Category: celebrating groundhog day

Groundhog Eve! Better Get Your Booties!

That’s right, woodchuck chuckers. In less than 24 hours, Punxsutawney Phil is going to set us straight on how much winter we have left. 6 more weeks? Bring it on, baby. 🙂

And as I’m usually accustomed to do, I’ll be bringing in the day with some fun festivities. Tomorrow is the family party–we’ll be doing the yearly viewing of Groundhog Day, the movie that gets better with every viewing. (My children are most likely going to hate its guts by the time they leave the house, but such is life. These are the prices we pay for groundhogs.)

Always tinkering with my Groundhog Party, I’ve added some extra twists this year, so if you’re planning one of your own, you might want to think about these ideas. Naturally we have the ever popular Groundhog Games of Skill, but this year, there’s a costume party for Best Groundhog Themed Costume, a skit award for Best Groundhog Skit, and an award for the Best Groundhog Themed Food. (And no, bringing actual groundhog does not automatically win you the award.)

How about you–any of you out there celebrating tomorrow? What festivities do you have in mind?

Off to see the groundhog?

Do you think it’s going to be an early spring?

And for those of you new to me and my blog, who are wondering what in the world is the matter with me, allow me to explain. I have a long, long history of my love for Groundhog Day. I’ve been celebrating the day for more than a decade now. Why? Because it’s a holiday devoted to a large furry creature. It’s got no “religious” baggage to worry about, and it’s a heckuva lot better than Valentine’s Day.

Let’s live here. We’ll rent to start.

Here are some past posts by me on the holiday:

Writing a Murder Mystery

How to Host a Teen Mystery: Barbecue with the VampireSo the Groundhog Day Murder Mystery went off Friday to great success. Our Phil Connors was, unfortunately, down with a bad case of the flu, so I ended up having to play the part of Ralph the Drunk while also offering key bits of information Phil had told Ralph over a round of drinks. Other than that, it was a really fun evening. Great food, fun times, lots of laughs.

I’ve had a couple of people ask me about how I chose which murder mystery party game to use, and the answer (for those of you who missed it) is that I made my own. It’s easier than it sounds. Back when I was still in Utah, Brandon Sanderson wrote a great Harry Potter murder mystery that we did with friends, and that was a lot of fun. Here’s an old pic of Denisa and me in full homemade Slytherin regalia:

So we’d had a blast doing a homebrew murder mystery, and I’d been toying with writing one of my own, so I thought what better occasion than Groundhog Day? In the end, it’s pretty simple. Step one is to decide how many guests you want to have. I’d suggest at least 6, but no more than 8. Step two is to pick a theme. If you use a well-known movie or book, then your guests will already have an idea who their characters are before they arrive, and it makes it much easier to dress up.

Once you’ve got the guest numbers down and the theme, then it’s just a matter of plotting out a murder mystery. You make it so that each character has things to hide, and then you have at least one other character have noticed certain facts during the investigation that prompt them to inquire about the things that character would prefer stay hidden. Give everybody a motive, mess around with alibis and where everybody was when, and you’re on your way.

You print up booklets for each attendee. These booklets include a summary of the crime–so that everyone knows the mystery ahead of time–a character description, suggestion for how to dress and act, and a summary of how the night will be run. Throwing in some pictures of the character they’ve been assigned to play helps, too. After that introductory material, there are sealed sections for each round you want to play.

I divided the night into three rounds. Each round has two categories in each player’s booklet (“Things you’ll share freely” and “Things you’d rather not discuss.”) People can say whatever they want–but they can’t lie. You unseal each section at the beginning of its corresponding round. People read over their categories, and they start asking each other questions. You play each round until conversation starts to peter out, making sure that everyone’s shared all their “Things you’ll share freely” tidbits before you move onto the next round. At the end of each round, you let people make a stab at who the culprit is. The winner is the person who guesses the right culprit the most times.

Other than that, you can give out awards for best costume and best acting (to encourage people to actually put some effort into it). I ran it as a pot luck dinner. Denisa and I did the main course and a side dish, and our guests brought a salad, appetizer and dessert. Round One happened during appetizers, Round Two during dinner, and Round Three around dessert.

As long as you invite people who aren’t afraid to look stupid or foolish, you can’t go wrong. The main goal is to have a fun time and do something different than what you usually do. It took some preparation, but I’d do it again. I plan to, actually. Thinking about a Princess Bride Mystery . . .

GROUNDHOG DAY!!!!!

Groundhog Day (15th Anniversary Special Edition) [Blu-ray]
That’s right, woodchuck chuckers. It’s groundhog time. And the question on everybody’s lips (chapped lips) is what in the world will Bryce be doing this year to celebrate? Well wonder no more, porkchops. All shall now be revealed. 🙂

This year was actually a hard year to plan for. Traditionally I have a grand extravaganza on February 2nd, full of groundhog games of skill and a viewing of the movie itself. I invite as many people as my house can take, and we hog it up, with themed desserts and goodies. However, this year Groundhog Day is on a Wednesday, which is usually a very busy day for me, full of work, writing group and church meetings. So fitting a party in there just wasn’t going to happen. Instead, I took the day off and planned to laze around all day.
In a fitting Groundhog Day gift, Punxsutawney Phil gave me a blizzard, which gave me a snow day, which means I don’t have to take time off for today. And since I don’t have a big party scheduled for tonight, I don’t have to worry about cancelling. 🙂 Instead, I’m hanging around home, watching the movie as a fam (we exchanged gifts this morning), baking something yummy and playing video games. Groundhog Day is all about hibernating–doing whatever you want to do and like to do most.
But it wouldn’t be a Bryce Groundhog Day without something elaborate, right? And so back when I noticed Groundhog Day was on a Wednesday, I started plotting. Planning. Scheming.
Writing.
And I created “A Groundhog Day Murder Mystery.” It’s a game for eight people. Want to know what it’s all about? Well, here’s the introduction I wrote. 

Of one thing there can be no doubt: Ned Ryerson is dead. It’s true. That annoyingly obnoxious insurance salesman, the bane of all of Punxsutawney, that moron of morons, irritant of irritants, has passed on. And of all days for it to happen, it had to happen on Groundhog Day.

It all started out as your typical, run of the mill Groundhog Day. The locals were out early, either cursing all the traffic that kept them from getting to work or causing that traffic in an effort to get to the celebration on time. Tourists had invaded the town like a biblical plague, and polka music was blaring from the town square’s gazebo. Phil came out and did his thing, and the result was typical: six more weeks of winter. The sole item of interest was a rather bizarre news report by Phil Connors of WPBH Channel 9, where he started yelling at the groundhog and throwing things at the poor creature. The weatherman was taken into brief custody by the police, however, and soon everything was back to normal. There was ice carving, a chili cook off, dancing, local bands–the works.

And then it happened.

Some local kids at the park found Ned’s body in the gazebo at . There wasn’t a mark on him, but he was dead as dead could be. They called 911, and the paramedics did what they could, but it was too late. If Ned had been able to opine about the incident, he would have told anyone who would listen (and anyone who wouldn’t) that the statistical odds of a healthy Caucasian male dropping dead like that were astronomically low. But Ned wasn’t there, and everyone was ready and willing to forget about the incident and head to the Groundhog Ball.

Everyone but Detective Hardy, that is. He was a local Punxsutawney man, and he knew the town better than anyone. He also knew just how many people Ned had irritated over the years. Putting two and two together, he concluded it was likely a case of foul play. He doesn’t have any proof just yet, but he’s asked the likely suspects to assemble in one of the local homes to wait for the toxicology report to come back from the lab. If it comes back clean, then everyone at least got a free dinner out of the situation. If it doesn’t . . . then it’ll be time to find out whodunit. 

I couldn’t invite over as many people as I would have liked, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. There’s always next year. I’ll tell you how it goes. I might have to tweak it some, but it should be entertaining, at least. Everyone’s coming dressed as a character from the movie. I’m really looking forward to it. (And for those wondering, I’m going to be playing the part of Ralph the Drunk. Denisa is Mrs. Lancaster. I will post pictures.)
Anyway, folks. Hope you all have a wonderful Groundhog Day. Phil says it’ll be an early spring, but what exactly “early spring” means in Groundhogese is open to debate. As far as I’m concerned, it can just keep on snowing until March. 🙂
Happy Groundhog Day!

Groundhog Book

So the Groundhog Book is going quite well. Hit the 10,000 word mark today. It’s different for me, writing non-fiction. Still haven’t heard back from the agent, though, and I’m liking this project, so I’ll keep at it for now. Just wondering if you all could help inform me a bit: how specific do you think I should let this project get? Right now, I’m delving into pretty much every aspect of Groundhog Day you can think of, from the movie to the history of the holiday to the actors to the towns that celebrate it to how to celebrate it yourself–everything. It could be the definitive, comprehensive guide to groundhogdom.

Am I going a tad overboard?

What am I asking? I’m writing a book about how to celebrate a rodent, and I’m wondering if I’m going overboard? Never mind. 🙂

In the end, I sort of view this project as a personal one. I might self-publish it and give access to family and friends. Or maybe I’ll make a groundhog blog and see if I can get a following?

So tell me–just how crazy do you think I am?

And Because the Third Post’s the Charm

How about some early Groundhog Day script action? Pretty cool, if’n you ask me. Interesting to see what was changed and what stayed the same.

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