I'm obsessed with Halloween, and love doing spooky stuff the entire month of October. Scary movies, haunted houses, going to to Costco on a Saturday-- sign me up!
This year, I came up with the perfect Halloween activity: a Hey Eleanor Mystery Dinner. Just like my last mystery event, the gist was pretty simple: I pick three activities, and people sign up not knowing what we're doing. I simply give hints leading up to the event.
My 20 guests knew that there would be dinner & drinks, a mystery guest, and a spooky outing of sorts. I told them we'd be meeting in Northeast Minneapolis, that we would not be going to the Soap Factory, and costumes were encouraged. Other than that, they didn't know much.
Here's what happened at the mystery dinner.
Dinner at 320 Northeast
I'd been wanting to partner with 320 Northeast ever since my first dinner with them. Matt and Megan started a private supper club earlier this year, and I've had the pleasure of dining with them three times. They've taken the operation out of there house and into a Northeast warehouse space (totally awesome AND totally spooky!), creating delicious meals made with all local products. They don't have a hard and fast rule, like only things within 30 miles of their business. It's more like, only things from as far as they're willing to drive.
320 Northeast perfectly embodies what Hey Eleanor is all about. Dinner with them usually means patrons don't know what they're going to eat (the menu is a secret until you arrive), and they don't know who they'll be eating with. You're supposed to come with an open mind, and a sense of adventure. These guys make that easy because they're just so damn good at hosting!
Anyhoo, guests started arriving at 6:30pm, and I was psyched that everyone had to ride up four floors in this creepy elevator. An unintentional spook factor? My Uncle Brian, who was standing just outside the elevator doors and surprised us with this photo.
There were screams...
... followed by lots of laughs.
Every single person who attended wore a costume, and they were all so great! How about this group homage to 80s mall walkers?
And what Halloween party would be complete without Hansel, Gretel and a human-sized labia (Elise, I love that you own this costume!).
Matt & Megan served homemade charcuterie, pickles, cheese and mustard. Way better than the crap you get trick-or-treating, in my opinion.
Megan made some sort of delicious cocktail with ginger beer. I don't know what was in it, but it sure went down EZ.
I forgot to mention, there were a few major celebs there. Olivia Newton John, Supergirl and one amazing Travel Bug (that dress is made of maps!).
As we mingled, cocktails in hand, our special guest, psychic Christine Schroeder, gave everyone a reading. Here, Alex (aka the Mad Scientist) and my husband, Josh (aka Kurt Cobain), are [skepitcally] learning about their future. Hey, everyone has their opinions about psychics, right?
After cocktails, we moved on to dinner. How cute are these place cards (I know they're just sharpie on a piece of card stock, but whocaresiloveit)!
Our entire dinner was paired with Wyndfall Cyder out of La Crescent, Minnesota. Delicious.
Everything was served family-style, and started out with these elegant salads topped with the prettiest of all radishes: the watermelon radish.
Next, loads of veggies, including Brussels sprouts and roasted pumpkin.
Christine continued with readings throughout dinner. Apparently, one person will meet their future husband very soon, another has a ghost that's pissed she tore out a raspberry bush in the backyard, and another person needs to be honest with a friend who's really irking them (like, pronto!).
The food pretty much never stopped. Pulled chicken, some delicious beans, trotters from a pig Matt had butchered a few days prior... everything was delicious.
Before we wrapped dinner, Christine did a reading for me. And since you might be wondering what kind of stuff she told me, here's the scoop:
- She thinks my husband and I make for a good partnership
- I'll write a book, but I don't quite have the idea right just yet
- My job is in transition, but I'll be settled in my career in about five years. She thinks advertising (?). Weird, but maybe?
- We'll have two kids in the next 2.5 years, probably both girls
She also mentioned that I have a spirit that's often with me, and was at the dinner that night. She said she believed it was my grandma. Next, Christine pointed to my uncle (who was at the other end of the table) and said she's often with him, too. Christine said this woman never thought of herself as much of a traditional housewife a la Donna Reed, but always loved having family dinners and really liked this whole Mystery Dinner idea. I have to say, that sure sounds a lot like my grandma.
Christine also said this spirit often watches over my husband in the car because "she doesn't like how he drives." That definitely sounds like my grandma. :)
After dinner, Christine led our entire group on a ghost tour of the 100+year-old building. She's not only a psychic, but a medium! Really, you can't make this stuff up.
320 Northeast is on the fourth floor of the building, which Christine said had mostly good energy.
The second floor was another story.
Prior to dinner, Christine took a quick tour around the building (all by herself... I'd have been way too chicken!) and discovered a ghost living on the second floor. She said he's a benevolent spirit-- an older man in overalls-- and seems to take ownership of the space. He keeps an eye on things, but sometimes messes with the water. Christine asked Matt & Megan if the building ever has water issues on its north side. They both said yes.
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, that's spooky, right?
We finished the tour in the basement, which Christine said was pretty void of energy now that the last tenant had moved out. She felt that he'd been a bit of a hoarder and collected lots of taxidermy. Though Matt & Megan weren't sure about the taxidermy, they did confirm that this guy had filled the basement with antiques and loads of old crap. Hrmmm...
It was the perfect Halloween outing: good food & drink, a reason to dress up, and some not-too-spooky ghost stories. Plus, everyone got their own trick or treat goodie bag, complete with healthy snacks. I know, I know... I'm the equivalent of the woman who hands out raisins, but as if anyone needs EXTRA candy around Halloween!
Also, much gratitude to 320 Northeast (sign up for their newsletter to learn about upcoming dinners), Christine Schroeder, Brian Mogren (photography skills!) and every single person who trusted me with their Friday night. You guys are awesome.