We have found that teens love murder mysteries so that’s why we do one every year. To keep it fresh, we do a different type of mystery every year.
There are several advantages to a murder mystery program. They are incredibly cheap to host. You can purchase a kit but if you have the time to write your own scripts, you can save a lot of $$$. Our murder mysteries run between $50-$100 and this is food and supplies.
Teens like to perform and chances are you have thespians among your regular teen members. Get your teens involved in the writing process. We either have one teen write the entire script on Google Docs or invite teens to assist. Once we have the script completed, we get our teen cast together and give them a script and tell them to learn all their lines. We made the script open to improve so that teens didn’t have to learn their lines word for word. This takes the pressure off to be perfect. We have a dress rehearsal two hours before the event because teens are busy and flaky and if you have too many rehearsals, you are running the risk of no shows.
By the title, you can tell that this year’s theme was a slumber party. This was during the
time that the TV show Scream Queens was on air so we wanted to capitalize on the trend. We presented it like a real slumber party thrown by the stereotypical popular mean girl, Tiffany Van Luxe. The cast included the hot jock boyfriend, the emo sister, the jealous best friend, the creepy neighbor, and the wannabe. The activities were that of a traditional slumber party including hide and seek, truth or dare, make overs, and lip sync battle.
We had our main character, Tiffany, come in costume a couple of weeks prior to the event to shoot promo pics and videos. We then promoted the event with her pics on our social media accounts. We also asked our other cast if we would take an image of them from their social media to use as posters to place around the library. The post featured their face and a tagline that asked if they were the murderer.
We snail mailed invitations that resembled a real slumber party invites to all our regulars. Mailed invites are where we always get the majority of our attendance.
We had a book display promoting the event with the preverbal “chalk” outline in the stacks.
During dress rehearsal, we took pics that could be motives. These pics were put on Instagram through out the party. During the party, we told teens to check our Instagram account for clues.
Tiffany Takeover. We had “Tiffany” take over our Instagram for the week with her snotty comments and pics.
During the party, we told teens that if they take a selfie with Tiffany and post it on their social media, she would give them candy. This is a great way to spread the word about your parties through teens.
Of course teens were encouraged to come in PJs by announcing that the best PJs would win a cash prize. We of course rigged the contest so that our mean girl host chose herself (Yes this was a bit mean but also funny).
After we figured most teens were in attendance, we welcomed them by introducing the cast and their bios. We told them that from now until the end of the party, the cast would be in character and that one of them is going to murder Tiffany, the host. Their job is to pay attention and to try to guess the murder and the motive. We also told them to check our Instagram for a vital clues through out the party. (This is a great way to get teens to check/follow your social media account).
The party began with dancing. The cast went around to all the guests in character. I
included a link to our script at the end of this post. We then did all the activities listed under “theme” and Tiffany was murdered during the lip sync battle by a someone in costume just like Scream Queens. Teens were then given a sheet of paper asking them to name the murderer and the motive.
One group guessed the murderer but not the motive because as you can guess, teens were caught up in the party and not paying attention to the clues. Even though no one technically go it right, which no one ever does at our murder mysteries, they still had a great time. Check out our script on Google Docs.
Most popular activities: hide and seek and truth or dare.
Attendance: 28 teens and a budget of $60
Food served: donuts, potato chips, and flavored water and Tiff Clique Punch.