Mystery Factory

Mystery Parties, Scripts & Writing Tips – Jokes, Quotes & Anecdotes

Gumshoe Detective Agency FAQ

Bullet Balloons 2Q: Do I really have everything I need for a kid’s party?

A: You have everything you need to play one of the Gumshoe Detective Agency scenarios. Our packages give you the ability to have a great party using only the PDF – or you can upgrade it a little or a lot, as you wish. Loot bags, birthday cake, and party prizes, etc are up to you.

Bullet Balloons 2Q: How long does it take to set up the party game?

A: It will take you a few hours to set up a complete party direct from the PDF, using our printable clues and evidence and crime scenes; if you decide to substitute real clues and Dress It Up with our suggestions and your imagination, the sky’s the limit!

Each Gumshoe Detective Agency package includes two different games that you can play together or separately. The first is a ‘Whodunnit’ in which the detectives figure out who committed the crime. The second part is a ‘Whereizit’ that can be added on; this is where the culprit also hides something that the players want to find. Usually it’s the party loots bags or some kind of treasure where there is an item for each player to take home.

It will take one or two hours to print, cut and tape the Whodunnit clues around your house and staple the Detective Handbooks together. If you are using any of the Dress-It-Up suggestions for decor and atmosphere, that will add more time depending on how fancy you get. Setting up a mystery can turn into a big party itself if you and your kids want to draw, paint or arrange hideouts for each of the suspects. One little PDF can inspire a week long event.

For the ‘Whereizit’, you decide what kind and how many clues you use. We give you easy instructions on creating the clues; making up and hiding clues can take anywhere from half an hour, if you are using two or three simple clues, to all day if you are creating an elaborate and twisted trail. And any amount of time in between, of course.

Bullet Balloons 2Q: What age of children can play the mystery?

A: On average the party is good for kids age 6 to 11 years old, although it really depends on the individual child. Younger kids also have fun hunting down the clues because you don’t really have to be able to read to play. We’ve also noticed at our own Gumshoe parties that the dads like to ‘help out’ as their kids search for suspects, clues and visit the crime lab.

Bullet Balloons 2Q: How long does it take to play?

A: The ‘Whodunnit’ part of the party is usually between 30 minutes and an hour. If you add the ‘Whereizit’ it could take between an hour and two hours, depending on how hard you hide the clues and the size of space you have to play in. If you want to add more time or  are planning activities for a weekend camp-out, family reunion, or a larger event, check out our FREE Kid’s Party Games and pick out some additional detective/spy activities for the kids to play.

Bullet Balloons 2Q: How much space do I need?

A: It’s easy to have a ‘Whodunnit’ party in a small space. Simply hang the included Crime Scene and Suspect pictures on the wall and stick the clues around them. If you have a medium size space you can set up small tableaus on table tops. Four characters and a crime scene means you need five table tops. This can be a great pre-party activity for the week before the Mystery. If you have an auditorium or larger space at your disposal then you can decorate bigger spaces with life size props. The ‘Whereizit’ can be done in a small space as well if you hide clues in places such as inside a book or under a couch cushion. The only real consideration is that if the final item is large, such as a box of loot bags, you don’t want the detectives to accidentally come across it ahead of time.

Bullet Balloons 2Q: I want to print out the clues and characters about 4/40/400 feet high. Can your images do that?

A: Wowzers! The clues and characters in our PDFs are JPG images that will get fuzzy if you blow them up too much. But we have them as scalable graphics as well, just email us and we’ll send you the files. Then you can make the pictures as big as you want.

11 Comments

  1. Hello Juanita,
    What is the difference between the DIY option vs the packages? I would love to try this out for my 6&9 year boy’s birthday party. There will be 6 -8 kids, is that too few? Thanks!

    1. Hello Kannanparekh
      6 to 8 kids is a good number to play this game. The difference between the packages and the do-it-yourself option is that the themes are set in the packages; dinosaurs & fossil or hobos & railroads or pets & treasures. With the DIY you make your own theme and suspects and clues. The package tells you how. It is more work though, so it depends on how much time you have and how much work you want to put into it. It’s fun work, but it is work. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

      1. Hey Sarah – Crime Scene Buster isn’t quite ready for launch yet. Shot me an email and I’ll get a hold of you with an alternative.

  2. Would your mysteries work for a small group of 3rd and 4th graders? (About 16 kids) I am starting a “Detective Training” club. Thanks!

    1. Yes they would! They are a few things you can do to ‘upgrade’ the mystery such as replacing the paper clues with the actual items such as real coins instead of pictures of coins, containers with essential oils to be matched to the scents at the scene of the crime and like that. Email me your phone number (email is on the contact page) if you want to talk.

  3. Can the Fossil Furor mystery be adapted or is it appropriate to use in a 4th grade math & science based classroom? Looking for a fun activity to do with my students during the fall. Also is there a way to adapt one mystery for two groups so that the clues lead to a different suspect. (I wouldn’t want one group to solve the mystery for the other) Thanks in advance.

    1. Fossil Furor can be adapted though it would take some doing. I can do it or I can tell you how to do it. For questions where there is no quick answer I prefer to talk together. It’s easier and more fun that way! Send me you number or give me a call.

  4. Would this type of mystery game work for a larger crowd? Our Science Center is having a family spy/mystery night and we typically see 150-200 guests

    Thank you!

    1. Yes, it would work. There are some things you can do to make it even better for such a large group. Why don’t you send me your phone number and we can talk.

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