Flashback to my 2009 Old Attic Halloween Party! To go with today's book discussion, I thought it might be fun to revisit the Old Attic Halloween Party I had in AZ with local AZ Sleuths attending.
To see lots of photos and a recap of the party, click here.
If you're looking for ideas this year for "haunting" your homes or transforming your porches for the trick or treaters and you'd like to use a Nancy Drew theme, Old Attic is a pretty easy one to do. I turned the porch into the attic from the book and without actually dragging a real wardrobe out there and an old trunk (which I didn't have), I created some props to give it an attic feel that were pretty simple if you'd like to try it. Here's a checklist which includes most of what was described from Old Attic:
1. Trunk or old suitcase (what I used) works well--prop it open and put some old objects inside like I did which were bottles, rolls of sheet music (musical note scrapbook paper I got at Michaels) and a Currier and Ives print. Don't have a C&I print? You can find images online and print them like I did.
2. Hat boxes. If you don't have any old ones laying around (I had vintage ones from my grandmother), you can buy hat boxes at craft stores like Hobby Lobby or possibly Michaels or JoAnn's. If you're crafty you can recover them or age them.
3. Old furniture. Don't break your back dragging out heavy pieces. A small table or some chairs even can do just fine. I used a small table we got at an antique store in Texas.
4. Bottles. Any old jars or bottles you have lying around. Some colored ones too. I happened to have some old ones and also a few colored ones I'd picked up at Ikea. Craft stores also have lots of bottles.
5. Spiders and webbing. I used the stucco texture of the porch walls to drag and about and adhere faux spider webbing all over the walls and around structures on the porch and objects. I also stuck spiders around--you have to have spiders in the attic!
6. Wardrobe. This is your must-have prop! I took 2 cardboard boxes I had on hand and glued a thinner one on top of the wider base at the front of it. I spray painted it brown and cut the front fully and removed flaps, so you could open it up like a wardrobe and keep it propped open. I covered it with some spider webs and hid some prizes in the bottom of the top portion under webbing.
7. Skeleton. I imagine unless you have one on hand you'll need to purchase one of these. You can find inexpensive smaller ones just about anywhere this time of year. I had a 3' tall one I wired inside the top of the wardrobe and wired his hand on the door so like in the book, when it opens, the hand comes thrusting outward to spook your guests!
8. Candle Holder - an old fashioned one or one styled like it with a candle works great! However, I found a plastic one that is battery operated at Michael's in the shape of the old-time candle holders and it made a great prop for kneeling at the "trunk" like Nancy on the cover of Old Attic.
Other touches I added not in the book were a poster of Old Attic in a black frame that I had done at Staples--enlarged from a book cover image. I also made use of some silhouette hurricanes from a past convention that I made using tall glass votives and printing the silhouette on velum paper which I wrapped around the votives. And I used a shoeprint silhouette kit no longer in production from Martha Stewart Crafts to create a suspects footprints coming out from the wall and into the wardrobe. You can just buy black cardstock or construction paper and make your own footprints using templates you can Google online.
I created silhouette pumpkins using faux white Funkins which I painted on the Nancy Drew silhouette. I printed out the silhouette in the desired size and traced it onto the pumpkins and then painted it in.
I have had a felt silhouette banner of the Nancy Drew Silhouette that I use at various Nancy Drew conventions and I made use of it in the window as a window silhouette. I hung it so that at night with the light on in the room, it glows and the silhouette shows up to those passing by. Very cool looking at night! You can make such a felt piece that can be easily reused or what's simpler and what I do often is to just buy some black poster board and cut out a silhouette for the window. Tape it to the window and then cover the whole window with white or yellow tissue paper so at night it will have a nice glow. I think yellow tissue works best--a pale to light yellow is what I typically use.
Then you can create a game based on the Old Attic book if you like. I created a simple game using the rolled up "sheet music" that I left some on the porch and some around the party rooms inside the house. On each roll was a black spider ring. On each spider I wrote in silver sharpie a letter. Guests had to go around and write down all the letters they found and then unscramble them. The answer was the location of where they would find their prize. They spelled out "W A R D R O B E." In the wardrobe I had mini Old Attic books I printed out and created using cardstock and some sticky foam pieces inside to give the books a shape.
Favors were simple and featured a spider web theme on the treat boxes and had spiders attached and spider web designed ribbon with an Old Attic image sticker I printed out that said Trick or Treat. Inside was lots of candy and also some skeleton favors.
What's fun is to bring alive a book and do things related to the mystery. This is something we do each year at our Nancy Drew Conventions but it's lots of fun to do on a smaller scale at your own home too and with a little imagination you can whip up something pretty simply without having to go to too much trouble. Even just a window silhouette and the silhouette pumpkins can be a great way to add flair to your home for Halloween or any Nancy Drew party.