Last weekend we transported ourselves to 1926, the era of speakeasies and bootlegging, the time of pearls and the Charleston. We sent our friends hand-typed invitations about six weeks in advance (thank you to my husband for gifting me a long-desired typewriter) and then character assignments were mailed after RSVPs were received. We created this year’s murder mystery to be a life-size version of the board game Clue. For the menu I nabbed a few ideas of foods that would be somewhat authentic from that time period. I did the same thing with the drinks list. Of course none of this is exactly spot-on but it did strike a nice balance between legit and time saving. I created a 20s era playlist on the ipod to accompany the evening, which set the mood perfectly.
After introductions (or more appropriately –admiration of costuming), appetizers of Medjool dates, deviled eggs, artichoke dip and bar service we gave our guests a run down of the murder mystery. Much like the board game, a single card for each a suspect, a room, and a weapon were pulled from a pile and put into a sealed envelope. Each guest was then dealt two cards which they could immediately mark off their game cards. They were then given fifteen minutes to scour the house for clues. Similar to Clue, our house had six rooms that were used as a part of the game, each with hidden clues either in the form of paper cards, framed words or weapon props, which, once discovered, were left in place for other players to find. We had a mid-round speculation in which our guests gave a single speculation about who, where, and with what the murder was committed. Several people used this opportunity to lend faulty information to throw off the other players, but a few of them seemed to make an actual speculation based off of what they had figured out. At that point we grabbed a dinner including Waldorf Salad and Bootlegger Pizza and cocktail refills and headed to the ballroom (um, bonus room above the garage) where players were given the chance to win a clue that couldn’t be found anywhere else in the house. This meant playing one-on-one blackjack with Mr. Peacock and then, for those who didn’t win at blackjack, took a brief Charleston dance lesson from Mrs. Peacock in preparation for a 50 second recital. Although only Mr. White and Colonel Mustard lost in blackjack, the entire guest list ended up joining in on the dance and for a quick minute we had ourselves a full-on 20s style dance party. (Aside from Mr. Green, who, I think, videoed it with his phone [not era appropriate] and at some point I hope to see the evidence of this spontaneous awesomeness.) Guests were given an extra ten minutes to search the house for clues that they hadn’t yet discovered. We then convened in the Lounge for the final accusations. As guests dined on pineapple upside-down cake, neither Mister Scarlet or Mrs. Plum were able to correctly accuse all three points of murder before the murderer herself, Miss Scarlet uncovered the truth. Even she was unsure of her guilt until she opened the sealed envelop to find that she was in fact the murderer.
Thank you to each of our lovely guests. We majorly appreciate you putting such effort into finding child care, making and purchasing costume pieces and for being such fun in your participation. I already have ideas for next year’s murder mystery. We would be honored to see you there!