Carrigan’s Family Mystery Night remains a crowd-pleaser
Carrigan’s Family Mystery Night remains a crowd-pleaser
Posted on 11/20/2014
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WEST HAVEN, Nov. 10, 2014 — Carrigan Intermediate School’s Family Mystery Night started nine years ago as a unique after-school event that simply hoped to help students put classroom lessons to use in a new way. Since then, it’s grown into a popular and much-anticipated school tradition that this year drew a crowd of nearly 400 students and parents.

The annual event, which was originally created by former Carrigan librarian Carrie Seiden, always has a Halloween theme and combines math, science and reading skill-building activities along with a night of family fun and detective work each October.  As its popularity has grown, more teachers have volunteered and Carrigan graduates who are now at West Haven High School have stepped up to help.

To kick off the evening each year, teachers clad in elaborate costumes perform a skit before the crowd, with a “Whodunnit crime” as the show’s closer.  Students and their families are tasked with solving the mystery and finding the guilty party, which is done with teachers at various academic-based stations throughout the school.

This year’s was held Oct. 24.

“The event brings out the best in our Carrigan students, staff, and our families.  It is not only a fun night but it is truly founded in education as every clue activity is based on our curriculum,” Assistant Principal Rich Weber said.  He added, “We also get another chance to give back to our community as this event kicks off our Thanksgiving food drive for WHEAT – it is one of the best nights of the year at Carrigan.

The skit was “Malice in Wonderland,” a piece based on the classic story of “Alice in Wonderland” and written by Carrigan teacher Leonard Adams. The story follows ‘Malice’ as she seeks help in getting back home after missing the balloon that would take her there. Members of the Tea Party want her to stay and have fun, but she only wants to get back home. 

As they have in the past, participants traveled in teams between the various stations, which were manned by Carrigan teachers, after the skit was performed. Each station featured a math, science or English language arts task, and upon completing each task, a riddle was given to each group. The answer to each riddle helped eliminate a suspect, motive and weapon, a la the board game Clue.

Once all stations and riddles were completed, teams determined a suspect, motive and weapon. The first team that turned in a correct game sheet won, with prizes being awarded to the families making up that team.

Each year, the set, decorations and the costumes are created in-house by Carrigan teachers and the staff.  All food and drink for the event is donated, and all teachers and staff who work the event are volunteers. Additionally, the price of admission for families is a donation to WHEAT, as the collection is the official start to Carrigan’s fall canned food drive.