Easy Murder Mystery Game Party Prop and
by Mystery Maiden
I wrote a pirate mystery game for a women in the US recently, who did her
backyard up as a giant pirate ship and hid treasure throughout the yard
for the guests to find. Conversely, I spoke to a woman at a recent game I
facilitated (The Pool Hall Pummeling) who said she had so much fun, as the
last murder mystery game she attended all they did was sit around a table
and read clues.
Sure, both methods work, but really, which
party would you rather attend? There's no need to go all out like the
woman with the pirate mystery game (unless you want to, of course),
however there is something to be said for adding in little extras to make
your party special. Here are some ideas I like to include when I
facilitate or host my own murder mystery game party.
- Create pamphlets with the pictures of
each suspect. I love this idea because there is so much potential to stir
up some fun. In a recent game I facilitated for a family member's 60th
birthday party, I created pamphlets in Paint, including pictures of each
of the suspects. Only, instead of including nice pictures of my family
members, I sifted through years of photo albums and selected the most
menacing pictures of each person I could find. I distributed the pamphlets
as everyone arrived, and the room was instantly filled with laughter over
the photos. Cries of "where did you get this picture?" were
accompanied with shrieks of joy, and even those not playing a suspect had
a good time making fun of everyone's most murderous looking profile pics.
-Set up a mock murder scene When playing a
murder mystery game, nothing matters more than having a good imagination.
Help your guests along by setting up a mock crime scene. I wrote a custom
mystery for a baby shower of over 50 guests in which the nanny was
stabbed. The hostess set up her spare bedroom as a crime scene and, as
everyone entered, they were showed through the crime scene. That detail
was listed as her guest's favorite moment of the party! How does one do
this? Well, first you need to read ahead a bit in your Game Kit (not too
far or you'll spoil the mystery) until you find the crime scene
description. For this reason, Shot In The Dark Mystery Games always
feature the crime scene description within the first few pages, usually as
a Chapter One introduction. Once you have the details, set up a corner of
the room or a whole room as the murder scene. You can use a dummy for the
body, or simply lay out a chalk outline. This gives your visitors a
visual, and something to talk about as they mingle before the murder
mystery game begins.
- Give your visitors notebooks The cheapest
and easiest way of doing this is to visit a dollar store. Dollar stores
have lots of stationary in all sizes, and the small notebooks
(3"x5" will do) are inexpensive. You could even go so far as to
have the notebooks specially printed if you chose! The notebooks serve as
a great way for suspects and extra guests to keep track of clues as the
murder mystery game unfolds and is a great keepsake for after the party.
Don't forget to provide pens!
- Put the murder weapon in a Ziploc
"Evidence" bag At The Pool Hall Pummeling event I recently
facilitated, I went to a billiard supply store and asked them for a single
cue ball. They were happy to oblige and gave me many used cue balls to
choose from. I picked the oldest, most worn cue ball, and they became
curious why I picked that one. I told them it was to be used as a murder
weapon. Through strange looks, they told me just to take it, that I didn't
have to pay for it. I went home, squirted some red paint on my Halloween
pumpkin and pummeled away! It made a great prop for the party, and as the
Detective read the opening clues, he passed around the "bloody"
cue ball in a Ziploc bag for everyone to view part of the evidence.
- Print off "I Accuse" sheets The
end of your murder mystery game contains a section where everyone gets to
accuse a suspect and explain why they think that person was the murderer.
Printing of "I accuse" forms allows everyone to write down their
vote (a la Survivor) and then, when it comes their turn to accuse, flip
their sheet over and show everyone who they think is the killer.
- Encourage your guests to dress their
character Characters come with descriptions, and using that description
it's not hard to imagine what each character might wear. For extra
characters, they can follow the theme. For example, while playing Murder
on the Mound, have the suspects dress their character. The extra guests
can come dressed as ball players, or even fans sporting foam fingers!
- Create Nametags It's a common school of
thought these days that name tags at a party are a pretty lame idea (think
Ross from Friends as he threw the party in his new apartment). The only
time it IS acceptable to have nametags is when hosting a murder mystery
game party. At first, while guests are getting to know the suspects, the
nametags will come in handy. Of course, you are not labeling these
nametags with their real names, but the names of the character they play.
Nametags can be as simple as the sticky "Hello My Name Is" ones
available in stationary stores the world over, or as complex as tags you
have made yourself on your computer, to professionally made name tags.
- Create forensic props This prop idea
works especially well for the Death Scene Investigation games, where
forensics are the main focus of the game. But forensic props can be added
to any murder mystery game you choose. The best place to find forensic
game props are, believe it or not, toy stores. Forensic Labs, Handwriting
Analysis Kits and DNA Laboratories are common in toy stores or any store
that has a game section. I recently picked up a Fingerprint Examination
Kit, which came with evidence bags, an alternate light source,
fingerprinting brush and dust, crime scene tape and more. Whenever I
facilitate a game, everyone oohs and aahs over my evidence bags and ALS. I
don't tell them where I got it, but I'll tell you if you promise to keep
it between us.
If you have a clever idea you're adding to
your own Shot In The Dark Mysteries Game, share it in our Dark Community
at www.shotinthedarkmysteries.com, and don't forget to send us pictures of
your event for our upcoming picture gallery!
About the Author
Mystery Maiden writes and facilitates
murder mystery, general mystery, forensics and custom mystery games for
Shot In The Dark Mystery Games. For more party host tips, quizzes and
more, visit www.shotinthedarkmysteries.com.
The Mystery Maiden can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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