Advice For Your Murder Mystery Party

Q. We can't decide on a theme! What do we do?
Q. Can we edit or adapt a mystery?
Q. You say your mysteries are best suited for groups of up to 125. Why aren't they suitable for a group of say, 200?
Q. How do you get the crowd to listen to you for the important parts?
Q. How much should the actors (primary suspects) stay in the room?
Q. Should the mystery run while people are eating?
Q. Do I need to serve dinner or lunch for this mystery to be fun and successful?
Q. Should I decorate my house or function room for the mystery?
Q. Should I have music playing?
Q. Do you have recipes and menu ideas?

Our Best Advice

Photo: mafia murder mystery gameRemember that the mystery will never be perfect. Ever. But that's not the point. The point is to simply have fun, whether you're a suspect or a detective.

If you go into this with the idea that you're going to have a GREAT time with each other as prime suspects in a murder mystery, then your guests won't want to miss out on all the fun you're having - they'll naturally want to be a part of it. Think about how much fun Carol Burnett and her gang always had with each other (if you are old enough to know who she is of course). Besides being genuinely funny and clearly enjoying themselves, they made each other laugh. Their audience couldn't help but be pulled into those skits.

Go for the comedy and silliness, back track if you leave out some important piece of evidence and do not say "no" to your guests.

If they want to frisk you, let them.

If they want to follow you to the bathroom, don't stop them.

If they want to present their theory to the crowd, let them and hold your scene until they're finished.

If they want to sit back and watch, don't force them to do anything they don't want to do.

Here are 2 other crowd pleasers (and great photo opportunities): Have your victims dramatically die in a guest's lap. And have your "grieving" suspects throw themselves into a guests arms for comfort. Break down those barriers!

This is your winning combination. Many people may not solve the mystery but they'll have so much fun trying. Watch our little movie to get a nice visual.


REVIEW: "We did Next of Kin for a Relay for Life fund raiser in Evergreen, AL. They were able to raise over $1200.00. Everyone enjoyed the play so much and want our help in putting on a different on in the future. My husband and I have been doing plays with volunteer groups over the last few years and we really enjoy your plays. They are so very easy to do as a novice and everyone always has so much fun. Thank you for all your hard work to make it so easy for us. Margaret McCloskey, Stockton, AL"

Photo - Hawaiian luau mystery gameQ. We can't decide on a theme! What do we do?

A. Download script samples of any mystery game and show these choices to your cast of primary suspects. Whichever script excites them the most is the one you should do. If they're enthusiastic about the theme and the characters, you're half way home to a great mystery evening.

Q. Can we edit or adapt a mystery?

A. All mysteries can be edited for content so long as you maintain a motive for murder for each of the prime suspects. If you have ANY questions please contact us.

Adapting a storyline for a special occasion: Is it someone's birthday?  Anniversary?  Tweak the storyline so it's a celebration for them (don't forget to adapt the program included with the game).  How memorable will that be?  An evening full of fun and zaniness not to mention wild characters and a murder or two.  An unforgettable celebration to be sure. 

Q. You say your mysteries are best suited for groups of up to 125. Why aren't they suitable for a group of say, 200?

A. The more people you factor into solving the mystery (that's their "mission"), the louder and more chaotic it becomes. It's much harder for the prime suspects (your cast) to work the room, interact and answer questions, it's harder to get this number of people to focus. Because the idea is to move the action all around the room to draw active participation rather than just performing on a stage with a scripted mystery, more things like clues and motives are missed - there's just no way that many people can see and hear everything they need to to effectively solve the mystery and have fun. And due to the interactive and spontaneous nature of the mystery, the primary suspects can't use body microphones. I know, I've tried more times than I care to mention. Bottom line, based on my many years of experience (since 1983), the audience doesn't have as much fun as I want them too or as much fun as they would have had if they were in a smaller group. It's a lot easier for 100 guests to actively participate and solve a mystery than it is for 200. Add to that your primary suspects probably don't have any improv and acting experience (or very little) and to make them act, improvise and work a crowd of 200 is just too hard on them.

Q. How do you get the crowd to listen to you for the important parts?

A. A microphone (preferably hand held wireless) is essential for cavernous rooms or for crowds larger than 50 or 60.  Don't speak until they quiet down - this works amazingly well. Announce as best you can that you have something to say then wait. You'll find that folks will start "shushing" each other. Don't hesitate to tell them "this is my moment" - especially if you're the killer trying to confess. Ask them if they want to hear why you committed the crime then wait for them to quiet down before you speak. It's that old trick with comedy: wait until after the laugh to deliver your next line. The guidelines we include with the script includes specific suggestions and ideas.

Q. How much should the actors (primary suspects) stay in the room? Photo - Old West mystery game

A. The primary suspects, when they don't have a specific action to carry out, should be mingling with the guests and answering their questions.  They should be also directing folks to witness a scripted action and they should help in quieting the crowd down. The characters should definitely leave the room before a murder and they should leave the room when they've lost their place in the script and need to regroup. You can set up specific group meetings for that very purpose if you want.  For example, after the first murder and summation of motives or just when your guests are served the hot portion of their meal are good mini break times.  Again, the guidelines we include with the script includes specific suggestions and ideas.

Q. Should the mystery run while people are eating?

A. We ran our shows that way ALL THE TIME and we had very few complaints from our guests about not being able to enjoy their meal.  I would take a mini break during the main course so they can indeed enjoy their food while it's hot but otherwise, they'll happily eat their salad/first course and dessert in between or during their sleuthing. 

Q. Do I need to serve a dinner or lunch for this mystery to be fun and successful?

A. Nope, not necessary. You should serve beverages and perhaps some finger foods but serving a meal isn't required at all.  You can also choose to have your lunch or dinner then do the mystery although I do find that people's energy levels dip after they eat so do keep that in mind.

Photo: Next Of Kin mystery game charactersPhoto: Next Of Kin mystery game suspectsPhoto: Hawaiian luau mystery game victim

Q. Should I decorate my house or function room for the mystery?

A. You can if you want to but it's not necessary. Your guests will be so engaged with the suspects and the action they may not even notice decorations (we know from many, many years of experience). That being said, if you want to go all out and decorate, go for it! For games set in the past you might want to hide or remove contemporary items around your house or event location.  Use our resource links to research how you can enhance your event location with decorations. We particularly love Oriental Trading. And don't forget your local costume shop!

A toast to murder!Q. Should I have music playing?

A. If you choose a period mystery or a mystery that needs special effects (the sound of a gun shot for example), look for our links to period music and/or sound effects on your mystery game supply list included with the game.  You can also go to In Association with for sound effects tapes and theme music. And large libraries often have a music section, with a wide selection of sound effects.  Note: Sound effects will not be required for EVERY script. 

Q. Do you have recipes and menu ideas?Photo of a mystery game suspect

A. Whatever you plan for your dinner is fine especially if the theme of the mystery doesn't conjure up any special sort of menu or food; Prepare what you'd like and to get into the spirit of the evening simply give everything your serving a "mysterious" name.  For example: Killer Kocktails, Susie's Mystery Meat, Detective's Special: Killer Kebabs, Death by Chocolate, Deadly Dessert: I Spy Apple Pie, Lethal Leg o' Lamb, Femme Fatale Fajitas.

Click here for recipes submitted by our customers and great recipe/menu planning web sites.

If you have a question you don't see answered here or on our web site, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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