This page is to give you some guidance on how your kids can enjoy our murder mystery party games; and alternative parties for younger kids. This first section is about choosing a suitable game, then further down there's some guidance on running a murder mystery game for a kids' party.
Way out West – We had an adult for Kate and 18-year-old for Christy, and the rest were 11 and 12. They did great and were even trying to settle the land dispute the next day at school! Stephanie McLaughlin, Texas
If you're looking for a game for younger kids, of about 8 and up, we have some of those too – not murder mysteries, but themed party games. We have three of them available at the moment.
|Monster Mash||An exciting monster-themed party game for 8–24 kids aged around 8 and upwards|
|Pirate Island||A piratical party treat for 6–32 kids aged around 8 and upwards|
|A special Halloween-themed version of Monster Mash|
Kids, children, teens, young adults… Whatever you call them, most kids have a great time playing our murder mystery games. However, while we know that all kids are different, you should be aware that there may be topics in any murder mystery game that you find unsuitable for your kids. And while you know your kids better than we do, we wouldn't generally recommend that children younger than 12 play our murder mystery games.
Dazzled to Death - Thank you so much for supplying my birthday with a bit of dazzle! As a 12 year old, all of my friends, enjoyed it so much! (I think it's the best party they've ever been to!) I enjoyed playing the part as waitress, as I was very resourceful for all my friends in need, thanks to your simple information!
These games were either specifically written to be suitable for children, or else are childrens' adapted versions of our ordinary games.
|A Dead Man's Chest|
|A Heroic Death (kids' version)|
|Way out West / Way out West Expanded (kids' versions)|
|Who Shot the Sheriff?|
Last year we played Way Out West for my daughter's 12th birthday. It was such a success that this year we played Hollywood Lies for her 13th birthday. Thank you for adapting the games down for the younger kids. Everyone I ran into for the next few days said their son/daughter had a wonderful time at the party. The kids even wore their name tags to school the next day. I can't say enough nice things about your games. I only hope that you adapt another one by next year. Actually I need you to adapt two. My son wants to have a Freeform Mystery party for his birthday too. Jill Getchell, California
My daughter's Hollywood Lies party was a HUGE hit with her friends. They came in their "dazzle wear"; we even had the "red carpet" leading up to our door for the guests. It was fun for them. The concept of the game is great for this age group – they had to mingle and talk to one another. No wallflowers were allowed! Pat Baker-Simon, USA
These games weren't written specifically for kids, but we believe they should be fine for the mid-teen age group to play. We've icluded a note of what might be considered sensitive material.
|A Heroic Death (normal version)||References to alcohol|
|Murder at Sea||Minor references to infidelity|
|Bludgeoned on Broadway||References to infidelity, some political issues|
|Dazzled to Death||Refers to a child born out of wedlock, although this is handled delicately|
|Davy Jones’ Locker||Plot about elopement, reference to voodoo and gypsy magic|
|Death on the Gambia||Potentially quite violent (simulated, not real violence!) and calls for a good deal of duplicity|
|The Karma Club||References to rock-and-roll lifestyle, infidelity and a child born out of wedlock|
|Lei'd to Rest
and Lei'd to Rest Expanded
|One character is the mistress of another|
|Lord and Lady Westing's Will||References to flirtation and a playboy lifestyle|
|Murder on the Dancefloor||Includes teen romance, gang fights, and a pregnancy|
|The Night before Christmas||Refers to a child born out of wedlock, although this is handled delicately|
|The Spy Who Killed Me||Two of the characters are rival suitors for the hand of another|
|Under the Big Top||Several characters are romantically involved with, or interested in, each other|
|Way out West /
Way out West Expanded (normal versions)
|One character is an alcoholic and saloon madame|
One thing that some of the kids said last year (they were 16-year-olds) is how much they enjoyed having a party where there was something fun to do, as opposed to standing around not knowing what to do! It really is a perfect activity for teens who want to have fun and be together but have something planned so they don't feel awkward. Betsy Abernathy, USA
Death on the Gambia – My wife and I were co-captains for 10 girls for our daughter's 15th birthday party. They had a ball. Thank you. Jeffrey Tennant, Alabama, USA
We've played your games with great success. We use them for our teenage kids' birthdays, and they and their friends really enjoy dressing up and playing. We have to end up cutting the party short – they are usually still locked in secret conversations, plotting to kill someone, stealing each other's money, and a variety of other tomfoolery. Richey Rivers, Texas, USA
We played Happy Birthday R.J. for our daughter's 16th birthday. She invited 14 of her closest friends and they had a blast. Many of the girls played male characters but that just made it interesting and they had fun hamming it up. None of the girls had been to a murder mystery party before so it took them a minute to get going but when they did anything went. It was a night that they all will remember and we hope to have another this summer just for the fun of it. Thank you so much. Mae, USA
Although we recommend looking first at the games above for kids' parties, plenty of people have run our other games for their kids anyway, sometimes with a bit of adaptation!
In the table below we tell you what material in each game you might think unsuitable for your kids, so you can make your own judgement.
|A Speakeasy Murder||Drugs, alcohol, gambling and affairs|
|A Will to Murder||Extra-marital affairs|
|Casino Fatale||Gambling and the playboy lifestyle|
|Court in the Act||Extra-marital affairs, and an illegitimate child, in the characters' background|
|Curse of the Pharaoh / Curse of the Pharaoh Expanded||The occult, an extra-marital affair, and an illegitimate child in the characters' background|
|Death on the Rocks||Includes adult references and the option of homosexuality|
|Happy Birthday R.J.||Includes references to infidelity and homosexuality|
|The Reality is Murder||Includes extra-marital affairs, and teen pregnancy|
|Snow Business||Includes references to infidelity|
Most of our games can happily accommodate a mix of adults and youngsters with no need to change anything, as long as you're careful about which characters you assign to whom. We want to make sure that everyone involved can have fun, and no-one need be worried!
I just hosted Hollywood Lies for a group of teen homeschoolers this weekend. I have to say that they had a blast! Their "movies" were a hoot! This is the 3rd year in a row that we have used your games as sort of an ice breaker for the kids to get to know one another. As usual, it was a great success. Thanks again! Janice, NC, USA
Here's some great advice on mixing adults and younger kids in the same game:
I had 2 grandsons who played Spellbound with us, one 13 and one 9 years old. The 9-year-old played Jason Bennett, and he did a pretty good job from what I could tell. He started out playing with my husband. They went over the part together at the begining of the game and then my grandson just took off and didn't seem to need any more help, while husband sat and watched!
We have generally tried to incoroporate the younger grandkids by letting them play the character with a parent alongside, so they play together. They usually come dressed somewhat alike in costumes. Some kids are more interested than others. Some pairs play the whole thing together and consult with each other; some follow their parent around, and some parents follow their kid. The younger ones usually start the game and then drift off to play with other cousins and toys in the room: in that case, the parent takes over. Doing it this way seems to work for both parent and child. The game doesn't suffer, as there is at least the parent to play if the child needs help or drops out. Cindy Haacke, Utah, USA
You might also like to take a look at Kids Party Cabin, an excellent site for all aspects of organizing a fun party for everyone!
And for a game for younger kids, you should try our friends at Kids' Mystery Parties, who have a good range of fun mystery games designed for ages 5–12.
If you've run one of our games for your kids, we'd love to hear about it! You can tell us via this form.
We used Way out West, the kids' version, for my daughter's 13th birthday party. It was a grand success. The boys and girls all got into their parts, came dressed up and really enjoyed themselves. Some of the kids worked really hard on their goals, and others just spent the whole time in "shoot outs" and recovering from being unconscious! Having something to do and a role to play made it easy for lots of interactions - which is important for the socially awkward age of 13. I just wish you had more games adapted for the kids! As a parent giving the party, it was nice to not have to worry about sending home the kids with age-inappropriate story lines (although we will be giving another murder mystery party for our adult friends and we look forward to an evening of mayhem and murder!) Leslie Blackie, California
Kids approach and play these games in a different way to adults, and it's worth considering this when you're hosting games for them. Some of the things we take for granted when running games for adults no longer apply. Here are some guidelines that we've found valuable when hosting games for kids ourselves, which you might like to consider. You know your kids better than we do, of course, and some of this may not be necessary for them – and some will be more true of 12-year-olds than it is of 15-year-olds, for example.
Love you guys. Love your games. I always had them for my teenaged daughter and her friends and they were a big hit. I was often impressed with how far young minds took their characters. Susan Bull, California
If you've run one of our games for your kids, we'd love to hear about it! You can tell us via this form.