For our son Sebastian's 11th birthday party, Tracey and I decided to organise a Murder Mystery party. This was rather more work than we had anticipated to get the story and characters sorted out. Even so, it turned out to be a considerable success; the kids absolutely loved it! So, I have included below the plot and all the source materials I used, so that you can re-use or re-write it for your own games and parties.

Citations: what other people have done

Normally, these Murder Mystery parties are for adults, and rely on the guests reacting spontaneously (and in character) as the events unfold. This party was for 10-to-12 year olds, so I thought it best to script the entire event. So, we found that this party is suitable for children who are old enough to read aloud reasonably well, but young enough to enjoy a certain amount of shouting and running around.

I also took care to make the plot comprehensible (mostly!) to all, and to avoid certain adult themes which might confuse the kids or upset their parents.

Since Sebastian's birthday (which is now more than eight years ago) I have had a considerable number of people contact me by email at thopk46@hotmail.com to express an interest in using this material for their own parties.

So, I have made this Murder Mystery Party free to use for anyone who wishes to do so - just drop me a note to get the easily updateable versions. There's no need for any payment, although I have suggested to correspondents who asked that they might care to make a modest contribution to a children's charity of their choice.

Use of this Material

Guests at a muder mystery party I have had many reports of highly successful parties based on content downloaded from this website. See these citations to find out what other parents thought. And I would be delighted to hear of other (hopefully) successful events based on this material.

I can offer a much shorter and simplified version of the Murder Mystery Party, suitable for 9 younger children. This material is courtesy of Kent. Feel free to drop me a note in email if you are interested in using this version.

I can also offer a version of the party for 18 kids, translated into Swedish, courtesy of Anna. Again, please drop me a note in email if you are interested.

I can offer yet another version in English, this time for 10 all-female characters, thanks to Beth. Again, send me email to ask for this version.

New! And now I can provide another version in English with a 1930's train theme, for 17 female characters, with many thanks to Sarah. Send me email to get this one.

Invitations

Sample murder mystery party invitation The process starts with the party invitations. Each invitation has to be separately devised and printed, since it introduces the character that each child is supposed to adopt for the party. (This is one of the reasons why the event was so much work!)

The invitations need to be sent out in good time, to give both parents and children a chance to think about the character, as well as what clothes to wear. Some additional suggestions for parents and children to help can be found here - I included a copy of this in with each invitation.

It's quite important to know exactly who is, and who is not, able to attend the party, since I found it to be necessary to adjust the plot and character list to accommodate missing guests.

Apparently, the invitations themselves caused quite a stir at school. Some of the kids started referring to each other by their party character names!

Running the Party

Sample murder mystery guest instructions It is important to ensure that all of the guests have arrived before the formal proceedings start. So, each guest is presented with a personalised instruction sheet on their arrival. This is designed to be folded into three (use stiff paper or thin card) and sealed with wax. Also, each guest was labelled with a sticker with the character's name.

While guests were arriving, we made sure that they all got a drink (another outing for the kids non-alcoholic cocktails!). Once everyone had arrived, then they were all shepherded into one room, and got to sit down (fairly) quietly. The kids were then instructed to open and read the instruction sheet.

The master of ceremonies was Freddie Farr, Barister-at-law - played by yours truly. I managed to borrow a (real!) lawyer's gown and wig for the event (from one of the kids' father). Freddie Farr introduces the event: the reading of the last will and testament for the late Baroness Arabella Rummum, recently passed away under mysterious circumstances.

Tracey played Pinky Beasts, a local music teacher and mother to Ian Beasts (the character played by Sebastian - it's an anagram!). The other important character was Detective Inspector Herring, a bumbling local policeman, played by Sebastian's Grandad. We had a number of other helpers, played by various adults pretending to be the late Baroness's servants: Lucy Lastic, Bertha Broadbotham and Meg Mystic. (We had fun with the names!)

Each guest was introduced. Freddie Farr called out each name in turn, and the child was encouraged to come forward and read out the character introduction from the instructions. As they came forward, I played a short music clip (not included here, for copyright reasons) picked to be appropriate for each character.

After all of the guests had introduced themselves, it was time to get something to eat and more to drink. While snacks and drinks were served (by the late Baroness's servants!), each guest had to track down three of the guests and ask them each a question (as indicated on the instruction sheet). The questions and answers are arranged to ensure that each kid is asked each question by at least three other children. This makes sure that at least some of the children have additional information (for later).

After tea, the guests re-assemble with Freddie Farr. Freddie works his way through the plot - see the plot spreadsheet (download as PDF) - and the kids are encouraged to shout out with questions and answers as we reach each part marked "All" in the spreadsheet. (It got quite loud at times!) Each child has a line or two (on their individual instructions and in the master spreadsheet. The servants help the guests with the reading, if necessary - some guests were either shy or struggled with some words.

Eventually, we reached the denouement: Pinky Beasts (Tracey) is revealed as the murderer and is arrested by Inspector Herring (Grandad). Ian Beasts (Sebastian) is revealed as the long-lost son of the late Baroness and therefore entitled to the inheritance. According to Freddie Farr (Trevor), there is enough in the inheritance for a gift (a going-away party bag) for all of the guests.

Source Materials

I have included all of the invitations and instructions we used in easily downloadable standard PDF format. You could re-use and extend them for your own parties. Feel free to contact me by email if you want a more easily editable version of the materials.

You will need the master plot spreadsheet and the list of characters. The whole spreadsheet can be downloaded as PDF.

A sign for the lawyer (Freddie Farr) is here. The birth certificate is here. The instructions for grown-ups we included with the invitations is here.

Materials (invitation and instructions) for each of the kids is included below.

Rt. Hon. Alexander Snootipants
Society photographer
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Arfur Dailly
Dodgy dealer
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Mr. Basil Bossy
Postmaster-General
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Bruce Danunder
Australian Private Investigator
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Clarissa Bradshaw
New York socialite
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Classy Galore
International hairdresser and beautician
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Dollar Moss
US Racing Driver
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Dr. Sue Diggett
Famous Egyptologist
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Gabrielle Le Fee
Famous Ballet Dancer
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
George Timepiece
Eccentric Clock and Watchmaker
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Georgy Porgy
Public School Headmaster
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Rt. Hon. Phoebe "Hammy" Hamilton
Sporty Party-goer
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Ian Beasts
Adventurer and explorer
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Miss Ivory Tinkle
Famous concert pianist
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Jeff Setter
Male model
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Jerry Moneybags
Financial dealer and stockbroker
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Jules Bond
International man of mystery
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
T.J. "Lucky" Spurs
Gambler and card sharp
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Lucrecia Diva
Glamorous catwalk model
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Lydia Lite
Nightclub singer
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Madame Foo Foo
French Fashion Designer
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Mata Hairie
Retired Exotic Dancer
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Mulch the Gardener
Old Gardener
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Professor J.J. "Nutty" McNut
Eccentric Inventor
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Princess Stella of Moldovia
Continential royal princess
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Samantha Snoop
Newspaper reporter and investigator
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Trinny Haddock
TV Chef and personality
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions
Vincenzo Vincente
Italian Playboy and yachtsman
Party Invitation
Guest Instructions

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