A detective party gives crime fiction enthusiasts a chance to play out some of their detective novel fantasies. You can draw inspiration from a number of sources, or tailor your party to your tastes, and those of your guests. When decorating for your detective party, scatter little reminders of the party's theme throughout the whole house -- much as a burglar leaves clues that ultimately tell "whodunnit."
Make a cardboard footprint pattern, so that all footprints are the same size. Using the pattern, draw footprints in black chalk leading up to the front door. Start drawing from the sidewalk and follow the path up to the door.
Hang crime scene tape on the door. Tape it to each side of the door and then break the tape in the middle, to make it look as if someone broke past the tape. Add strands of the tape across unused doors in the house. For other, used rooms, break the tape as you did the front door.
Open a briefcase and place it on a table near the front door. Fill it with file folders stamped with the words "top secret" in red. Tape gift certificates for a coffee or gift shop inside the folders as party favors; give them to your guests on the way out.
Outfit an old dress dummy in Sherlock Holmes clothes. Hang an old trench coat on the dummy and place the trademark Holmes hat on its head. Stick a pipe in its mouth if possible. If not, tuck it away in a breast pocket, so that the bowl of the pipe sticks out.
Hang posters of detective movies along the walls leading into the living room and kitchen. Some possible choices are "The Maltese Falcon," "Blue Velvet," or "The Usual Suspects."
Place stacks of paperback detective novels on each upstairs stair step. Position the spines so that they face outward. Choose novels featuring characters such as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, or Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone. Buy the novels for $.10 to $.25 at the next sale at your local library.
Create a centerpiece for your dining table by decorating a safe. The easiest kinds to use for this are the safe-shaped banks that come with a combination on the front. Spread fake money on the table; crinkle some of the pieces up. Open the door of the safe and set it on top of the strewn-out money. Put another bound stack of counterfeit money inside, as well as strands of faux pearls and gemstones. Put a pair of leather gloves at the mouth of the safe, along with a magnifying glass.
Make question marks from construction paper and tape them onto the bathroom mirrors, over the sides of the tub and on the front of the shower door, if you have an enclosed shower. Place floating candles in the water and light them.
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