Help your teen exercise her “whodunit” skills by hosting a murder mystery party. Mystery games date back to the 1930’s and the first murder mystery party games appeared in the 1980’s. Today they have evolved into a type of role playing game available in both boxed sets and online downloads. Mystery parties are available in virtually any type of physical or historical setting. Your murder mystery party is limited only by your imagination and the size of your home.
Decide on a period in history and a theme for your party. To celebrate a graduation, check out a game that centers around college or a scientific lab. If the party is to celebrate a birthday, choose the teen’s favorite period of history from Victorian England to a futuristic space station.
Choose a murder mystery party. This can be a boxed set or an online printable format. The party set will have the setting, characters, portions of a script and the solution. Some sets have invitations and costume suggestions.
Address the invitations to your guests. Be sure to include simple costume suggestions and props.
Collect the murder weapons for the party. This may include rubber knives and swords, plastic guns or a foam lead pipe.
Decorate for the party theme. Include items from the period. If your party is set in the sixties, fill your home with peace signs and tie dye. For a Roaring 20s party, print art deco pictures and hang them around the house.
Prepare food that goes with the party. It can be food that would have been served for the period, or you can have fun with it. For example, if your mystery takes place in Paris, why not serve French fries and French toast?
Place a small pad of paper and pencils next to each party guest’s place at the table.
Greet your guests at the door and give them the script that goes with each character. Let the characters browse around and get to know each other. Pass out the first round of clues.
Serve the meal and pass out the second round of clues. Guests may now start narrowing down who the murderer might be.
Give a prize to the detective who figures out the mystery. Add prizes for best costume or even best villain.
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Based in Nashville, Shellie Braeuner has been writing articles since 1986 on topics including child rearing, entertainment, politics and home improvement. Her work has appeared in "The Tennessean" and "Borderlines" as well as a book from Simon & Schuster. Braeuner holds a Master of Education in developmental counseling from Vanderbilt University.