Every month, we highlight a mystery description and pictures that someone has emailed us for a FREE party!!! Here are May’s winners! Find out how to enter and win yourself here!
I cannot describe enough just how wonderful this kit is!
I had been wanting to throw a 1920s murder mystery dinner party for a while and, after reading all the testimonials, I purchased the kit, “Murder at the Juice Joint.” It was the best possible decision! I had RSVPs greater than 20 people so I purchased the kit for up to 80 guests. I only gave myself 1.5 months to plan the party, and I wish I had used 3 months instead.
Firstly, the bios were so in depth! The kit is massive, I mean 120+ pages massive. I played as Rosie Marie, the hostess, and chose to know who the murderer was so that I could best assign characters. I had so much fun reading about each person’s backstories, motivations, and connections to other characters. I spent a significant amount of time thinking about which guests would best fit the suspects– I considered their relationships and personalities in real life– and I am very glad that I did. Everyone got really into their characters and it was difficult at the end of the night to choose the best actress/actor. In the end, our fabulous Flora Nemetz-Gadora— Notorious Nick’s Ex-wife took home the prize! Also, the great thing about this kit is that even if you’re not playing as one of the 20 main characters, you don’t feel left out. The extra characters also get their own bios and motivations, so everyone feels equally included. It’s also nice for people who want to play, but maybe not take a central role. Furthermore, it’s great for those guests whom you are afraid might cancel last minute. I had one such guest and I opted to give her a side character. She ended up canceling the day of, and I wasn’t stressed at all; I was able to be much kinder to her knowing she wasn’t affecting gameplay.
Secondly, the kit came with its own decorations and suggestions. I asked friends for their old liquor and wine bottles, and using E6000 glue, attached them. They looked amazing! The Juice Joint poster we had printed out at Staples, but we opted not to print any other of the signs. I think had I gave myself more time, I would have. We printed out the old photographs and arranged them around our mirror. They added a fun touch! I also swapped out the faces on the wanted posters with pictures of guests from our party. And per the kit’s suggestion, we had our cigarette girl walk around with candy cigars and fake cigarettes. It added another element to the party and guests was able to complete their outfits with a cigarette once they paid with their “Cash”.
Which brings me to my third section: the money. The kit also came with its own printable bills, but I opted after reading another testimonial, to use a template I found online to add each individual player’s face to it– customized $100 bills! The guests loved it; it was a fun surprise. The time it took to do this was a little ridiculous, and I was so over cutting the bills by the time the party came. The testimonial said that it was a great touch because you could see whose bribes/ blackmail you were taking. But at our party, we had one totally unexpected side effect. At the beginning of the night, Rosie Marie encourages the guests to essential gain money by any means necessary, which meant bribery and blackmail. What happened at our party is that people started stealing money off the tables. And with their faces on them, you knew exactly who stole your money. This put a little damper on things, so while I would still make customized bills next time, I will make sure there is no downright thievery.
Things I learned after throwing this party:
- Give yourself at least 3 months to plan— I only planned 1.5 months out and it felt very rushed. I was printing and cutting and stuffing envelopes the night before and it was rather stressful getting everything together. Also, the more time you give guests to get a costume, the better.
- Have a separate hostess/ MC—I played as Rosie Marie but also was trying to make the night run smoothly. As a result, I didn’t spend as much time socializing and I forgot a couple of times to say the information my character was assigned. Also, trying to organize the murder scene/ light cutting meant I couldn’t enjoy dinner as my character very well. Additionally, after reading everyone’s bios multiple times to assign the characters, I found it difficult the night of the party to try to act based on only the information Rosie Marie was supposed to know.
- Have a separate photographer— I originally thought our PI Pinkerton could take photos, but that was too much for her to organize the investigation and take pictures. So I started taking them and was further removed from the gameplay. Just have one person responsible for photos.
- Have a separate bartender– We had 2 feature drinks, the Moscow Mule and Southside cocktail, which were a delicious and fun touch! But our Gino Gin was stuck in the kitchen for a large part of the party, and I helped as well, which, once again, removed us from gameplay. If you have feature drinks, which I highly suggest, just have a person assigned solely to that duty.
- DO NOT USE CANDLES IF YOU ARE GOING TO CUT THE LIGHTS— When my roommate and I tested the murder scene the night before, it looked awesome when we flipped the circuit that cuts the power to the whole house. But the day of, we had candles on the table so that when the lights were cut, you could still see and it was a little awkward. People just were watching as the victim kinda stumbled backward and fell over. Not nearly as dramatic as we hoped.
- Party poppers make great gunshot noises— we originally tried to find someone with a cap gun, but opted for these. It was great.
- Potluck— We provided Stouffer’s lasagnas, vegetarian and regular, as a main dish for the party. Those were super easy. We asked everyone else to bring side dishes and desserts as well as the alcohol ingredients for the feature drinks. We were able to throw a great party without breaking the bank.
- Give the murder victim things to do after they are killed–-We didn’t do this and I think the night wasn’t as fun for this guest after. You could give them another side character, or make them a “ghost”. I told a friend not in attendance about the ghost part and they said they would have loved playing the ghost–lipstick messages on the mirror, haunting people in creepy voices… We didn’t give this person a good enough option after and they felt like they just had to sit around and not talk to people.
I hope this is helpful for anyone interested in planning a party themselves!
Night of Mystery’s kit was so awesome that I don’t think I will use any other company.
This is also going to be an annual tradition now! People can’t wait for the next party. I cannot recommend this kit enough!
Each month we highlight one of our customers who has posted on our blog and award them a FREE party! To get your $5 coupon AND be entered in the Party Of the Month contest for a chance to win a FREE party, please email your pictures and party description to: firstname.lastname@example.org