pops up at the touch of a button. It reminds me of something the Jetson’s might have, lol. The next clue was under that. And written in Pig Latin! Makes me giggle still to think how much fun we had writing this stuff.
Iddenhay niay aya lacepay atsthay eallyray itequay oldcay, oullyay indfay ouryay extnay luecay. roay osay veiay eenbay oldtay.
Translated: Hidden in a place that’s really quite cold, you’ll find your next clue. Or so I’ve been told.
This led to one of the freezers that was left in the house by the previous owner.
This clue was a fill in the blank. All the rhyming words were left out. I gave them a word bank with lots of extra words to choose from in it. But if they had noticed the extra words were red, so by using their red decoder lens only the useful words would have been visible. Think girls, think!
The clue said: All the squirrels are not in the trees, crack the nuts, it is a tease.
Mom had hollowed out walnuts, stuck single words inside and then glued them back together so you couldn’t tell they had been tampered with. (My mom is amazing, if you hadn’t figured that out yet. I need her forever, because I don’t plan on ever getting that amazing.) The girls had to crack the nuts and arrange the words to find the final clue:
Around the house you must go, looking HIGH and looking low. Behind a wall where you think not, marked with a bright red dot.
That led them to the attic where I put a red sticker on one of the removable pegboard walls. Behind that was a beautiful inlaid wooden box that my great-grandfather built. It was filled with jewelry that had belonged to my grandmother and her mother. The girls were allowed to look it all over but there was also a paper that read:
This Mystery is now history. So take this treasure to someone quite wise to claim your real prize!
And we traded them for bags of candy.
If you want a copy of the clues and what we did you can download it here: Heidi’s birthday party script. You need Microsoft Word or something similar to open it.