I had not assigned characters to people, so I was pleasantly surprised that with only 20 people we actually had at least one of every suspect! I was Mrs. Peacock, Galt was Professor Plum, Melanie was Mrs. White, Nat was Mr. Green, and Jack was Colonel Mustard. We only had one double, which was Miss Scarlet (Lyle) & Mr. Scarlet (Ben), so that voting was the only one that mattered for that category, and ended up as a "dead" tie anyway with 7 votes to each Scarlet. Most Original Costume was Robin as the Rope, only beating Chalk Mark Cyd by the final ballot. Other creative costumes were Charles as the Lead Pipe, Amy as a Red Herring, and Jeff J. as the Confidential Envelope where you put the whodunit cards for the Clue game. The nicely-vague Special Award went to Johnathon as Wadsworth the Butler complete with tux & tails, and Best Princess was Galen even though I kept trying to call her Miss Mustard in her yellow Belle dress. The prizes were bragging rights! I had never found silly little prizes that seemed appropriate and didn't get any medals or certificates printed out. The favorite Suspect Shaken & Stirred cocktail was Black & Blue by Jeff J., but several recipes, including the Red Herring by Amy, were later recreated by other guests who wanted to taste them. I am so pleased everyone was being so creative with the drinks! We should have tried to take a group photo like for a game box cover but I didn't even think of it, and too much was going on then people were removing costume pieces or already leaving anyway. At least we have everyone's suspect photos in the gallery album!
Final Party Prep
I hadn't planned on outrageous decorations for this party, but it did require all rooms being presentable & nice so I've been buying & building new furniture & redecorating my kitchen (separate posts to come), doing yardwork & serious spring cleaning, including my office as the Library, which was such a mess that was taking a lot of time. Because the office was still in such an awful state that I wasn't sure it could actually be the Library, that means I hadn't actually drawn the game board until Wednesday night! I had stitched fabric the week before to my bodice & my hat was done, but I hadn't ever started on my skirts until the night before the party. Most last-minute major party prep ever I think, since usually things like decorations, voting ballots, menu signs are done ahead of time, then it's just food that's being done in the final crunch. I was still designing and printing the voting ballots & menu signs Saturday morning after finally finishing my costume at 4am. I didn't even think of the mix your own cocktail idea for Suspects Shaken & Stirred until driving home Thursday night!
Friday I took off work as vacation, so the cookies were decorated & pastry brie was assembled Thursday & Friday, but it turned so windy that I decided against sweeping the patios until right before the party at 2pm after I did my makeup, otherwise I'd just do it again right before the party anyway. The monthly housecleaners came at 10am earlier than I thought so I was frantically putting kitchen stuff away as they were cleaning other rooms. They nicely vacuumed my screened patio for me, so that helped a lot! I did get my lawns mowed and the final grocery shopping done Friday too. Friday evening I started the rest of my costume which took several hours, then I hand-colored the game board & glued it to matting I had cut to size and scored to fold. I hadn't traced the room floor signs onto clear contact paper until Friday afternoon, and just the outlines took almost 2 hours, so I never had time to fill them in, so they're a bit hard to see on the floors. Those were finally stuck on the floor about 1pm Saturday along with the vinyl floor tiles marking the game board spaces. I never did put the Kitchen sign on the floor since it was getting so much heavy food prep foot traffic. My carpet was not being as cooperative with the contact paper as I'd like, so for a couple hours before the party I had boxes of crackers holding down the edges of the Billiard Room and piano books holding down the Ballroom which did help. A few signs came unstuck during the party, and my spike heels poked through the vinyl tiles that were on the carpet - oops! Glad they were only 3 tiles for $1 at Dollar Tree! By 3pm I was ready to start the fresh food prep...a little later than I'd like especially with no helpers, but not too bad considering everything else. At least I did already have 40s music playing on the stereo including the outside speakers, so we had nice vintage background music for our party soundtrack.
Melanie arrived a little early to get in costume since she was borrowing one of my black wigs to be Madeline Kahn as Mrs. White, then Jeff J. was the first guest to arrive slightly before 4pm, so he was enlisted as my main fresh food helper. Great job Jeff! I had done my makeup a couple hours earlier, so I just needed to take out my curlers & put on my outfit, which I did right at 4pm and only took 5 minutes since I made it between timer beeps checking the pastry brie in the oven. ;) Galt & Lyle as Professor Plum & Miss Scarlet were next to arrive, so with their help putting the extra fruit & veggies away, all the food was set by the next guests to arrive, probably no later than 5 but I wasn't checking time. The last thing was the chicken since it was baked & cooled before it could go out. My test batch of the chicken skewers had gotten a little overcooked, so I was extra careful in underbaking them Friday night. By heating them for the party they were nice & moist, but I let them cool before putting them on the plastic aqua serving tray, arranged in a peacock tail fan of course. I had Party Swirls thawed and cheese ready to slice, but since I was only expecting about 20 people maximum it looked like we had plenty of food already with just the themed food so since more people were arriving I stopped kitchen work and started socializing. I created a menu board on parchment in a silver frame so I could be witty with the descriptions (full menu sign here). I had decided a couple phrases on the recipes I had to develop from scratch, but some weren't done until the morning of the party when I designed & printed the menu sign! I even had fresh flowers from my yard around the house, and 3 dishes of Red Herrings were in various locations too. ;) Since there were other people still on their way who were coming in costume, the majority decided to watch the Clue movie around 6:30. My outside speaker setup allowed people to get drinks & still keep up with the movie, and others who weren't watching a different place to chat while still hearing what was going on in the movie. Matt made an appearance even after his 100 mile bike ride - impressive! Jeff O. & Audene came later as Innocent Bystanders but they left before the voting so I forgot to get a photo of them...darn! There were some veggies left, enough brie for me to taste a couple bites, some crackers, 3 of the 52 chicken skewers and a few of the 4 dozen cookies, but otherwise the food was pretty much gone so that worked out well.
Several people decided to leave around 9ish after I announced the winners, but those who remained played a game of Clue using my custom game board. The cards were checked that all were still there, then Ben's friend Brian shuffled them, others selected the cards and Jeff put them into his oversize confidential envelope costume.They decided not to actually walk the house while playing (waah!), but when it was Suggested that Mrs Peacock did it in the Lounge with the Revolver and we were in the Lounge already and a revolver prop was sitting right there, I made them take a photo of me posing, shooting at the Lounge sign. hehe... When more were being Suggested in the Lounge, we placed the playing pieces in the correct seats on the board, so I took a photo of course. heehee. Finally there was a big reveal of clues that led to a false Accusation, so Jen was out of the game. Then Brian made the winning Accusation...Who would ever expect that your hostess was the murderer?!? Seriously, we did not plan this, it was as random as any other game of Clue, but Mrs Peacock did it in the Hall with the Wrench!
Mrs. Peacock did it in the Hall with the Wrench! Dead Mr. Boddy is on the floor, with his Chalk Mark shadow projected on the wall behind...
Only a Suggestion: Mrs. Peacock in the Lounge with the Revolver - who can disprove?
The rest of the guests left after the game was over after 10pm, except for Jeff J. & Amy who stayed after everyone else for a nice catchup chat until they left a little after 11pm. I was still awake enough for cleanup, but not for wee hours party blogging! A few catchup photos today, then I had a leisurely afternoon touching up photos, uploading, and writing this post until I left for dinner before Ragtime, which was excellent. Juanita (blckbtch) was fabulous along with the rest of the cast, and I'd never seen it before, so now I know the story. Once my shiny new 1TB LaCie external hard drive shows up, which is already on its way, maybe I can finally redeem some of the iTunes gift cards I got for Christmas on the soundtrack to Ragtime. ;)
I hope everyone had a nice weekend!