Monday, September 29, 2014

Mystery Party: Detection Kits

I'll come right out and answer the #1 question I suspect everyone has: where we got these little suitcases. They were from Target. They were on clearance, way back in April, and they were $2.48 each. I bought them right away, simply because they were so absolutely perfect for... anything. And at that price, it would've been a crime not to have bought them.

Now, way back then, Jenna had already been talking about her party, and her idea that it should involve solving mysteries with clues.  So even while I was loading these suitcases into my shopping cart, I was almost certain we'd use them for detection kits. And yes, they are as sturdy and as beautifully made as they look. 

Let me show you what we filled them with.

Detection aids,

specifically, a paper measuring tape for measuring footprints (from Ikea); a little notebook (dollar store bulk pack); a book of secret codes that we printed and folded; a ball-point pen (dollar store bulk pack;, a UV pen and a real magnifying glass (dollar store or Walmart).

Here is that book of secret codes. Emily and I compiled some of the more well-known codes - Pig Pen, Substitution, Morse, Cipher Wheel - onto letter-size sheets, and folded them into 8-page books. We love this method of making booklets! You'll see it again at Emily's Science Party later. 

The UV pens are from here

The kids loved them because they were like magic. You write (invisibly) with the nibs, and then reveal the writing with the light in the cap. It works even after the ink's been dried on the paper for days. 

I put the girls to work, filling the suitcases, assembly-line style.

Everything had to be QC-ed first, of course.

We also made stickers to decorate the kits on the day itself. We printed them out on colored printer paper

and used our sticker maker to make them adhesive.

On the day itself, we set out the kits and baskets of markers and stickers 

so the kids could personalize their own.


  1. Love everything here! Those uv pens are super cool. Very creative party, super momma :)

  2. What great ideas! And those little cases were a perfect find!

  3. You should make this "mystery party" as a birthday kit. I bet you would sell a lot of these. It's unique and very entertaining.

  4. How much would you suppose you spend on these parties? I have yet to do any birthday party besides family coming over so I have little frame of reference.

    1. Rachel: it varies from party to party. The majority of the cost is in the food to feed the kids - store-bought pizza, ice cream, fruit, etc, not the activities or crafts.

  5. Those suitcases are awesome! What a fun party.


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