We do a murder mystery once a year because the teen love it and it’s cheap. It does, however, take a lot of work.
Every year we change the theme just to keep it fresh. The 2016 theme was a Pajama Party and this year’s theme was Library Horror Story. We chose this theme after a recent survey at school visits. One of the most popular TV shows among these teens was American Horror Story.
Budget: $175 (All of this was the cost of pizza, chips, dessert, and beverages. You don’t have to serve food.)
Attendance: 32 (Mostly high school)
Theme: We marketed the murder mystery as Library Horror Story but the actual theme was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. We did not tell teens it was based on the Christie novel but our teen actors were aware.
We stuck to the overall premise of the Christie novel. We sent out invitations to our teen regulars and included additional invites to give to friends. In the pictures below is a character card where teens could come dressed in character and they were asked to stay in character the duration of the party. Of course this was optional. The invite also included one clue.
It was marketed as a dinner party. We began with dinner and the remainder of the party was traditional party games-charades; celebrity; sardines (hide and seek). The party ended with the guessing of the killer and the motive.
If you are familiar with And Then There Were None, great. If not, it’s difficult to describe so I suggest you watch the movie or the recent two part tv movie.
We had seven teen volunteers and five of the teens were suspects. The other two teens were the wait staff. Each suspect had to stay in character for the duration of dinner (3o minutes). After 30 minutes, we played a recording-very similar to the novel. FYI-we created a perfectly timed playlist on Youtube and the recording was part of the playlist. We played the playlist through dinner and the wait staff informed our suspects when to sit to get ready for the recording.
During each of the party games, the suspects were being killed off one by one. If you are familiar with the novel, you know that all the suspects die but one faked their death.
Here’s the Google Doc to the script. Here’s the Google Doc to the minute by minute outline that staff used. Feel free to use them. If you decide to change them, please save a copy in your own Google Drive first before you edit. Thanks.
Here’s the recording that’s played after dinner. Excuse the All The Bright Places book cover. You can’t add an MP3 to iMovie without an image.
Here’s a summary video