Friday, October 7, 2011

10 Years of Halloween Fun

This year marks the 10th year for our annual Halloween party, shindig, or whatever you want to call such social gatherings. You may be wondering why I'm writing about this when Halloween is still most of a month away. I'll get to that. =P For the last decade, we've picked a theme and put together an evening of fun for our friends, relatives, or really whoever wanted to show up--we've always had an open invitation. We've had rules--keep it PG and no alcohol or drugs. Yes, most of the adults have been over-age, but we disallow alcohol for two reasons: 1) We have kids, wily kids; I know Luke would get into it no matter how well we watched him. 2) A lot of our friends travel 4+ hours to come to this gathering, and I do not want to be responsible for anyone getting into alcohol-induced accidents. That said, we feed everyone enough sugar to guarantee they're bouncing off the walls by the end of the evening.

Each year we've given our party a theme. For our first year, it was roughly based off of Final Fantasy I. Subsequent years featured Lord of the Rings, Trigun, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Ninjas, Classic Nintendo and Classic 80s. Each year Shaun would write a murder mystery role-playing game to match the theme. The mysteries were fun and easily became one of the highlights for the evening, to the point of where when we threatened to quit making them, there were voiced complaints. With the 2nd year, the one with the Lord of the Rings theme, we introduced "powers" to go with the characters which involved players usually playing jun-ken-po (paper-rock-scissors) to gain access to hidden information on character cards. For that particular year, there was also the "One Ring" which would allow the one player who held the ring to become "invisible"--essentially avoid answering questions for the duration of a round. We also usually added a twist that made things a little tougher to solve, or sometimes just made it sillier. For the Lord of the Rings year, everyone had been partying at the Prancing Pony Inn in Bree, and Gollum had slipped magic mushrooms onto the pizza, so everyone was hallucinating during the events leading up to the death of Mr. Underhill.

The next year, for Trigun, the twist was that someone had created 9 Vash clones, so the goal was to figure out who really killed Vash so they could collect the $$60,000,000,000 reward. For the Star Wars year, we added the additional theme that the mystery story read like a bad fanfic, complete with the narrator named Maria Suevo. In that story there were potions everywhere--love potions, poison potions, even a polyjuice potion (Chewbacca was really Harry Potter in disguise--this was mostly to explain why Chewy could speak English in the mystery but the extra potion made for a nice red herring). I don't think anyone ever forgave us for slipping Harry Potter into that one. The twist to the Ninja theme year was that the goal was to determine which ninja killed the most pirates, but if someone else figured it out, the "winner" had to jun-ken-po battle the one who figured it out to defend their title because they clearly weren't sneaky enough about it. You get the idea.

This leads into the point behind this post and why it's so early in October. Starting with the Classic Nintendo year, I started making badges for players to wear to make it easier to keep straight who was playing what character. This is of course where the Nintendo Noir set came from--all of the characters in that set, minus Zelda and Kirby who were added later, were playable characters in the murder mystery game that year. The ones I made for the Classic 80's year were only roughly finished; those badges featured characters like Jessica Rabbit (Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Jareth (Labyrinth), Ray (Ghostbusters), Doc Brown (Back to the Future), She Ra (She Ra), and Indiana Jones (Indiana Jones). The mystery was named "Who Killed Roger Rabbit" and the game came with a Clue style map featuring rooms named after other 80's films. The goal was to determine who did it, with what weapon and in what room. That was a particularly fun game, and we're working on publishing the whole game under the title "Crazy 80s" through Team Sidequest. As much as I like the original title, we'd hit copyright problems if we left it as is. We're of course altering the characters, loosely, and turning it into a parody. But that's something for another post. Moving on.

Well, with this being our 10th year, we're going to aim for something extra fun. This year's theme is Tim Burton movies. This week I started working on the badges for the murder mystery. Now you see the time-appropriateness of this post. =D Took me long enough to get to the point right? I'm going to try something a little different with the badges this year. I'm going to keep them mostly black and white with very muted color, with a few exceptions, mostly reds, which I'll make really stand out. This is to keep it artistically close to the Burton theme. What I will probably do is draw and ink them all by hand, then use pencil to add shading and details. From there I will either add small splashes of vivid color digitally or using markers--I haven't decided on that point yet. The mystery game will feature 8 characters from 8 different movies that Tim Burton is associated with. =) I'm really looking forward to the badges for this year; they should be a lot of fun to design. I'm kind of curious to see how they come out. Watch the Wednesday WIP posts for glimpses of those as we get into October and maybe a few more posts on some of the fun stuff I'm planning for this year's Halloween party.

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