TMF: A Sherlock Themed Birthday Surprise

TMF = That Magic Feeling  (I discussed this in the post called: That Magic Feeling )

sherlockbday

This is a post definitely about creating that magic feeling. So many people think fun and silly things are just for kids. But if you are big kid like myself or my husband and enjoy geeky things, well you can have fun like us!

I want to tell you about what I did for my husband (then boyfriend) a few years ago for his birthday. So to be clear this is not a birthday party or gathering. This was a mystery/clue/scavenger hunt with a particular theme of Sherlock Holmes that led him to his birthday presents which were hidden all over the house. Maybe you will want to do something similar for someone who likes mysteries or scavenger hunts. (It probably would work for a lot of different things… I hope one day to do a Batman one for him too, sssh don’t tell him. Although he reads this, so HUBBY if you are reading this forget that part! hehe)

So why Sherlock Holmes? Sherlock happens to be one of my husband’s favorite characters, and he has read and loved so many of Sherlock’s incarnations that I knew I just had to have a special themed birthday surprise for him.

I had specifically tailored this to my husband by utilizing his favorite stories from the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I read/re-read these particular stories to reference for clues… (However this can be adapted for any stories, just give different clues/hiding spots, etc.)

My hubby’s favorites to date are:

  • The Redheaded league
  • Scandal in Bohemia
  • Sign of the Four

Now unfortunately I cannot locate the full size photos, which I know I took of all my clues because I put a lot of work into this, however I will include the montage photos and  explain what it is you are looking at as best I can!

The adventure began at the front door (the day before his birthday since he would be extra surprised and would be arriving home from work late enough that day that would give me time to set everything up).  On the front door I put a sign that said “221 B  Baker Street”.  Underneath the sign, attached to the front door I had a letter written from “Irene Adler” addressed to my husband.  I printed it in a fancy script like font and used light tan paper. I made an envelope that looked like an old timey envelope and sealed it with a wax seal.

 

The letter read as follows:

Dear Mr. ____,

Please excuse the abrupt and assuming nature of this missive… As you are an esteemed associate of Mr. Holmes, I am writing you that he had gone missing. The worst has been ascribed by all who know him, and I do fear that he is in great danger. The state of his quarters at 221 Baker Street has been left untouched. Though Dr. Watson, having studied under and lived with him for some measure of time has done his absolute best to interpret the scene; the only clue he has been able to discern is that it seems Mr. Holmes was in the midst of a chess game with some unknown associate and that one of the chess pieces has been removed from the set and cannot be located.  I trust that you will be able to aide in this search and perhaps solve this troubling mystery and that you will have time besides to celebrate what I have been told is your __ year of birth.                                          Fondly, Irene Adler

Obviously I had his name and year of birth in there but edited for privacy. (Although to be honest he probably wouldn’t care but just in case. Ha!)

Sherlock2

Upon entering the house there was a chess set, set up, with one type of chess piece missing, I then hid that somewhere nearby. So he first had to look at the chess set, and discern which piece was gone. Also atop the chess set was what looked like a blank piece of pink paper, but it actually was a note written in invisible ink that told which direction to look for the piece that was missing. It was the rook. (To make sure he got it, I took both rooks from the chess set away. Also we are super-duper dorks, so we actually have a few different sets of chess sets, so I set the chess board up with the smaller board, but hid one of the larger size pieces around so it was easier to spot. And yes that blank piece of paper had a special pen next to it. So he realized that the note was written in invisible ink and he had to use the pen light on it to read it. Yup, I had that one hand already too! Ha! They are easily obtained on amazon though just a heads up.) He then found the chess piece and underneath that was a clue referencing the sign of the four.

Underneath the chess piece was a green slip of paper with a symbol on it (the symbol was from “The Sign of the Four” and it said “Look to where dear brother Bartholomew’s killer entered his room for the next clue.”  Which meant he had to look up, and directly overhead was a picture of a fish bowl that I had taped onto the ceiling… That led him to an actual fish bowl!  It was empty of real fish or water, but inside I had six orange goldfish. On the backside of each fish it had a letter. The Letters:  D E F G I R. He had to unscramble them until he figured out it spelled FRIDGE.

So he went to the kitchen, and opened the fridge. Inside was one of his presents (a book about Professor Moriarty – which is a primary nemesis of Sherlock Holmes) and so on top of that book ,I also wrote a note from Moriarty himself. This one read, “Ah! Clever Holmes has left you clues to find me. Well you’ll find my promise to boil Holmes alive was merely a hooded threat.” (And of course I signed it Professor Moriarty)… this clue led to the range hood over the stove. Which is magnetic, so I put another small present there (I bought him a plush magnet of Sherlock Holmes from the “Little Thinker” Unemployed Philosophers Guild company which you can purchase from their site or on amazon.)

sherlock1

So he actually found Sherlock Holmes!  But that wasn’t all; Sherlock still had another clue to give. Magnetized underneath him was another clue. It’s hard to see in the picture but on a yellow piece of paper I wrote, “Good chap! Thanks for saving me. But the game is still afoot! 1dst look upon the kitchen table for some substance then continue the search atop the stairs!”

[I think I had some cupcakes or some kind of treat for him on the kitchen table unfortunately I do not remember.]

sherlock 3

After enjoying a cupcake, he went up to the top of the stairs and there on the landing using his shoes, I led a path to the bedroom and on the bed were a few wrapped gifts and a balloon that said happy Birthday.

Explanation of the clues…

In the letter from Irene Adler:  the only clue he has been able to discern is that it seems Mr. Holmes was in the midst of a chess game with some unknown associate and that one of the chess pieces has been removed from the set and cannot be located.  {Which is how he knew to look at the chess board}

The Green piece of paper:  SPOILERS…… if you haven’t read Sign of the Four. In that story a mysterious killer entered the room from above when it seemed impossible so….    Look to where dear brother Bartholomew’s killer entered his room for the next clue. {How he knew to look above}

The orange fish: They could only spell Fridge when using all the letters.

The note from Moriarty: “Ah! Clever Holmes has left you clues to find me. Well you’ll find my promise to boil Holmes alive was merely a hooded threat.” Boil led to stove, hooded led to the stove hood.

Note from Sherlock: “Good chap! Thanks for saving me. But the game is still afoot! 1st look upon the kitchen table for some substance then continue the search atop the stairs!” This led him to the top of the stairs, and since I wrote “afoot” he realized he should pay attention to the shoes leading to the bedroom. (Although that would have been an easy guess since those shoes were originally in the closet.)

 

So it was a fun little jaunt, and though I am sure he would have loved his gifts even without all of this, he was thrilled and it added a special memory to his birthday.

See kids don’t have to have all the fun. Maybe you’ll make a birthday/holiday scavenger hunt for someone you care about or maybe send this post to some friends and say “hint hint” and hopefully they do something like this for you!

Either way I hope you enjoyed and remember YOU GOT  THIS!

-Heather

 

 

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