39 Clues Party -13yr- Clues to Happiness
Donna in Greer, SC, USA
My daughter is a big fan of the 39 Clues book series by Scholastic that has just concluded. I've read the series along with her too. We were looking for ideas for her 13th birthday party, a sleepover. She loves scavenger hunts but we don't live in a good location for those, like a subdivision. I started to look at some of the treasure hunt party ideas on this site and I was inspired to create a clue hunt like those in the book series and National Treasure. I included riddles, secret codes, scrambled words and a few references to the books. None of her friends had read all of the books so I did not rely heavily on knowing them to solve the mystery.
The invitation was in cryptogram form. It invited the guests to participate in an adventure. When the 10 guests arrived, they began by decorating black t-shirts with fluorescent and glow-in-the-dark paint. They really enjoyed this activity and took longer than I anticipated, delaying our clue hunt so that it lasted later after dark than planned. Each clue was planned to lead to the location of the next clue. Along with the clues, the girls discovered pieces of a puzzle that contained the secret message.
Once they were all ready to begin, I presented my daughter with a backpack of supplies" and a typed message from the main book characters. The backpack contained a notebook and pencil for taking notes paper and crayons for rubbings flashlights and a book of quotes by the head of the family of the book characters. The quotes were hints for each clue location. It challenged them to a mission to search for clues to the most important secret in all of the world.
It gave a clue to the location for the next clue in the form of a riddle "I begin with an e. I end with an e. I usually contain only one letter (an envelope, found in the mailbox). After a little debate the girls were charging off to the mailbox for the next clue.
Clue 2: another message from the book characters saying that they were on their way to Vienna and mentioning Salzburg and harmony. A secret coded message with missing letters A,B,C,D,E,F,G was included on parchment paper. The girls determined that the message was hinting about music and returned to the house to find a piece of sheet music on the music stand. The music was titled Funeral Music by Mozart(the Vienna clue) and the notes corresponded to the missing letters. When filled in,
Clue 3 read: His great name never fulfilled, Named after a scientist who quilled, What goes up must come down to earth, Here sleeps a babe very sick, who came and went so quick, a flower plucked just two months after birth. The girls concluded that this clue led to the name Newton (for Sir Issac Newton) and a grave. This led us to the family cemetary just across the road. Here the girls located a tombstone of a two month old child with the name Newton.
Clue 4: The inscription read A little bud of love to bloom with God above." With a rose placed on the grave and the flower reference in the clue. The girls determined to look for the next clue back at home where roses were. The quote book also quoted William ShakespeareA rose by any other name would smell as sweet. There were two possibilities but they found a clue by the rose bushes. A scroll of parchment was rolled and tied with a ribbon that had groups of letters written on it.
Clue 5: The parchment read "My life can be measured in hours. I serve by being devoured. Thin I'm quick. Fat I'm slow. The wind is my foe." (a candle). The candle was to be used to read the ribbon as a scytale strip (like a clue in the book series). The original clue is written with the strip wrapped around an object such as a stick. You wrap the ribbon around the original stick or object and the letters realign to reveal the clue.
Clue 6: What can run but never walks Has a bed but never sleeps Has a mouth but never talks has a head but never weeps. (A river). This led the girls to the river bank by our home where they found an unusual pile of smooth rocks. When the checked the rocks some had letters written on the other side. Clue 7: The unscrambled letters read "Angel." They looked for the angel statue in our garden. Under the statue they found another clue.
Clue 8: A picture like a postcard of a location in our yard. It stated "Wish you were here and said that if you walk North to South and he walked East to West they would meet at the crossroads." The girls searched in the center of the location and found a decorative rock (a key keeper) with a message and a key inside.
Clue 9: The message with the key stated "The next step you take will be revealed by the moon" in a Greek letter coded message.
Clue 10: Outside the girls searched with flashlights for letters written with glow-in-th-dark paint and stuck up around the yard. The ten letters unscrambled revealed Open Sesame. The girls looked for the door that could be opened by the key. It was the door to our workspace under our house. They opened the door to find cobwebs covering the entrance and once inside a skeleton holding a wooden box. The box contained the last piece of their puzzle and a treasure of beads to create friendship bracelets.
The completed puzzle revealed the secret to worldwide happiness; Gems are precious but friendship is priceless. The girls all thought the clues were fun and challenging. They had a great time with the crafts. We rounded out the party with a cookout and watching a recently released adventure movie on DVD along with other slumber party fun. "