If you're tired of throwing the same old backyard BBQ each year, why not consider throwing a party that starts with a bang? A murder mystery party, where your guests take on different personas and spend the night trying to solve the crime, is an exciting and unique alternative to any celebration.
Where to start
WhoDunnit Mystery Murders offers about a dozen different murder mysteries, as well as individual character based games where players play individually, but must interact with other players and trick, bribe and buy clues to solve the mystery. Players are awarded clues based on how well they perform a dare, such as singing a song. WhoDunnit Mysteries can come to your home, or will source a venue for a small fee.
Merrin Mysteries is a completely do-it-yourself option; visit the website, peruse the options and then order and download the pack (which includes an overview of the crime and who did it, character profiles, invitations and a hosting guide) online. With mysteries catering for 8 to 100 guests, this is ideal for anything from a hen or bucks night to a large party.
Murder by Design, although located in Sydney, does operate in Brisbane. Here, professional actors set the scene and then it's up to the guests to scout for clues and hints in over a dozen different scenarios. Children are welcome.
Hosting a party can be hard, but hosting a murder mystery party is trickier because you need to work out how to host as well as participate. The trick is to organise and arrange everything in advance, so that all you have to do on the night is serve food and drinks. You might like to consider hiring someone to do that for you (like Brisbane BBQs to Banquets for catering or Invisions for staff), or you can set up a buffet so that the guests can serve themselves.
It will be much easier for you if you serve food that is easy to prepare and easy to serve; you don't want to be trapped in the kitchen all night long. If you are serving a meal, something like lasagne or pizza, which you can prepare beforehand and then just pop in the oven, are good. Similarly, finger food should be equally simple. Things like chicken wings, mini quiches, dim sims and sausage rolls can also be popped in the oven. You can also pre-prepare platters of crackers, cheese, dips and antipasto.
It's vital that you and your guests dress up – a murder mystery party without fancy dress is no fun. Consider your friends when choosing your theme. If they're not the type to don elaborate costumes, then perhaps the Renaissance murder mystery isn't for them. Decade theme parties are usually the easiest and most popular.
You'll also want to decorate your venue. Flowers, candles, balloons and streamers are always good party starters but you might want to get into the spirit by re-creating the setting of your play. If your play is set at a county fair, you can make signs, use bales of hay for seating and play appropriate music in the background.
Follow these tips and you'll deliver a party that your guests will never forget.