Friday, September 23, 2011

Circus Party Decoration Comment Winner!

 With the release of Murder Under the Big Top, we asked our readers to comment on what decorations they would add to our Murder Under The Big Top Decoration Ideas. 
Here's the one that won!
I have done 4 Night of Mystery parties and I think I'm most excited about the possibilities with Murder Under the Big Top. I think everyone has the idea on circus food. So, I am thinking of decor.
 **For a great, cheap decorating idea: use lots of glow sticks. Most effective is to place them inside of balloons. It definitely provides a colorful circus atmosphere laid out all over the floor. 
 **Also, my guests always love going home with photographs, so incorporating that into a 'kissing booth' is a fun idea.
 ** Two words: dunk tank.
**And finally, for the 'true' circus have to have a creepy carny walking around. (Thinking I'll invite my dad to come dress up.)
 Thank you, Tanner Fam. We will be emailing you your mystery and look forward to hearing the comments and seeing the pictures from it!

Friday, September 16, 2011

HELP! I've got too many people coming to my party!

I know, I know, you didn’t actually EXPECT that everyone you invited would ACTUALLY  be able to attend your party... but they all can! Who knew your sister and brother-in-law would rearrange their vacation plans and your co-worker would skip their bunco night just so they could attend your mystery party? Or as word of your party has gotten out and more and more people want to join in… and you just don’t want to say no.

It’s a phenomenon and undeniable at the same time. But, then again, you aren’t just throwing the same old party, you can’t expect the same old response.

HOW TO AVOID THIS PREDICAMENT: Get an accurate guest count before ordering.
To help you do this, we offer free invitations on the site that you can either send out via the post or email to your hopeful guests. Simply download the invitations, enter in your details (time, place, date, rsvp info) and send them to your guests. This will allow you to get an accurate head count before even ordering the party, causing little to no confusion about which size party version to order.

In the event you DID NOT do this ahead of time and found yourself with a smaller version of party (too few characters, too many guests) here are a few options for you.
Option #1—Purchase the upgrade materials.
If you have purchased the 15-20 guest version of the mystery, than you CAN purchase the upgrade materials off of the site without any problem. This upgrade includes a number of general character descriptions for additional guests. These additional general characters will keep their birth name (or names you give them) and they will have information about the murder, secrets to keep and objectives to complete. These characters will act as sleuths and help bring to the surface some of the hidden motives of the suspects in question. You may have duplicates of as many of these general characters are you need in order to fill your guest list. With larger parties, we find that it is important to have these extra roles to (a) make sure everyone is "involved" with the murder and (b) to help bring to light all of the possible motives for the murder. These versions are also a great way to accommodate guests who are last-minute add-ons or guests who are unsure if they are going to be able to make the party at all. Additionally, you will NOT have to redistribute your original materials sent to your first 20 guests.

Option #2 same as #3 (see below).

Option #3— Make the extra guests “investigators”. 
With the party materials offered in the smaller versions, you can still involve the additional guests without giving them roles. One successful way to do this is to send the additional guests the invite and newletter/newspiece that introduces the characters. This way, the guests are still informed and ‘in the know’ of everything that is happening. When these guests arrive at the party, provide them with money (maybe even more than the character guests) and instruct them to use it wisely to gain secrets and information on the characters at large. Additionally, inform the investigators they are still competing for “best actor/actress”, “best costume”, “most money” and “super sleuth” awards. This allows the guests to be involved with the mystery without having their own roles. (This idea came to light after a customer had a great time successfully executing it and recounted it for us here.)

Option #4– Purchase the size you intend to use.
This is our least favorite option. While we would love to honor the ability to upgrade or downgrade for a game, unfortunately, we cannot. Since our games are custom written for the size of the party (ie, we don't just create a mystery with 8 characters and then keep adding more characters to it), each mystery size is unique unto itself and must be charged that way. That being said, going from 10-15 version to 15-20 version, will not only add in more characters, but it will change the storylines of the existing characters, and vice-versa in going from a larger version to a smaller one. (This is why we strongly suggest you get a guest count before formally ordering.) Unfortunately, if you find yourself in this predicament, and you don’t want to add people as investigators (as described directly above) you will have to purchase another version of the mystery for the size you want unless you are moving from the 15-20 version to the 20+ version. Keep in mind that if you have already distributed the character information from the previous party you purchased and you switch to another party size, you will need to redistribute the character information, as it will have changed for everyone, not just the new people now included in the party.

 We understand no one likes to leave anyone out - or be left out - which is why we put this together to help you plan your party to be the best it can be. Here's to mischievous and murderous times with friends - no matter how many are there!!!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Circus Food Comment Contest Winner!

Thank you to "Castronomer" who posted these food ideas on our Circus Food Blog!
Lemonade with basil, fried pickles and ranch, carmel apples with toppings - just a few of the ideas!
I am very excited for the circus theme!

Food ideas:
Have a gourmet mustard bar along with the bratwursts and polish sausages.

Fried foods such as elephant ears, french fries, homemade potato chips, fried zucchini, and my personal favorite, fried dill pickle spears served with ranch.

Caramel apples with toppings like nuts, crushed oreos, dipping chocolate, sprinkles and mini m&ms.

Food on sticks like corn on the cob, corn dogs, beef skewers. On the sweet side would be lollipops, ice cream treats and the currently popular cake pops in bright colors.

Popcorn can be sprinkled with hot sauce, brewer's yeast, lemon pepper, garlic salt, grated cheese or taco seasoning.

Fisher scones with raspberry jam.

If it's someones birthday, you can make a tiered cake-like structure out of cake donuts frosted in pink frosting with lots of colorful sprinkles.

A table full of candy in jars for guests to take home. You can also hand out boxes of Barnum's animal crackers that have a cute circus picture on the front.

Drink ideas:
Lemonade garnished with fresh raspberries and/or mint leaves.

Other drinks can be served out of vintage bottles with labels that say, "elixers" and "tonics." This would be cool if the drinks were dyed vibrant colors like blue or green. Use Blue Curacao liquor.

Guests can drink out of canning jars with red and white candy-striped straws.

Serve bottled drinks like pop out of an old galvanized tub or bucket or an old bath tub filled with ice.

Serve food out of rectangular paper boats, or paper bags, or paper cones.
Decorations ideas:
Decorate with strings of lights and colorful lanterns. Use bright colors, stripes, and polka dots for table clothes and decorating. Put pin wheels in flower vases. Hang flag banners. You might even hang up a clothes line and hang some vintage garments like bloomers and pants with suspenders and colorful socks. Balloon animals. Sign on the bathroom that says "Elephant Bath." Any vintage furniture like trunks and chairs would be neat. You can use an old dresser with its drawers pulled out to fill up with peanuts or other snack items. You can have a cardboard head cut out with a lion and a lion tamer for people to take pictures. You can have a gypsy walking around to read peoples' palms and tell their fortunes. Have fake, curly mustaches, clown noses, and wind-up toys strewn about for people to play with or take home. Put up posters of old circus advertisements. For music, play old french accordion music.

Castronomer, we need you to "follow" the blog, so that we can contact you for your free party! Thanks for the great ideas and excitement!!! We look forward to hearing and seeing how your party goes!

For more ideas on food for Murder Under the Big Top!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Downloadable Murder Mystery Party Invitations!

Looking to get a head count before you purchase your party?
No worries! We have created invitations for you to email or send to your friends.
With each invite, you can fill out your party information (date, time, place and r.s.v.p. information) and then send it to your friends.  Not only will this stir up the excitement, but it will allow you to get an accurate head count before purchasing.
{Click Below To}

*** It's not to late to leave comments to win a FREE Murder Under The Big Top Mystery!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Winners! Winners!-- Comment Contest & Party of the Month September 2011

With the release of Murder Under the Big Top, we asked our readers to comment on why THEY should be awarded a FREE mystery. 
Here's the one that won!
Ladies and Gentlemen.....children of all ages....Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth! I can hear the Ringmaster's words ringing in my ears. I see the bright, vivid costumes of the performers, lion tamer, clowns and even black heart of our murder all under our red and white big top tent. I can smell the popcorn and peanuts. I see the cotton candy floating by like little pink clouds. How is this possible? We all know that planning a party can be as crazy as a three ring circus, but a party with Night of Mystery is an easy production, but it’s as exhilarating as being shot out of a cannon with tons of confetti! All one needs is a little creativity and a child like imagination!

This is the evening I would like to provide to our neighborhood teens at the Halloween party this year. Many of these teens have never had the opportunity to go to the circus, but with Night of Mystery...they will all have the opportunity to BE the circus!

Thank you for all of your efforts in providing good, clean fun for our teens!

Elizabeth H.
 Thank you, Elizabeth, we look forward to hearing your comments and seeing your pictures from Murder Under The Big Top!

**** If you are interested in winning a FREE copy of this mystery as well, there is still time! Just post comments on our blog about Murder Under the Big Top food ideas or Murder Under the Big Top decoration ideas!
 Every month, we highlight one mystery on our Party of the Month link on our murder mystery message board. This is September's winner!

"This was like, totally the most fun ever. Like, fer sure!

We had the Murder High Reunion party just last weekend and it was a huge success. The friends we invited all took their invites very seriously and came dressed in the perfect costume and played their parts so well...
The guy who played BA Barricade had many of my girl
friends scared of him as he acted so punk and rude.

Molly Ringworm was over the top and had everyone's attention
all night long in her shiny dress and over the top acting.

Nick Nixon arrived early so he could be the one to answer the door and welcome the guests.
He also took it upon himself to make up a bunch
of buttons for his campaign and passed them out.
He spoke of his election all night and sort of took over running the party for me which was such a wonderful surprise.

As you will see by some of the photos I submitted, I created, everyone dressed their part so well and I could spend hours describing each of them but won't.

 The actual murder mystery part of the evening started right away as everyone came in character from the minute they stepped in the door. Everyone mingled around and met their objectives...many started improvising and had some crazy rumors going. It was a great time. No one did solve the murder, but I am not sure that was due to the fact we had a lot of false story lines created through out the night or because we were all having so much fun we weren't really paying attention to clues.

As for decorations, I created a photo wall with pictures from my husbands actual 1985 hs yearbook. I found images of people I thought looked the part and scanned them, enlarged them, and then added personal tag lines about who it was and what they were up to in the photo. Everyone got a kick out of this and loved seeing what they looked like 25 years ago...
I also created a big string of balloons that was supposed to be a balloon arch for a photo spot, but it wouldn't stay up, so we mounted it to the ceiling in the main room and it looked just as well up there. I rented 4 cocktail tables from the party rental shop and moved out the furniture to make it more "club like". I used the colors of black, hot pink, neon green and neon blue in decorations, cups, plates, gift/prize bags, etc. We brought our old record player up out of storage and played awesome 80's records all night long. After the murder mystery part was done, I awarded prizes of classic 80's movies on VHS. Then we all got together and played a few rounds of the classic Quarter's game.

Received phone calls the entire next day of asking when we will have another - everyone had a great time.

To enter comments and pictures for your party, please register on our message board and post your comments under the party theme that you hosted. You will automatically be entered to win!