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    PTA Top Tips - Organising A Murder Mystery Evening!

    PTA Top Tips - Organising A Murder Mystery Evening!

    When it comes to raising funds for school activities and equipment many PTAs are turning to social events like quiz nights and murder mystery nights to help.

    Quiz nights are fairly easy to understand, but murder mystery evenings are a little less well known.

    This week the Stamptastic team decided to ask Jo, MD of Red Herring Games, a fellow small business Saturday and Theo Paphitis #SBS winner to ask exactly how they work.

    “Murder mysteries are a lot easier than people think to run. We work with social groups like PTAs, churches, social clubs all over the globe supplying DIY murder mystery scripts that are really easy to use and provide lots of fun.” said Jo.

    Are there some that are easier than others?

    “Yes, we generally point PTAs to one of two styles of murder mystery.  The first is a sized-up dinner party style.  These are great as there are no lines to learn and you can run them with as few as 1 person facilitating as you can rope the audience in as suspects.  They run just like a dinner party.  But instead of asking questions across the table, the questions are all given to the audience members.  It’s a really simple solution for large group entertainment, and you can have anywhere between 6 and 100 guests and the same game will still work.  So if your numbers are likely to be flexible or on the low side, then these are always our first pick.”

    “The second choice is what we call “Skit and clue” style. With these you need 7 actors who aren’t members of the audience, and at least 40 guests.  During the evening the audience have two murders to solve, and they always witness one of the cast dying midway through!  Who doesn’t love a good murder?  The scripts are short.  You can run them with just an hour rehearsal before the night.  They’re easily our most popular style of script.”

    Are they expensive?

    “Not as much as you might think.  Hiring in a group to run an event for you can be very expensive, which is why we always suggest fundraisers use our DIY route.  Fundraisers can apply for our 65% discount which will take script prices down to just £52.50 to download.”

    “The most expensive part of any event is usually venue and the catering.  But most schools provide their school hall free of charge and there are lots of different ways to cater for a murder mystery event.  You don’t need to provide outside catering.  Bring and share meals help spread the cost, and there’s always the option of a fish and chip van, or pizza delivery.  There’s also no need for a full three course meal. You can run with just 1 or 2 courses, or omit the meal element altogether and split the round up with quizzes or just run them back to back.”

    What are your top tips?

    • Get a small team around you. It’s easier to organise something with a small team. 
    • Decide on your venue and meal first, and have in mind the number you want to entertain. This will dictate what sort of script will work best for you.
    • Go simple for your first event. You can always complicate things once you’ve run your first one, but keep it easy as possible the first time around and follow the instructions.
    • Pick a theme and run with it. The simpler the theme the better.  Pick something guests might want to dress up to – or something easy to decorate around to add a bit of atmosphere. Ask around the parents and teachers for objects you can use in scene setting. It’s amazing what people have just kicking about at home they can bring.
    • Make sure your tickets are priced so that you hit break even either before or at the half way point of ticket sales. Anything after half way is then profit.
    • As it’s a school – don’t be afraid to ask the children to join in as actors, or as extras like waiting staff. Parents will come to see children perform and will often bring the rest of the family too.  So, if you think your children can act, get them involved as the actors.  (Just make sure you pick an age appropriate script!)
    • Add in fundraising extras on the night. Many people forget to fundraise within the evening.  Holding a raffle is often an easy way to raise a little extra money on the night itself.  I’ve also known groups who make tables pay for extra clues, or pay a fee to submit a second answer if the team can’t agree.”

    “If in doubt, just email or call us.  We help social groups all the time to find the right script to suit them.  It’s always quicker to ask us, then spend hours searching through options.  With a few questions we can quickly get you to the right scripts and suggest options too.”


    Many thanks to Jo Smedley for demystifying Murder Mystery Evenings for us! You can contact Jo for more help at Red Herring Games


    Have you heard about The Stamptastic PTA Rewards Scheme ? It's the hassle free way of PTA fundraising! Also, why not join our Stamptastic PTA and Schools Facebook Group it's super friendly and some really great fundraising ideas and successes are shared 😀

    Other PTA Tips Blog Posts You May Find Useful:

    Top Ten Tips For Maximising Profit At Your Summer Fair

    Top Tips For Running a Quiz Night

    Top Tips For Running a Coin Trail

    Top Tips For Running a Christmas Fair



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