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Excelsior! Academy

We are hosting murder mystery nye party...

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...and would love ideas for when to serve food and how to make the evening flow in general.  We are doing this https://www.murdermysterystore.co.uk/product.asp?item=506 specific party.  I've never hosted or attended a murder mystery party.  The party has three acts with an introduction preceding the acts.  It also has a question "menu" that is required for players to hear the answers to, but can be done by mingling.

If it matters, it will be a mixed group of children and adults with no alcohol on New Year's Eve.

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generally courses are done between "acts".  how many courses do you plan to serve? I would suggest at least four - hor's d'ouvers/appetizer, salad, entrée, dessert.

we've served dessert after  - then everyone is giddy and talking about the game, and don't have to stop to go play another round.

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The only one I’ve attended didn’t have a sit down dinner, but rather a buffet with mingling for both eating and the game. They had appetizers out first, later put out heartier food between acts, and after it was all done, brought out dessert.

Although I won the one I attended, I didn’t enjoy it at all, and we’ve turned down subsequent invitations. One of the guests played her role as an opera singer to the hilt, and I ended up with a migraine. I also didn’t like that it lasted so long, and left little time to just relax and chat or play shorter games that you could enter and exit at will. But then we did it with people we don’t see regularly, so maybe it would have been different with family and close friends.

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I hosted one for a group of teens. I sent out the invitations along with the character assignments/descriptions so they could dress up if they wanted to. Some did. Some did not. 
I did print out name tags and had them on hanging lanyards so that everyone knew who everyone else was.  This is, IMO, essential. 

Some of the kids really loved it. Some were okay with it. I'm glad we assigned characters.  The game proved to be harder than I expected. I think it is a good idea to try to make sure the players will have some basic understanding of how to figure things out. I'm not sure how one does that with a variety of ages levels, but it looks like that game is set up for kids, so that should work out for you. 

 

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8 hours ago, Frances said:

The only one I’ve attended didn’t have a sit down dinner, but rather a buffet with mingling for both eating and the game. They had appetizers out first, later put out heartier food between acts, and after it was all done, brought out dessert.

Although I won the one I attended, I didn’t enjoy it at all, and we’ve turned down subsequent invitations. One of the guests played her role as an opera singer to the hilt, and I ended up with a migraine. I also didn’t like that it lasted so long, and left little time to just relax and chat or play shorter games that you could enter and exit at will. But then we did it with people we don’t see regularly, so maybe it would have been different with family and close friends.

 

Ahh!  You are scaring me.  Fortunately it is just our immediate family, dd's boyfriend, my parents and a couple that are close friends of ours so everyone knows everyone and regularly spends New Years Eve together.  There may be a kid or two that live up to their parts, but those children would anyway and everyone knows them well.  No opera singers in the list of players, thankfully!  That would give me a headache, too!!

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8 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

generally courses are done between "acts".  how many courses do you plan to serve? I would suggest at least four - hor's d'ouvers/appetizer, salad, entrée, dessert.

we've served dessert after  - then everyone is giddy and talking about the game, and don't have to stop to go play another round.

 

This is exactly what I was hoping for!  Thank you!!  

We haven't decided the courses yet.  There is a wonderful local Mediterranean place nearby that caters, so we may go that route.  Dh thinks we should do food that fits the theme better since the party is set on the Orient Express.  What do you suggest?

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1 hour ago, Bambam said:

I hosted one for a group of teens. I sent out the invitations along with the character assignments/descriptions so they could dress up if they wanted to. Some did. Some did not. 
I did print out name tags and had them on hanging lanyards so that everyone knew who everyone else was.  This is, IMO, essential. 

Some of the kids really loved it. Some were okay with it. I'm glad we assigned characters.  The game proved to be harder than I expected. I think it is a good idea to try to make sure the players will have some basic understanding of how to figure things out. I'm not sure how one does that with a variety of ages levels, but it looks like that game is set up for kids, so that should work out for you. 

 

 

Great idea about the name tags!  I am afraid that it may be hard to host in character, even though the game we purchased and the Amazon reviews say it is easy to do so. The three youngest that are playing have all played one before; it is just us old folks that are new to the game but I am hoping it is fool proof as it is heavily scripted.

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Ooo, we've done a couple party kits like this! We bought from a different company, but the theme you picked looks fun. I may steal this idea, hehe. So the kits I've gotten usually came with the food ideas and told when to do them. Like the others are saying, you have kind of a flow (snack while you mingle getting clues, play, eat, play, dessert, reveal). Fwiw, I always think it seems like too much food to have so many meals in short order and it never is. I 2nd the suggestion to give your people their slips with their info ahead. Or if they aren't the type to prepare, maybe have some props? That theme might be really conducive to props, just a single thing for each character that really helps them get in mode. I hope you have a ton of fun! 

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The one I attended also sent out character names/descriptions in advance and had name tags for the game. There were two people who ran the game, set out food, etc. who did not participate in the game. They provided a pretty elaborate bag of party themed prizes for the winner and the guest voted on by others who best portrayed their character in terms of costume and acting. I think they also gave a child version of this prize if I recall correctly.

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2 hours ago, Excelsior! Academy said:

 

This is exactly what I was hoping for!  Thank you!!  

We haven't decided the courses yet.  There is a wonderful local Mediterranean place nearby that caters, so we may go that route.  Dh thinks we should do food that fits the theme better since the party is set on the Orient Express.  What do you suggest?

we've always done food to go with the theme of the game.

if you don't want to do salad - you could do soup.

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One I went to was more buffet/potluck during the game.

One I went to served dinner between acts.  They were both great.  Do whatever seems easier to you.

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The one I hosted had three acts, and it was a sit-down dinner.  It was for my dd, who was in middle school, but I went all out with my best china, wine glasses, table linens, candles, the whole bit.  The kids all arrived in costume and in character.  They had a blast.  I served hor's d'ouvers while they mingled, waiting for everyone to arrive.  After all the characters were introduced to each other, they sat at the table and did Act 1, while I served their salads.  Salad plates were collected while they did Act 2, which was followed by the main dinner (cornish hens, mashed potatoes, fancy fresh green beans, sparkling cider).  Again, the waiter (me) cleared the table while they did Act 3, then they sang Happy Birthday and had cheese cake for dessert.  I took pictures of each of them, with the birthday girl, as they got up from the table. They had a wonderful time, they still talk about it three years later!  It was the most relaxing dinner I've ever hosted (it's easy to impress 12 year olds) and was good practice for me.  

If you plan to participate in the drama, definitely have someone there to serve.  Oh, we had one extra person (my elder dc) who dressed as an FBI agent and facilitated the "investigation".  That worked really well.

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21 hours ago, Suzanne in ABQ said:

The one I hosted had three acts, and it was a sit-down dinner.  It was for my dd, who was in middle school, but I went all out with my best china, wine glasses, table linens, candles, the whole bit.  The kids all arrived in costume and in character.  They had a blast.  I served hor's d'ouvers while they mingled, waiting for everyone to arrive.  After all the characters were introduced to each other, they sat at the table and did Act 1, while I served their salads.  Salad plates were collected while they did Act 2, which was followed by the main dinner (cornish hens, mashed potatoes, fancy fresh green beans, sparkling cider).  Again, the waiter (me) cleared the table while they did Act 3, then they sang Happy Birthday and had cheese cake for dessert.  I took pictures of each of them, with the birthday girl, as they got up from the table. They had a wonderful time, they still talk about it three years later!  It was the most relaxing dinner I've ever hosted (it's easy to impress 12 year olds) and was good practice for me.  

If you plan to participate in the drama, definitely have someone there to serve.  Oh, we had one extra person (my elder dc) who dressed as an FBI agent and facilitated the "investigation".  That worked really well.

 

Thank you for the break down.  You make it sound so doable!  I'm happy to hear your party went so well!

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