A Halloween birthday party. That's what my EO had been pestering me for, since January!! And each time he'd start pleading, I'd resolutely put my foot down; after all who knew about Halloween here, really? The EO knows about it from the stories The Bro and I've told him; thanks to those infernal cartoons on TV and most of all, because of this blasted book, "It's Halloween You Fraidy Mouse" (from the Geronimo Stilton series which he just adores and devours any chance he gets!)
When I saw how earnest he was about the whole idea I suggested a Monster's Ball and he LOVED the idea. And that's what we'd been planning for the past few months...or rather, he'd been fantasising his head over and sharing those daydreams with me while I distractedly nodded along to whatever he said!
And soon enough, it was two weeks minus D-Day! Yikes! Invites had to be sent out, costumes had to be made, games planned, return gifts bought, food ordered...!!! Yikes, yikes and yikes some more!
So I started with the planning and buying. I had this vision of a Treasure Hunt for the boys with clues that involved lots of thinking and writing -- hey!...when there's a gang of around twenty 5 to 10 year old boys involved, you have to think up creative ways to restrict the mayhem!
Everything was going according to plan and D-Day arrived soon enough. Like always, I had too much crammed on my job list...making the pasta, sausage stir fry and corn salad; wrapping the last few return gifts (I always buy extra...just in case); and putting the clues for the Treasure Hunt together.
As I was making the envelopes for the clues, the finicky, fussy avtaar of me started yelling in my head. She just wasn't cent percent happy with the clues. She felt they lacked something...and she was right, because I had been fussing about it for days. A link was needed to connect the clues and puzzles together and suddenly, the link appeared as if by magic in my head...I started writing small, funny poems to put along with the game/puzzles. The words started tumbling out of my ears and I scrambled to write them all down before I lost any.
The rush of creative energy felt wonderful, but I knew it meant putting me back a bit time-wise. Oh, well, I could just manage by the skin of my teeth. Sigh...why me? Why does inspiration always strike at the last minute.
So in-between writing clues and stirring pots-and-pans, things were falling into place...when something scary happened. Three hours before the hordes were due to descend, my FIL, who had been feverish for a few days, suddenly turned serious. It was frightening and I won't go into the details, but he had to be rushed to the ICU. Turned out that his sugar levels had crashed to 19!! I was all set to cancel the party, but my MIL very sweetly and very firmly told me that we should have the party as scheduled. The good news was, that my FIL had been admitted at the right time and he was already on the road to stabilising.
Unnerved, I went back to party prepping, but I felt unnerved and off-balance by what we had all witnessed and experience, but also grateful that things were not as fatal as we feared them to be.
The party was madness, mayhem, chaos and noise!! It took me three days to recover, but one little eight-year-old's happy face, made it all worthwhile :-)
The invite that went out, read like this:
The invite that went out, read like this:
Ghostly creatures, come one come all --
There's going to be a Monster's Ball!
I've got news that's pretty great --
'Our EO' is turning eight!
There are gory games in store for you,
Followed by gooey treats that you can chew!
So come on over in your scariest best;
It's a time for partying -- there'll be no rest!
And here are the clues for the Treasure Hunt; the boys were divided into four teams -- Team Vampire (red), Team Wizard (black), Team Ghost (white -- duh!) and Team Mummy (yellow)
1st CLUE :
Your first clue is really a riddle --
Discuss the answer in a monster huddle.
The answer to this question will take you to
An envelope holding clue number two!
"We're black and white
and we're called keys --
We don't open doors,
But we set music free!"
(The most common answer I got was iPad!!)
2nd CLUE :
Piano is right! That's very good!
Your heads are obviously not blocks of wood.
Clue number two I now present to thee --
Solve it quickly for clue number three!
If it takes you too long to solve the rhyme --
You just might run out of time!
After 5 minutes, ask the birthday boy's mother,
For hints that'll help take you along further!
(I wrote an 8 line poem with the last words blank. I wrote two lines in green, then two in black, two in blue and the last two in purple so that they would understand that those lines should rhyme. I knew this could provide tricky, so I had a list of clues set up just in case...I handed those out after they spent some time wracking their brains)
Gorby Ghost is really quite ________ (another word for crazy)
He just doesn't know how to be _______ (the opposite of good)
He has long blue hair growing out of his ________ (at the bottom of your face)
And he smells like he lives in the _______-____ (where you throw rubbish)
He is a friend to all the neighbourhood ________ (dog's enemies)
And together they like to chase down fat ________ (cousins of mice)
Rotten cherries and worms are his favourite ________ (Trick or ??)
And eggs that smell like dirty, smelly _______ (what we use to walk with)
(After each team gave me the completed rhyme, I handed them the next envelope)
You've solved the rhyme! Oh yippee yaaay!
You've all made me so happy today!
It's now time for a little mystery;
Solve the secret code -- go on! Do it quickly!
If you can't figure it out, you might need some clues --
I'll help you a bit and chase away those blues.
(The code was a series of numbered blanks, which when solved would read -- "The next clue is with the birthday vampire's aunt." The code was a simple 1=a, 2=b, 3=c... I didn't tell them that; I wanted to see how many would figure it out on their own. Two teams did! We told the other two teams how to go about it.)
Oh me! Oh my! You've cracked the code!
I think I feel like kissing a toad!
But no, I won't, because that's really quite yucky!
I'll give you a clue instead --wow! Aren't you lucky?
It is time now, my friends, for story-time ---
But whoa! It's all mixed up! Can you make it fine?
(I wrote a short paragraph and cut them up at various points, which they had to set in order.)
- Once upon a time, in a far away land, you've never heard of
- there lived a gross, stinky and very fat
- Her name was Pukerella!
- All day long she did disgusting things!
- I can't even tell you because you'll faint and then wake up with your brains all scrambled!
(From the clues so far, you can see that I've been catering to the mirth and merriment of young boys, right? Well, once they had the story in order, I handed them the next envelope)
You've sorted the story! My aren't you clever?
Can you unjumble these words and make them sound better?
GNORAD _ _ _ _ _ _ Dragon
REPAMVI _ _ _ _ _ _ _ vAmpire
DRIZWA _ _ _ _ _ _ wizardD
The next clue is with the birthday boy's _ _ _ (DAD -- those three letters were circled and numbered. So once the team handed the MIM their solved word jumbles, he gave them their last clue along with a roll of toilet paper)
You're nearing the end!
Oh wow! I'm impressed!
It's now time for you
To get one of your own all dressed.
Let's go back to the land of ancient Egypt;
That they liked their mummies is no big secret!
Gather the things that you will need --
To make a mummy at top speed!!
(Considering that I abhor waste and am a big fan of recycling, my original idea was to use strips of newspaper, but unfortunately, I didn't have the time to make them. So it had to be small rolls of toilet paper...one per team. Turned out, there wasn't enough to wrap the little bubs up with, so I had to modify it to an arm and a leg).
TEAM MUMMY won the Treasure Hunt. The reason they did so well was the objective behind the whole exercise -- TEAMWORK! They were brilliant together. The Nephew happened to be in the Team Mummy, but I promise, there wasn't any nepotism involved ;-p They won on their own steam and merit.
The next activity was a Quiz in six rounds. I kept the teams the same and TEAM GHOST won this. The EO, who was in Team Vampire, was crushed because quizzing is really his thing -- he couldn't answer the Sport's Round and that's where they lost. He struggled to fight back tears (yes, he still has to learn to control his temper and his emotions) and said that he needed to have some serious sport-based chats with his dad!
After this, there was a quick game of Passing the Parcel, followed by the cake cutting and then FOOOOOOD! There were two other games I had planned on doing, but for one, the Nerf guns weren't working properly, and the other involved the mothers of which there were only three, so...
But all in all, it was a fun party...which left me partially deaf, totally exhausted and extremely grateful that these things come round only once a year! :-)