Creating a memorable atmosphere for your murder mystery party

This page provides advice for creating a great atmosphere for your murder mystery party.

Players in the Curse of the Pharaoh murder mystery partyA costume doesn't need to be much more than a good hat

creating a memorable atmosphere

Murder mystery games are much improved if you make just a few efforts to generate the right atmosphere.

An appropriate atmosphere helps everyone with their character, and can turn an entertaining evening into a truly memorable one.

Here, then, are a few tips on creating a good atmosphere.

costumes

Perhaps the strongest way of creating a great atmosphere is to encourage your guests to wear an appropriate costume.

(Costumes look great in photographs as well.)

If your guests are finding it hard to find a costume (not everyone has the time or money to search out a good costume), a token effort – perhaps a hat, or coat – can also work wonders.

a sense of space

Where you hold the murder mystery game can affect the atmosphere.

If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find a location suitable for the game. However, murder mystery games are rarely so lucky and are usually held in homes.

With a little bit of planning, however, you can create a sense of space.

In particular, you can create appropriate names for the rooms.

If you're playing a game set on board ship, you could put a sign on the kitchen door saying "Galley," for example.

anachronisms

For period games you might want to conceal or remove anachronistic items.

Computers, lava lamps and other lightweight items can be moved to a spare room.

As for furniture and heavy appliances such as televisions and stereo systems, try concealing them with a cloth or blanket.

props

Some murder mystery games involve items such as items up for auction or books for sale.

As far as the game is concerned, these are usually represented by slips of card or paper.

However, if you have access to suitable props, why not use them?

Two caveats, however.

First, if it’s important to the mystery that nobody knows who has a certain item, it might be better keeping it as a slip of card rather than a bulky prop.

Second, and I can’t stress this highly enough, never use props for weapons. Period. It’s just too dangerous – anyone passing may not realise that you’re just playing a game and if they see someone brandishing a weapon they will call the police. It’s really not worth the risk.

sound

Period music or sound effects can be used to create an atmosphere.

Large libraries often have a music section, with a wide selection of sound effects.

However, one thing to watch is that the sound isn't too loud that your guests are struggling to hear each other.

You may also find that once the party starts the noise level gets fairly loud, so you might want to turn down any music at that point.

food

If you are preparing food you might want to provide something appropriate to the setting.

Create a memorable atmosphere at your murder mystery party

I hope these ideas have made you think of ways you can improve the atmosphere of your murder mystery party.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Don't know where to start?

Here's my suggested quick route through the site:

Step 1 - Go to Choosing a Game to choose the game that suits your party best.

Step 2 - Review the Tips for Hosts for helpful advice.

Step 3 - If you want to keep up to date with the latest murder mystery game news, click on my What's New page.

Step 4 - Once you've had your party - tell me how it went! Click here to tell me your murder mystery party story.

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