SPOILER ALERT: This post shares details of the event and identifies the murderer.
Over the past weekend we hosted our 2nd Murder Mystery Party – our guests, once again, did not disappoint! Arriving in full character and amazing costumes, it was another successful event! In 2015, our theme was set in the Roaring 20s and this year it was set in the Old West at the Deadwood Saloon…..
I followed the same process I did for the last one, sending out an email to a large group of our friends to gauge interest. Once I knew who was ready to play, I started working on the character assignments. Once again, I purchased the party through Night of Mystery which gave me a large PDF file that had everything I needed.
In the weeks leading up to the event, I sent out reminders to our guests along with the high level logistics of how the evening would work. I also provided them with a Wild West Slang Dictionary to brush up on their accents and lingo for the party.
Upon arrival, the guests entered our courtyard to find a hitchin’ post, a campfire, a saddle, bales of hay, and a jail. The Hubby did an AMAZING job decorating this area – my favorite part was the jail he constructed! We also purchased a Saloon Door Cover for the front door and rented whiskey barrels, wagon wheels, and lanterns from Lasting Impressions Party Planning that you’ll see throughout the décor.
How the courtyard looked at night…
Once inside, the guests could grab their “Envelope A” which included their 1st set of objectives, $500 in “funny money”, and their name tag. All of our guests were kind enough to bring an appetizer to share at the party – as usual, everyone delivered! Once everyone arrived, the kit I purchased provided me with an introduction that was read by Harry High-Stakes (the saloon owner) welcoming our guests and inviting them to enjoy themselves at the party.
As everyone entered the family room, they walked into what we tried our best to make look like The Deadwood Saloon. We removed all of the furniture from our family room to help make this happen. We once again rented cocktail tables and linens from Y-Knot Party Rentals. I then topped each table with a bandana and a large mason jar with a liquid candle. We also used a barn siding backdrop to line the lower half of the main wall in the room and a red plastic table cover roll on the upper half. The mantle was still exposed, so we used a variety of items to help finish the look.
To decorate the walls, we used the signs included in the kit from Night of Mystery and for the posters with characters, I Photoshopped my friends’ images over the page in the PDF file. On a few of them, I tried to make them a little more authentic by burning the edges a little – and sometimes a lot! My 9 year old son suggested burning more than the edges of the paper – great idea!
To complete the decorations, we purchased this Outhouse Door Cover for the powder room door – it was perfect!
Once I knew we were ready for “the murder”, The Hubby arranged for the lights to go off and I had set up an app on my phone (along with a Bluetooth speaker) to make the gun sound. Our victim fell to the floor and phase 2 of the party began.
Each guest was handed “Envelope B” with information about what they knew, objectives they had to complete, and some were given evidence. It was the Marshall’s responsibility (a.k.a. The Hubby) to explain the next steps and to collect the evidence. Again – all of the scripting provided by Night of Mystery.
Once the evidence was presented, everyone was given the opportunity to vote and then I tallied up the results. I then presented the award certificates to the various winners.
We also staged a “photobooth” area for our guests using the same barn siding backdrop that was in the main room. But this time, we doubled it up to be on the top and bottom of the wall. With some additional props, either borrowed from friends or rented from Lasting Impressions Party Planning this was the perfect space to capture images of everyone during the evening.
Unfortunately I missed the opportunity to photograph the delicious food that our guests brought – I don’t know what I was thinking! But, to add to our saloon look and feel, we provided jelly jars for drinks. Wine, beer, whiskey, and sometimes straight up tequila went right into these jars for our guests’ consumption. I loved it and I may still be drinking wine out of them…..
All of the characters took lots of great pictures – many of them getting a kick out of being behind bars for some of the photos! I wanted you to see the images of their fabulous costumes and our amazing group of friends!