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how we went to a murder mystery party more adventures in 
the realm of organized fun  |
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Not too long ago I ruminated on how my social life has now shifted into the realm of organized playtime. The latest example of this evolution: a 60s-themed murder mystery party. The real mystery for me: is it actually possible to package fun in a box?

The invitation, an eye-catching barrage of psychedelic yellow, pink and green, announced that fictional rock star Hedda Leiss (get the pun?) had invited eight of her closest friends to join her on her magical mystery tour bus o’ love as she traveled cross-country, to spread her songs of peace and sunshine at the Beefstock concert. On the eve of the tour’s kickoff, as the friends are hanging out at Hedda’s, the bus explodes, killing Hedda and leaving the friends to figure out who among them is the murderer. Two names and character descriptions, intended for me and my boyfriend, were pasted on the inside of the invitation, along with a handwritten note from our friend Stacey that read simply: "Friday night, 7 pm."

Thus began my first experience with a "How to Host a Murder" party game. Ever seen an episode of some TV show where the sitcom characters go away for a murder mystery weekend, essentially an excuse to show-off period costumes and hokey one-liners? (I seem to recall a certain "Saved by the Bell" episode … oh yeah, you know you watched it too.) Well apparently, these murder mystery games are actually available in boxed sets, allowing real folks like you and me to experience the melodrama, comedy and mayhem of a murder mystery at home. The most popular series, "How to Host A Murder," boasts the catchy tagline: "A mystery party game for eight. So much fun, it’s almost criminal!" They’re veritable dinner parties-to-go, complete with menu suggestions, character descriptions, player’s books, a murder plot, secret clues, guest invitations and costume recommendations – all designed to provide everything you might need for an evening of food and entertainment for a group of eight adults. In short, a perfect recipe, it would seem, for good, cheesy, frivolous fun.

the mystery begins ...


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