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What Is a Murder Mystery Party?

A murder mystery party is a themed event or party where attendees dress up to match a theme or assigned characters, and then work together to solve a fictitious murder which occurs during the party. The party guests not only have to investigate the murder, but they also become the suspects. By the end of the party, they must figure out who did it, how they did it, and why they did it. There will be clues that show the murderer, and no one else at the party, has a motive and opportunity. The most successful murder mystery parties will hire one or more professional “Murder-pros” who make sure that all of the needed clues get out, and to guide the guests in the right direction.

Murder mystery party suspects

What Happens at a Murder Mystery Party?

Murder mystery parties are an immersive experience- Not only do the hosts come in costume, but the guests are encouraged to do so as well. Sometimes there will be additional props or items of clothing that stand out supplied to particular guests who are to be main suspects in the unfolding story. This helps to identify them more clearly to the other guests.

Depending on the size of the gathering, guests will work individually or on teams to solve the crime. In addition, they can have additional goals to accomplish. These goals can serve several purposes- They can bring certain clues to the attention of the guests, they can add flavor and personality to the event, or, they can even be used to send potential detectives off on a wild goose chase.

What to Expect as a Mystery Party Guest

No two murder mystery parties are the same, but there are some common elements that one can expect.

  • The first “Act” puts things in motion. It establishes the world in which the crime is going to take place. It introduces the main characters and some of their basic relationships with one another. It is during this act that the murder will occur or be revealed (if it occurred before the beginning of the act).
  • The first “Investigation Time” occurs. This is the first opportunity for the guests to start really digging into the crime. They get to mingle, question suspects, and work any provided goals.
  • When the second acts starts, specific clues about the death are revealed, and some of the characters are interrogated for clues about themselves, their relationship to the deceased, and any reasons why they would, or would not have committed the crime.
  • The next investigation time will take place with a new set of goals and additional clues to uncover as the guests try to figure out the method, motive and opportunity for each of the suspects. The actual murderer MUST have all three.
  • The third act is the lineup. All of the primary suspects will be reviewed. Known clues will be revisited, as well as standout keys in their relationship to the deceased. The teams (or individuals) will have one last chance to ask the suspects public questions before having to solve the crime.
  • The guests will fill out a form with their final summary of who committed the crime, how they did it, and why they had to go through with the heinous act. Once everyone has their guess logged, it is up to the event hosts or Murder-pro’s to reveal who got the closest, and then the particulars of the crime by eliminating who did not do it, and then revealing who did, along with the who, the how, and the why.
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