Updated: Jun 27
The success of your murder mystery party largely depends on your group, as such we have written a bunch of tips to help you awesome hosts hold an incredible evening.
1. Sometimes it's nice to have a short break from having your guests work out the mystery and do something like a costume competition in the middle of your evening, maybe even with a funny prize. This works particularly well with Murder at the Races where you could do Fashion in the Field, or Murder at the Beauty Pageant where you could hold a talent show (each Miss NZ contestant has a talent included in their suspect card).
2. Everyone has busy lives and unfortunately sometimes you are going to have someone pull out last minute from coming to your Murder Mystery Party. Some options to help ease the pain of this are:
o If some essential characters pull out and you have allocated a non-essential character to someone else, firstly try to see if they would be happy to switch and be a different character with an essential clue instead.
o Try to find someone else to attend. We have found friends of friends (who don't really know anyone) have had an absolutely fantastic time and said that it was a good icebreaker. The more the merrier in these mysteries.
o Get in touch with us, and let us know which characters pulled out so we can let you know if any urgent switching can be done, or we will suggest that you could print out the suspect cards and leave them (or hide them) for participants to read on the night. It's best to chat to us though, as if you as the host are participating fully then we wouldn't want you to accidentally leave the murderer's suspect card out for everyone to read
o Give someone an extra clue (this normally works best for the host to take a second clue, but again get in contact with us first so we can tell you which ones are safe to use.)
o Lastly and our favourite, is for someone to act as two characters, split personality style- This has worked great for a couple of our recent clients.
3. If you are worried about you as the host not getting to participate, do not fear! We have set up the hosting packs so that you can read the important hosting information and the suspect list and then email out suspect cards without needing to read them (or you can print and hand out, but don't look too hard at each one).
If you want to screen the characters first, then the host can still participate by allocating themselves a character. It is funny to listen in on conversations as some people might be steering everyone in completely the wrong direction. Having always known the answers (due to writing the mysteries) we can confirm its still very fun to participate even without being able to have a guess.
4. We have set up the suspect list with a legend to describe what kind of personality the character has.
o 3 stars (***)- We suggest that these characters are given to your more outgoing guests
o 2 stars (**)- For guests who are slightly less outgoing, or who maybe need a drink to loosen up!
o 1 star (*)- This character would be best suited to someone who is shy or unsure about participating.
If you allocate a character and the person ends up not really getting into character (or hiding in the corner), don't worry! There will be plenty of people who will get right into it (often the people you don't expect) and as long as everyone is subtly giving out their clues, the mystery will work itself out!
5. Take lots of photos! Often people are getting so into the mystery that they forget to take pictures, but it's always so great to be able to laugh at the photos (or videos) the next day and share them with the group.
6. Our mysteries our designed to be completed mix and mingle style. We do not recommend sitting or standing in a large circle during the evening as then quite a few people will figure out the answers to the mystery at the same time, resulting in your evening finishing early. As the host, we would recommend encouraging your guests to mingle in small groups for best results.
7. If your guests are struggling for somewhere to get a costume from, we love the following places to look for costumes:
o Look Sharp
o Op Shops
o A local musical or theatre society (we love the Alexandra one!). If your town is lucky enough to have one, this is a great place with so many different costumes for hire! What's great is it also supports local theatre at the same time.
8. If you want to purchase some sashes for your mystery (ie for Murder at the Beauty Pageant, or Murder at the Races; the Etsy Store 'All tied up' in the UK does really great ones at reasonable prices and fast delivery.
9. If you are planning on doing our Murder at the Miss NZ Beauty Pageant mystery (great for hen's parties), and live in Central Otago, then we would be happy to lone you the 12 awesome Miss NZ sashes/ Just send us an email at email@example.com.
10. For our Music Festival Murder you could make backstage passes on lanyards instead of name tags on plain labels to make it feel more like a music festival.
11. If you are hosting our Murder at the Beauty Pageant mystery we suggest stopping the mystery part way through to do the following:
o Have the MC ask the contestants funny pageant questions and have the judges rate the answers. This website has a few goodies: https://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/fix-15-funny-beauty-pageant-questions-587722/?singlepage=1
o Have the MC host the talent show. Each contestant has a talent as part of their character suspect card.
12. If you are considering hosting a murder mystery for a work function but aren't sure about how the most recent hires will go- don't worry! We have done a few parties with last minute attendees who knew no one and at the end of the night everyone was best friends! We believe having a different character to act as (other than yourself) is a really helpful icebreaker and feedback from clients in regard to newbies at work has been excellent.
13. If you are considering hosting our Murder at the Beauty Pageant Mystery for a Hen’s Party and want to incorporate strippers or topless waiters into your night- you can do this by including them as the police who round everyone up at the start of the night and lock the pageant doors and class everyone as suspects! What a way to start off your party with a bang!
This mystery is setup so that your group controls how many or how little genitalia related jokes there are- so if you are more of a low key group then this mystery is still perfect for you as well.
We hope these tips have helped!