New Wanda Witch Clue Ideas and Party Fun

I’m sorry I didn’t get these up earlier in the week as promised.  My memory card reader has been missing all week so my pictures were trapped on my camera.  Hopefully it’s not too late for you Wanda’s to get a few ideas…

As I mentioned in my last post, when my husband and I hosted our Halloween party last year we made a few changes just to keep things new and exciting.  Here are a few of the ideas we tried…

Team Bonding

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One thing I love about this party is the opportunity it gives for you as a hostess to get new groups of people together.  There’s something about three hours of working as a team that really helps people get out of their shell and get to know each other on a whole different level.  Last year, we wanted to start that process a little earlier by encouraging my teams to get together before the night of the party.  When we sent out our Team Roster (a list of all the teams and the assigned captains) to all the party attendees we also issued a challenge: bonus points to any team that performed a harmless prank on another team in the week leading up to the party.  The rules were: 1 – it couldn’t cause any real damage, 2 – it had to involve at least 3 of the 6 team members, and 3 – they had to send us pictures of the prank for evidence.

I was amazed at how quickly the teams got to work.  Within 24 hours the pranks were on.  Houses were covered with balloons, cars were saran-wrapped, photos were photoshopped,  outdoor decorations were held for ransom…I could go on and on.  The effect was great.  By the time the party started, they’d already had a week of bonding and their team unity was much higher.

Buried Clue Packets

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In the past we’ve had a problem with clues being disturbed or damaged when they were attached to the ingredients.  We decided to save ourselves a little trouble by giving the teams all their sealed clues at the beginning of the party instead.  We didn’t want to just hand it to them, so we gave each team a picture clue that lead to the same destination (a big water tower in our town).  The clue told them to look at the base of the water tower for their clue packets.  At the water tower, my husband had buried the plastic-wrapped clue packets in shallow graves and marked them with glow sticks and fake headstones (pictured above).  The teams had to locate their headstone and then use their hands to dig up their packet.  It was kind of a fun and eerie way to kick things off.  *One word of caution – you should have an extra set of clues on hand, just in case.  One of our teams was unable to find their clue packet in the dark and it caused a big delay for them.

Double Destinations

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One of the tricky parts about hiding ingredients is that you have to find a place that is both easy to write a clue about yet hidden from outsiders.  We combated this problem last year by creating double destinations.  The clue from their packet lead the teams to a small film canister (we called these Hint Canisters).  Because the canister is small, it could be hidden in relative plain sight.  Inside the canister, there was a paper that lead them to a black box holding their actual brew ingredient (we called these Clue Boxes).  The boxes were larger so they were hidden within walking distance of the canister but in a much more discreet location.

For example, at one ingredient location the clue lead them to a large rock in a dry riverbed (it was painted with glow paint).  The film canister was hidden under the rock.  Inside the Hint Canister, the clue (again, written in invisible ink) told them to find their Clue Box at the back of a nearby cave.  Similarly, at another spot the Hint Canister was hidden in a knot of a tree near the parking lot while the Clue Box was hidden under a nearby bridge.

Blacklight Fun

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Last year we had kind of a glow-in-the-dark theme to our party.  At the beginning of the party we gave each team glow bracelets and lanyards in their team color as well as one hand-held blacklight flashlight (purchased online for about $6 each).

They used the blacklights to read clues (written in invisible ink) and to find ingredients throughout the night.  For example, one ingredient was hidden on at old, abandoned waterslide park.  The clue from their packet  and the corresponding Hint Canister lead them to the top of a set of three waterslides.   They used their blacklight to find a large X painted at the top of the the correct slide and then followed the slide down to find their clue box.  *A little tip – blacklight paint can be really expensive online (the tiny bottle pictured above was about $12).  You can find glow-in-the-dark spray paint in the craft area of WalMart and it works just as well.  Fluorescent paint also glows well under blacklight but it is visible in the daytime so you have to use it carefully.  Also, whitening laundry detergent glows really well under blacklight.  I kept one of the blacklights in my purse for the month leading up to the party so I could check how different things would glow in the stores without having to purchase anything first.

Alternative Clues

Because we didn’t have to worry about attaching the clues to ingredients or having everything color-coded, we had more freedom when it came to creating clues.  Here are a few things we tried…

A rubbing on parchment of a famous town monument

An origami cat with a clue written inside to lead them to a pet cemetery

A chopped up picture of a riverbed that they had to assemble and read

A word search with all the party guests last names – the remaining uncircled letters spelled out the clue

A Google Earth satellite picture of a park with a highlight over the red train where the hint canister was hidden

A play on words with a street sign – the clue said to find the intersection of these two roads “A Pretty View” Ave. and “A Thiefs Child” St. – the actual intersection is called “Beuna Vista” Ave. and “Robberson” St.

Tiny Trophies

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One last change we made was to give the winning couples a small ceramic witch hat trophy (sorry I don’t have a pic of these).  We created them by spray painting a inexpensive halloween candle holders gold.  We also had the winning team members sign our traditional GWC golden broomstick.  Since we plan to host this party every year, the broomstick should be pretty crowded with names soon.

That’s about it.  Overall, it was a great night!  I can’t wait to do it again.  Speaking of which, if hosted a party of your own last year and  tried new ideas last year that you’d like to share, please feel free to add them to the comments below.   I’m in the midst of planning the Haunted Halloween Challenge 2009 as we speak, so I’m sure I’ll have more ideas to post for next year.  Until then….just thought I’d pass it on.


8 Comments

  1. What clever ideas! You’ll have people lined up around the block wanting to come again next year.

  2. Maria, I just read your Halloween party posts and can’t help but think how INCREDIBLE that party must have been! And the insane amount of planning and preparation involved! WOW! I don’t know when you find time to organize all that, but I’m impressed you do because I’m sure it’s one of those things that people never stop talking about. Impressive! You are certainly creative!

  3. Hosting the Wanda Witch party was so much fun for us! We will definitely have to host another one…your ideas are SO great!

  4. So, are you still on a team…how do you participate in all of this?

  5. Love it, love it, love it!! I’m doing all my party planning now and the additional tips and tricks have been so helpful. It feels kind of like Thanksgiving where there’s so much to eat it’s a shame to get full. There are so many brilliant ideas, it’s a shame I only have one night! Thanks again for sharing.

  6. Thanks for the question, Jen. No, we weren’t on a team. We sort of floated between locations and prepped the house for the ending party. We were also on standby for emergency clues. Instead of printing emergency clues for each team, we just instructed them to call my cell anytime they needed help. We kept track of how many times they called and deducted those scores from their total.

    We also hosted a bonus challenge midway through the night. Teams that wanted to earn bonus points had to meet us at a certain location at a certain time and perform a challenge. It wasn’t the same kind of fun as the anonymous party, but I still loved it. After weeks of planning, it was great to be able to kick back and enjoy the night. Personally, I think it’s just as much fun to watch your friends search for clues and compete for challenges as it is do participate yourself.

  7. One question I’ve had about this type of party is how do all of the couples arrange for that many babysitters? We only have 2 or 3 babysitters in our ward, but quite a few young children. Most of us end up trading off babysitting with each other, but it makes it difficult for us to do couples activities without the kids. Have you run into this problem before?

    • Thanks for the question, Rainy. Generally, most people are so excited to come that they find a way to make it work. I’ve had friends who doubled or tripled up on babysitters so they could save cash. In a few cases the husbands couldn’t make it due to work conflicts so two wives would join up and come together as a couple. I wouldn’t worry about it, if I were you. Just plan a fabulous party and your guests will be so jazzed about coming that they’ll figure out their own babysitting solution. I hope that helps. Good luck!

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