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A Murder Mystery Party

Throwing a Murder Mystery party will leave your guests dying to get there to see what the mystery is all about, thrilled to participate in solving the mystery, and talking about your party for months and years afterwards.

Read on for some great ideas for a fun (and safe) party for kids and adults alike.

Where

At your home - as you'll see, a murder mystery party like this may involve decorating several of the rooms in your home, or you can confine it to your basement or family/great room. If the weather is warm enough (even if cool), you can have at least some of the party on your patio or deck or back yard too. If your guests will include kids, having the party right around dinner time is perfect as it will be getting (or already) dark then, but won't be so late that the kids are losing it.

Invitations

The important part of the murder mystery party invitation is that it introduces your guests to what the murder mystery party theme and tone will be. You can go silly, as with Clue, or serious, as with a crime from real life or a Law and Order episode (with some details changed to make the solution a surprise of course). You can do famous cases or make something up from scratch. Regardless, your murder mystery party invitation gives the guest an idea of what to expect when they come to your party. Personally, I love the idea of a Costume Ball Mystery - that way everyone can wear whatever costume they want and not feel out of place in participating. You can also search for invitations (or ideas) at eInvite or FineStationery.

Costumes

While you can have a specific theme for your murder mystery party, such as Cinderella or Dead Celebrities, or Monsters, you can also just leave it up to your guests to drew up in whatever they want. Either way, costumes should be expected! Find any costume attire you need (and all the ideas you could ever want) at BuyCostumes.com. and costumeman.com.

Favors

Murder mystery party favor ideas (that are suitable for both kids and adults) can be polaroid mug shots of each guest, anything that glows in the dark (necklaces, sticks, wands, etc.), small bags of candy (maybe made to look like crime scene tape), fingerprint dust (candy), sketches of the suspects, small pads of paper (for taking crime scene notes), nail files, fake police badges, flashlights, handcuffs, whistles, etc. For kids, matchbox police cars too.

Decorations

Here is where the fun is! For your murder mystery party, you'll need to decorate your house as though a crime was committed. If kids will be around, you'll need to have any gory stuff you want to include in a room where they will not be or avoid it altogether. It doesn't have to be bloody to be thrilling!

First, general murder mystery party decorations for the food and mingling area:

-> Black, orange, and metallic balloons and streamers would look great, especially if you have the balloons filled with helium and allow them to float on the ceiling with long ribbons on them. This gives a surreal kind of feeling with dim light.

-> Of course the light should be dim. There are all kinds of halloween lighting, including black lights, cauldron lights, candles, etc. (This is for the food/mingling area; the lighting in your crime scene will vary depending on the crime you want to present.)

-> Candles on the main table as a centerpiece are great - if you use candles, be sure that kids can't get to them. There are some really neat dripping blood candles. Or you can display carved pumpkins.

-> Tableware could be black, orange, metallic, or in a nice Halloween pattern.

As for the rest of the house, you might want to only decorate one room, or several, depending on the murder mystery party crime story you decide to use or create. Here are some ideas:

-> Put crime scene tape across your front door. (Make sure it is easy for people to lift up to get in and put back for other guests.

-> In the bathroom, write a cryptic clue in lipstick on the mirror. Put a fake dead body in the bathtub with fake blood all over him (If kids are coming, you might want to skip this!) To make him, you can stuff clothes with hay or wadded up paper and use a stuffed mask for the head. You can use ketchup for blood.

-> Use glow in the dark tape to create a figure outline on a floor, or put bits and pieces on the walls to try to give the impression of spattered blood lit up with infrared light.

-> Create a room in which things are overturned and broken and where it looks like a big struggle/fight has taken place.

-> If kids will participate, a murder mystery party should probably use a "Clue" game theme and leave clues all over the house that are more kid-friendly than fake dead bodies and such.

-> You can get your murder mystery party decorations here. and another cool idea is to get a life-size cardboard Policeman stand-up to greet your guests when they arrive!

Either way, if you want to make a game out of it, the idea is to make it so guests can devise their own theories as to exactly what happened, so you'll need a "police officer" or other person of authority to read off the stats of the crime and background information to guests as they view the crime scene room(s). (Or, you can include this information on your invitations!)

You can create the murder mystery party so that there is a definite guilty person, or you can just have people create theories and select the best one to be the winner. Alternatively, you don't have to require that guests solve the crime but just use the crime scene as part of your decorating theme.

Food

There are so many murder mystery party food ideas that I can't even begin to crack the surface of what is available. You can find all kinds of ideas from Halloween, from haunted house cakes to spiderweb cookies to brain-shaped jello molds to "finger" foods (little hot dogs), etc. Just use your imagination or search online for "halloween recipes." As for crime-scene related ideas, pretty much any recipes that have human parts (fingers, bones, brain, eyeballs, etc.) and anything bloody. Also, police-type ideas include coffee and doughnuts (no offense meant to our people in blue!), badge shaped cookies or cake, and foods that are easy to eat on the way to a crime scene, like sandwiches and wraps. Get more murder mystery party ideas from the links on the Party Food page.

Drinks

Don't forget Halloween drinks! A cauldron of fruit punch, or a punch bowl of any iced drink that is good for everyone. Be sure to have basics: coffee, soda, iced tea, and if your guests like, beer and wine. If you are going to have a bar, search for mixed drink recipes at http://www.drinknation.com. They have a bunch of Halloween drink recipes.

Cake

For a murder mystery party, a cake is not mandatory, but if you want to have one, there are lots of online ideas for Halloween. I couldn't find a crime scene style cake, but a badge or handcuff shape would be cool. Check out these cake decorating resources for more ideas.

Games

Of course, your murder mystery party is built on solving the mystery, which is a game in itself. You could also actually play the board game "Clue" or "Jr. Clue"

Entertainment

You'll probably want to have some Halloween spooky music CDs. Since the crime scene will take some time, you might want to have a stereo with music rather than live entertainment. But it's completely up to you and what your guests would enjoy the most. I wonder if there's a CD with theme songs from crime drama TV shows anywhere? :) Get some ideas for murder mystery music here.

There are endless ideas for having a murder mystery party - as I mentioned, you could set it up like an actual crime scene or set it up like a Clue mystery. You could also create a Scooby Doo mystery or a mystery involving Halloween-type creatures like ghosts, werewolves, vampires, etc. It's all dependent on what type of Halloween crime party you want to have.

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