Sometimes our kids surprise us, and sometimes we know them so well we know just what they’ll like. For instance, when I saw the Nancy Drew starter pack misplaced on a shelf at Target around Christmas, I knew it would be a winner. A Nancy Drew starter pack turned into a weeks-long Nancy Drew read-a-thon and then turned into a tenth Nancy Drew birthday party.

There’s tons and tons and tons of books in this series. Sophia has asked to collect every book, I’ve told her we don’t have that kind of shelf space. But regardless, we’ve added many vintage versions to our shelves since Christmas.

These came in very handy for adding to the decor of our Nancy Drew birthday party.

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Regardless of your child’s current book obsession, you can make a birthday party from it. I’m going to show you how we took a little lady’s book fetish and turned it into a full-on experience with her friends.

Come check out our Nancy Drew birthday party.

Sophia and I planned this party together and we had so much fun doing it. We pulled out our 1950’s party cookbook Jarrod’s aunt gave me years ago. I asked Sophia tons of questions about details from the stories. We gathered up wall clocks from around the house and pulled any decor that looked older and vintage.

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To keep things sane, I don’t decorate the whole house–not even the whole area of our house. I just choose one space to make really visually cool-looking and create a WOW-factor.

We decorated around our dining room table and buffet area. The clocks, an old toy typewriter, and other decor from around the house created a real Nancy-looking party spot.

The invitations we sent out also had a mysterious flare. I searched my favorite font site and found one called Ransom–so fitting, right!? We just printed out our info and cut it all up to create a ransom note-looking invite. Super simple.

I was really inspired by Country Living’s Nancy Drew Halloween party from a few years ago. You can check that out for more inspiration,  too.

Our Nancy Drew birthday party: The Favors + The Food

Since the party was in the afternoon, we decided on just a few snacks and finger foods. In our 1950’s cookbook, we found finger sandwiches to be all the rage. We made some egg salad and ham spread finger sandwiches, crusts removed, on white bread for the friends and their mamas. We added some chips, a veggie tray and some simple punch.

We always love to send friends home with a little party treat. These favors were perfect for little lady detectives AND they were only about TWO bucks apiece! What!?!

We found notebooks and magnifying glasses at the dollar store. I just used a photo editor to add a Nancy Drew silhouette and each girl’s name and printed on cardstock.

A real Nancy Drew mystery

The best part about this party was planning a real mystery for the girls to solve! I won’t lie, it took some planning on my part, but it was so worth it.

The biggest help to planning this part of the party was my friend Kara’s Spy School book. So much info about codes, ciphers, fingerprinting activities and more! This was a HUGE help!

First we learned fingerprinting. This took place in the kitchen. All the details on this activity can be found in Kara’s Spy School book.

Next was the big mystery! The girls received a packet with a note from Nancy Drew, a clue, and several secret codes.

They had a briefing with the Chief (me, obviously 😉 ) then they headed out around the neighborhood to collect more clues.

The first clue lead them to another clue, but the second, third, fourth, and fifth clues had keys attached. Each key also had a code attached to it. Each clue lead to another clue and key and each key opened a lock that was placed somewhere around the house. As they unlocked the locks, they girls uncovered their detective gear, their favors!


It was so fun, especially because I got the neighbors involved and the girls ran around the neighborhood collecting keys and clues!

Gifts for your Nancy Drew Girl

For my girl, she’s really into new clothes–mostly comfy workout gear, so she received some new clothes for spring. But we also found some really great gifts for her mystery-loving heart. Here’s a few your girl might love too:

  1. // Crime Catcher’s Science Kit-we love these science kits!
  2. // Sophia got this awesome bag for hauling library books or whatever she wants! It’s adorable!
  3.  // This is similar to starter pack she got for Christmas.
  4.  // We got this puzzle for her birthday as well, and good thing–it was perfect for the sick week we had! It’s only 500 pieces so much more doable for younger kids and really great quality!
  5. // Escape the Room games from Think Fun are SOO much fun! Everything you need is in this box! After you solve the mystery, package it up and give it to a friend.
  6. // Love these Melissa and Doug decoder kits. Going into Easter baskets this year!

I hope you’ll have your own Nancy Drew party sometime. It was a blast! And a perfect way to celebrate a whole DECADE of Sophia!!


  1. Such a great idea! My girls are 6 & 7 and love Fancy Nancy – who loves Nancy Drew. I have Pinned this and am going to see if one of them would like it for next year, then start planning, sounds like a lot of (fun) work!

  2. Such a fun party! Another fun mystery series for middle school aged girls; is the Trixie Belden series.

  3. I would have died to have a Nancy Drew party like this! Thanks for sharing the details and ideas!

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