August 16, 2008
Library Program: Murder Mystery Party
A few weeks ago, I held a murder mystery party as a teen program. My hope was that teen would attend this program. A few did, but the majority of the people that showed up were the parents and siblings of my actors. Like last year, I bought my party kit at a website called Host-Party.com. This one was called The Murder Game, and it takes place in the 1920s.
The scenario is that a very powerful woman, who had her finger on almost every major industry that made money during that time, was strangled during her own dinner party. The guests were a flapper, a silent film star, a gangster, a stockbroker, a speak-easy manager, a secretary, a jazz musician, and a journalist.
The game is played a lot like Clue. Each guest has a set of clues. Based on the clues, guests deduce the who, the where, and the why of the murder.
My only complaint is that this year, the kit didn't give a lot of guidance. My last kit had a script. I thought just having the clues might be easier, but it was hard to know what order the clues should be said in. So I had to take the clues and write a script myself.
The evening went well. All the actors and guests had fun. For refreshments, different parents brought appetizers: cheese and crackers, cookies, carrot sticks and dip, and grapes. The special treat was that two parents brought the ingredients to make Shirley Temples: ginger ale, cherry juice, and cherries.
For the sets, we moved the teen furniture into the programming room and covered (with pins) the upholstery with black and white sheets. Supposedly everything was decorated in black and white. Then, I bought one Japanese paper lantern and hung it above the couch and chairs.
Each of the actors was responsible for their own costume, and they did a great job. I love doing this program because it gets the teens really involved and everyone always enjoys the kitschy humor. For research, we watched clips from the old Scott Baio flick Bugsy Malone. I also had the teens write a one-page paper on the 1920s. Lastly, they had to write a biography of their character to help them create the person they would try to be. So the program was fun AND educational.