How to Have a Truly Terrifying Halloween
When many of us think of Halloween parties, we think of uncomfortable fancy dress costumes, cheesy plastic decorations, and grimacing pumpkins which look more comical than scary. What would you give to have a truly sophisticated and entertaining Halloween do, without looking like you’ve raided your kid’s toy box?
Murder mystery parties are quickly becoming a popular excuses to dress up and have fun with friends, and are a great Halloween party alternative for grown-ups. Enjoy the game along with indulgent food, drink and electric atmosphere in your own home for a night to remember.
Murder mystery games come in several formats, so it is easy to find one right for your availability and resources. Games can either be purchased as a pack including DVD host, cards and clues, downloaded from the internet, or if you’re feeling creative, why not write your own?
Hayley Productions have produced a coherent and easy to use guide [pdf] for writing your own murder mystery party. Murder mystery games can be in any time period, or anywhere in the world you fancy, so there is never an excuse not to dress up or dream up an interesting location!
Whether you buy a pre-planned game or make your own, a murder mystery party can be flexible enough to suit your guest’s needs. Play the game around a few drinks and nibbles or a full dinner party.
Before Halloween, send each guests an invitation with a detailed description of their character. This invitation should also contain some background information on the game, so that your guests can arrive fully prepared and in character.
Once all of your guests have arrived and are settled with a drink, welcome your guests to the deliciously devious night ahead, and introduce the scene. Hand out to each of your guests a sealed envelope with more information on their character and their character’s objective. As you add those finishing touches to your dinner or horderves, guests can mingle and start learning about the other characters. After the drinks or dinner, the long awaited murder occurs!
After the host or investigator explains the scene with more clues, information and evidence, it may be a good idea to top-up drinks or serve dessert as they sleuth out the other characters. As well as taking down accusations, why not vote for a best dressed prize or best acting award? Hand out these awards after the murderer is dramatically revealed, as a climatic ending to your nail-biting evening!
To make your evening something truly special, here are some ideas for finishing touches you might have thought of. For games set in the past you will want to move laptops/tablets into cupboards and if possible, televisions into a different room, just to set the right ambience. Replace them with appropriate props which can be used in the game.
If you can, get a hold of crime scene investigation tape, which can be found at most fancy dress shops, as well as masking tape. Have these to hand before the murder occurs, to mark out the shape of the body and cordon off the area. You may also want to set up a drinks trolley or coffee table as an evidence table with notecards. This set up will provide a common location for your guests too meet, mingle, and play the game.
Of course, no party is complete without music and a few drinks! Again, historically appropriate cocktails and music are a must, but also consider sound effects like creaking doors, footsteps and screams. These may be available as part of your game set or downloaded game, but if you are writing your own game, sound clips can often be found on your local library database or YouTube.
It couldn’t be easier to hold a Halloween party which will keep your friends talking until next year. The only thing going bump in the night this Halloween is that cliché carved pumpkin, into the bin!