Wednesday 28 August 2013

Way Out West Murder Mystery

August has been a quiet month on my blog.  I have been spending most of my time applying for jobs, writing selection criteria for the government applications (some of these can take almost an entire day to draft!), and using my spare time to catch up on all of the health checks that we haven't had time for (thank God for health insurance as they have been free!).  Being unemployed has been a mental and emotional challenge so The LOML suggested that we have a little bit of birthday fun to cheer me up.

Many years ago we had a couple murder mystery nights using the games "How To Host A Murder".  We hired them from the costume store and had a fabulous night of food and fun.  The LOML thought that it would be a fun way to spend the evening and after discussing it with me we decided to give it a try.  This time we searched the internet looking for a free game as the whole night had to be cheap.  He found Free Form Games, who make murder mystery games that you can download.  They have a free mini game for up to 10 people (perfect for us) as a sample game.  Having now already had the evening, I would enthusiastically recommend their games and we will by buying our next one from them. They are nice and relaxed as you don't have to sit around a dinner table like the ones we used previously, but they do require a host.

I LOVE to plan fun for people.  It gives me great joy, even more than the actual event.  So I set about planning, using ONLY the stuff I already owned (I bought only a few bits other than food!).  It has been a great way to use up old shop stock. Each couple needed an invitation along with their character book that tells them who they are, what they know, who they should talk too, and other important facts.  We thought it best that they have that info from the beginning to make the night less stressful.  However each character book could only be read by that person and no one else.

The free game was a wild west theme and I searched the internet for inspiration and pinned it all to a secret pin board, which I have now made public. Check it out if you like to print off your own ephemera as I found some great sites.  One of the best was the Duke University digital collections of old advertising!  But more on that in my next post :)

Here is my invitation ...
Way Out West invitation
It is a tri-fold design
Come to the Silver Dollar Saloon!
The part on the left introduces the scene and the characters are all listed on the right. It turned out exactly as I had pictured.  The red bandanna print was an image I printed and stuck to the front.

Next up I had to make the character books.  The LOML was the host (bartender) for the night and he didn't play the game but organised everything, including all of the printing.  He printed the character books and I then inserted them into the covers I had made, all without reading them!  But then came the hard part ... I couldn't put them into an envelope or the whole lot wouldn't fit into an envelope for posting without it looking terrible.  So I sealed each booklet with a piece of hessian/burlap and a seal made from glittery hot glue and a star stamp.

Finally!  The books are finished.
Each booklet had their character name on it along with costume ideas and their own name (I almost forgot that part, wouldn't that have been funny!).  I then tied it all together and this is how they looked before being slid into an envelope.
I LOVED the way they turned out.
 I wanted to choose my character first and I was stuck between Blaise Sadler, the local madame, or Runs Like A Deer.  In the end the Native American costume won out as I knew that I had a friend who could pull off the other costume far better than me!  Here is my character book as I couldn't photograph any of the others open and not read them!

That's me!
I used the inserts exactly as they came printed in booklet form.
Once the invites went out I had to start on my costume.  I decided not to go the authentic route as I wanted to be able to use the costume for other events.  I used calico as it is cheap (one of the few things I had to buy!) along with ribbons that I have been hoarding.  I bought the paisley ribbon at an open air market in Amsterdam years ago and haven't found anything to use it on.  I had fun sewing it on!!!!! (But I only tacked it on just in case I want it for something else)

My costume in the making!
Pop back on Thursday for the next post as I think I have shared enough for now.  I'm impressed if you read this far!

See you Thursday!


  1. You have completely pulled me in..I can't wait for the next post now! This is the kind of imaginative planning I love too: the PTA used to run when they saw me coming with another idea. Your booklets and invites are fab

  2. ooh this looks pretty cool!! Bet you all had so much fun. The preparation looks good, I'm waiting to see the costumes :) xx

  3. Such wonderful planning and dedication to detail! I love those little books and you have put so much effort into them. I am late catching up so hopefully I will find,out what happened next in a few clicks in your next post!

  4. I have a plan for murder mystery party and from your writing I found some valuable information about the murder mystery kit. That will help me a lot to arrange my party comfortably.

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