Mystery Factory

THE ULTIMATE MYSTERY RESOURCE

KIDS MYSTERY PARTY – GAMES & FAQ

Q: 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.

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17 Comments

  1. We did Hobo Heist for my son’s 8th birthday party last weekend. There were only 4 kids, but they had a great time. I put together the whole party in about 48 hours, and with the detailed party specs, everything worked really well. It took them about 1 hour to do the whole thing, but I didn’t make the hideouts or clues very extravagant. Pretty bare bones, but they had fun!

  2. Thank you so much for talking to me on the phone. I can’t wait to plan a mystery event for my school! Your mysteries and ideas should make for a wonderful night for my students.

  3. Hello
    How many children does this sort of party work for? My daughter will be 7 and has about 20 kids on her list. Will this work for that number?
    Thanks
    Tanya

    1. Yes, it can work for any number of children. It just means you run off more casebooks for them to use. You can also partner them up if you wish. For that number of children it might be fun to get four teenagers or adults to dress up like the suspects. They won’t have to learn any scripts or anything because all the clues are on paper (or you can replace them with the actual items). Either way the costumed characters would give them someone to talk to and question and it doesn’t matter what they say or even if they say the same thing to everyone. Suspects are not known for their honesty. Let me know if you have more questions.

  4. HELP! My daughter, who will be 8, wants a mystery/detective party and I’m clueless! I have 3 weeks to get this together!

    1. Well we have an abundance of clues so no problem there! Any of our three Gumshoe Detective Agency mysteries would be an excellent choice for an 8 year old. You also have the option of putting a spy school together using the FREE Party Games listed above or purchasing Clue Hunt Buster that will easily explain how to create a fabulous mystery clue hunt – along the lines of a treasure hunt, but more mysterious. Let me know if you have any further questions, Lorri.

  5. I am looking for a detective themed party that I can do with 6 year olds . My daughter loves anything mystery related, Famous Five, Scooby Doo so I am trying to come up with something that will keep them active and still incorporate the theme. We will probably use the big open basketball court at our gym….thanks

    1. Hi Julia
      Any of our three Gumshoe Detective Agency mysteries would work well with six year old. You could read them the ‘police report’ etc and then it is just a matter of matching up the clues at the crime scene with the suspects – and no reading is required for that part so you could just turn them loose! All the suspects are identified with pictures as well as names.

      With a whole gymnasium at your disposal you could set up suspect hideouts and a crime scene rather than using the pictures only. One group blue up the crime scene photos into 6′ x 6′ banners. I have no idea how they did that but you could also just make tableaus and substitute the pictures of clues (candy, coins, etc) with the actual items for them to find and record in their Detective Casebooks.

      Another option would be to supplement the crime scene investigation with activities from our FREE kids party games http://mysteryfactory.com/kids-party-games/ and call it spy school. You could even base the whole party on the spy school.

      How’s that? Please let me know if you have any further questions.

  6. hi
    I am looking for a detective themed treasure hunt game for 10-12 year olds. would you have any ? how much would they cost? I’d like the printable version which can be conducted in our apartment complex.

    1. Hi Avni
      CLUE HUNT BUSTER is just what you are looking for. It tells you how to create a mystery hunt, including how to make the clues, that will work in your specific place for your particular age group.

      To give it a detective theme, have the players come dressed as detectives, spies or superheros and turn them loose in search for the missing valuables. You can arm them with magnifying glasses for those really small clues. Since you are creating the game you can make the clues as easy or difficult as you like. The length of the hunt will depend on the number of clues and how long it takes your sleuths to solve them.

      There is no ready-to-go game since every venue and group is different. Only you know the best hiding places and the aptitude of your gang. Check out http://mysteryfactory.com/clue-hunt-buster/ and let me know if you have any further questions. Thanks!

  7. Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for your interest in Mystery Factory!

    I can sell you the older version anytime. It will be the same mystery but I’ve realized that the instructions are really convoluted so I am tightening up the format and making it easier to set up. All of our mysteries come with on-line support so if you have any questions I can help you out. The newer version will probably be a month away.

    At Your Service
    Juanita

  8. The story always unfolds the same although it is possible to juggle the clues for a different ending. That would be only if you were using ‘real’ props and not the detective handbook included with the game. Email me your phone number if you want to know specifics and I’ll give you a call.

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