Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, September 19, 2015


My daughter was doing make-up for a TV talk show pilot featuring her father-in-law when she was asked to make a man look like "someone's evil conscience." I think it turned out pretty well. Not someone I'd care to meet in a dark alley. 

"Evil Conscience"


Choosing teams for the Treasure Hunt

The birthday girl, taking an eyes-closed swing at the piƱata

This is one of those off-beat Mosaic Moments weeks, with two family parties and other obligations that have nothing to do with writing eating up my time.  So I'm chronicling the steps I had to take to create a Treasure Hunt for Riley's 11th birthday party. (Something I've been doing since the girls were old enough to read, but somehow this year it seemed more work. Maybe because the new house is bigger, more clues, etc., or maybe because I'm busier - I really don't know - but here's how it went this week.

Grace Note: Although my experience has been with children's birthday parties, including my own way back when, this process can be adapted to adults as well.


1. Scout out the territory. In my case, this meant spending time with a legal pad and pen at my daughter's new home, making copious notes on possible places to hide clues.

2.  Write the clues. This meant sitting down with my notes and writing out clues that could be understood by children, ages 8-13. (I gave up rhyming couplets long ago, settling for sentences like, "Big fish, little fish but not a story by Dr. Seuss" (the family's side-by-side fish tanks) or "I'm the family workhorse, 200,000 miles and still going strong" (my daughter's Honda Pilot). Or a question about which pet cage has eight legs inside (the two guinea pigs).

3.  Go out and buy items for 21 prize bags - rub-on-tattoos, candy, etc., plus something extra for the 7-member winning team.

4.  Buy bags (in a pack of 20)to put everything in. (If everyone shows up, someone is going to get a Baggie instead of a pretty plastic party bag.)

5.  Go over 40-some possible clues and pick 12 or 13 for each of 3 teams. This is a TOUGH job, as I try to gauge the clues by the general ages of each team, plus making sure that each clue is far from the next one, keeping the kids running from one side of the house to the other, from the front yard to the back. 

6.  Using scissors, separate each clue from the next, which allows me to make three stacks in exact order of 1-13, checking to make sure the clues are properly scattered and age effective. (I've tried Cut/Copy & Paste in the past and found that old-fashioned hands-on works best for me.)

7.  Re-type clues for each team, numbering them from 1-13. (If you use Cut & Paste, you can avoid this step, but I found it way too confusing.)

8.  Print clues for each team on different colored paper. (This allows me to place more than one clue in the same place, though this year there's only one place with clues for two different teams.)

9.  Write out the Rules for the game, which are rather lengthy. I've "winged it" in the past but decided to write them down this year so I wouldn't have to keep remembering what I needed to say.

     Rules include the leader reading the clue out loud, so it isn't just a case of one person seeing the clue and everyone else playing "follow the leader."  Making sure they watch their step on the many ups and downs in the new house so no one gets hurt. And making sure they do all the clues in order, no cheating by grabbing a clue just because it's their team's color! And telling them they can come to me for an additional hint if they get stuck.

9.  Cut the clues apart, arranging them in order. Clip securely.

10.  Fill all the goodie bags.

11.  Make sure you have enough masking tape to attach the clues where you want them.

12.  Spend considerable time fastening each clue in place - a sometimes tricky job as #1 is kept out to give as a "Starter." Clue #2 is for Place # 3, etc., etc., for THREE different teams. [This turned out to be close to one hour!]

13.  Place 21 goodie bags in 3 different final destinations.

14.  Read the Rules to kids, mothers, onlookers, kibbitzers, etc.

15.  Do a countdown from 10, then stand back and quiver while the thundering herd charges off. (I spend hours and hours preparing for a hunt that takes not much more than five minutes flat. Sigh.)

16.  Declare the winner (the first to find their prize bags). 

17.  Award the "extra" prize to the winning team.

18.  Collapse, a week's work finally accomplished.

~ * ~

Thanks for stopping by,


For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.
For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.


No comments:

Post a Comment