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Hi, everyone! Technically, this is a birthday topic, since I'm planning a murder mystery party for my 30th birthday, but I knew you all would have some great, spooky ideas!

I'm actually excited to be turning 30 in a few months, but I know it's a scary subject for some, so I thought this theme would be fun. I've wanted to host one for a while now, and this is a great excuse that will hopefully be a break from the norm.

I've found some inspiration online, but there doesn't seem to be as much out there as I thought there would be. Maybe I'm not using the right search words.

I'd like to stay away from making it specifically "Clue" themed, because I want people to be able to come up with their own costumes and characters, so that it's less restrictive. I do want to use that vibe, though. I hope that's the right direction to go in - I have some very creative friends!

I'm going to send out a mysterious "save the date" with minimal information, like appropriate attire, time and date, to build a little suspense. I've loved this idea for years, and haven't had a chance to use it yet, so I think I'll go with it:
a98100_1000_invite_xl.jpg

Then, I'll send out a more specific invitation closer to the party, requesting the "suspects'" company. I'm thinking about making a video that becomes active a few weeks before. I've never done a video invitation before, so any thoughts on that?

Fortunately, I already have a collection of Halloween decorations to choose from to help me decorate!

Do you have any suggestions for planning and hosting a murder mystery? Any things to avoid? I'm still choosing between formats and stories, so suggestions for scripts or variations on the game are welcome. (I'm open to paying for a script, but so far, I haven't found many that I'm in love with.) What other games or activities could I have planned, in case the murder is solved quickly?

How about decorations? I'm thinking old, creepy mansion style, with some Addams Family-type oddities displayed. What are some projects I could work on, or existing decorations I could use? Inspiration photos always help!

Any other suggestions? Food/drink? Music to set the mood? I was thinking about renting a projector, and showing movies like "Clue" on one of the outside walls facing our back yard.

I'd love to hear any ideas you have, my creepy friends.

TIA!
 

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Ooohh! I like that finger in the box for an invitation/save the date. I haven't done formal invitations for our Halloween party, but I thought about doing a pop up card with a flickering led or two inside it to add to the effect.

hauntedhousecard2.jpg

There are several versions out there. Here is where I got that picture from (they have instructions as well):
http://ravensblight.com/HauntedHousePopUpCard.html

The videos invitations are fun, and I think there are a bunch of places that help you with them. http://www.smilebox.com/halloween-invitations.html for example.

http://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-4763975-stock-footage-halloween-party-invitation.html has some stock footage you could buy if you don't have your own, or don't have time to film some. If you want the invitation to be clue themed, you may be able to use Windows Movie Magic(if you have Windows) on the movie Clue and cut up parts to make one that's specifically Clue themed.

Creepy mansion decorations are usually available at thrift stores year round, Look for older picture frames and print out some sepia photos to go in them. Some floor/table lamps with maybe some flicker circuits. Perhaps you could find some wooden boxes to put on end/coffee tables and such. Fill them with various oddities (eyeballs, fingers, etc) and leave them closed. Let curious people discover them on their own. One of the more recent animatronics from Spirit was Undead Granny. It somewhat fits the theme, but it's expensive...

One thing my boss does at his Halloween party is a quiz of sorts. They put their main scene in their front room, and after dinner everyone goes into a room that you can't see the main scene from (family room). Everyone gets split into teams, and the first team is given the "quiz", a pencil, and 3 minutes to run into the front room and answer the questions. The questions were based on the decorations in the room, like: How many severed hands are there? What is the creepy clown holding? How much does arsenic cost? You get the idea. Each team takes a turn and the one with the most answers right in the shortest time wins toys/candy from the dollar store.

One other thing you may try is having some activity that you don't have to pay much attention to (playing clue). Then have one of the old cbs radio mystery shows playing in the background for people to listen to.
 

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One other thing I just remembered... Growing up we played life-sized clue. Everyone drew a playing card to determine if you were the killer, police officer, or townie. Around the house and outside, there were "weapon" positions with a small dim light by them so you could see. Weapons were things like a ladle, turkey baster, candle, sponge, etc. Things that would be comical and or embarrassing if you really were killed by them as an adult. There was also an oven mitt that the police officer could pick up and use to arrest the killer. You turn off all the lights and give everyone a minute to go hide. Then you walk around trying to fill your role. The killer is the only one that can pick up the weapons, and the officer is the only one that can pick up the "handcuffs". If you get killed, you can't talk and you sit/lie down and hold the weapon that killed you (get someone to go around and photograph the "dead" people for posterity/blackmail). It could be fun if you have the right group of people or if your house (or the boundaries used) facilitate people being able to enter/exit through multiple places. Because if you get caught upstairs with only one exit for instance, you are probably gonna get cornered and killed.

Sardines might be fun as well. You could set up some scares for people to find that way. Hide a couple skeletons in some spot, and explain that they were guests from the last time you played.
 
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