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People enjoying murder mystery party games

Your stories and pictures from The Night before Christmas

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"I'm writing to tell you what an amazing time we had on New Year's Eve playing The Night Before Christmas! Early in December I was searching the internet for a fun game to play with a large group of people for a New Year's Eve party I was planning. That's when I came across your site. After spending time researching your site, I ordered the Murder Mystery and began having a blast reading and planning for this event!
None of our guests have ever done anything like this before, but everyone had so much fun, I'm still hearing rave reviews! I posted the pictures that were taken (we had a photographer) on Facebook with many shared pics and comments.
We ended up having extra guests and used all the extra characters you gave. We even had 2 extra people that we had help us and take pictures. EVERYONE loved it, even the photographers. They can't wait for us to do another one; I'm thinking maybe this summer.
I made props for many of the items. I made two identical dazzling diamond necklaces; I had two identical lockets and typed "forever friends" on a tiny bit of paper for the inside. I bought a stuffed monkey, put a diaper on it with a hole for the tail to stick out, I had a fountain pen, a magnifying glass, I created an FBI badge and just happened to have a picture of the person playing that character added his pic on it, then laminated it, I had a painting of a bosomy woman and made 2 extra copies for the Madonna of Generous Endowment, I used tiny glass perfume testers for the poison and created checks for Rose and Beryl on my computer. I had almost as much fun planning for it as I did the night of the event!
I just wanted you to know what a great job Tracy Bose did writing this play. Everyone was amazed how many sub-plots there were behind the main plot! If all your Murder Mysteries are as good as this one, we can't wait to do it again!"
Shannon Janssen, United States

The Night before Christmas – 04. Beryl, Agatha and Evie - Shannon Janssen


"Well, it's done ! I seemed to be permanently scouring my"notes" to check "what next", but everyone was very tolerant! And I have never heard such a wide variety of accents – often from the same mouth!
Food, I'd researched for that period and it seemed to herald the arrival and much use of Campbells condensed soups so recipes frequently contained them in casseroles – so we had Chicken a la 1948, cottage pie and macaroni cheese for the veggies; desserts included American Brownies, made from scratch, but which never set so needed to be spooned out into cups, rather than cut into 32 triangles as the recipe required!
I slept for 9 hours straight last night – never happens! – and now I don't have to think about anyone's night before Christmas, except my own!
Thank you so VERY much for your amazing support and quick responses to my emails."
A. V., Hampshire, United Kingdom

The Night before Christmas – horns made from old pond liner! - A.V.


"The Night before Christmas was the first 'whodunnit' night that I had attended, and it was initially a daunting task thinking about how to organise everyone/everything. The information sent in the pack was, however comprehensive, and the evening went off brilliantly. Everyone really enjoyed themselves (although they didn't all guess the murderer correctly), and they all want to know when the next one is going to be! Of the people who attended, a couple had been to other similar evenings, but yours was rated as the best, due to the level of interaction and improvisation involved. Many thanks for a great night!"
Chris Higginbotham, United Kingdom

The Night before Christmas – group shot. We should have taken more, but the game kept us too involved! - Chris Higginbotham


"This is the fourth Freeform Game that I have hosted and the second time that I have run The Night Before Christmas. This motley crew is getting their feet wet in your Murder Mysteries and has a ball. We used the extra characters and half of the cast had played one of the Freeform Games before and the other half was getting their first taste. The House was decorated, with lots of period holiday music setting the atmosphere. The night ended in hilarious fashion with "Evie E-B" throwing herself to the floor in despair crying "Daddy, do something" as "Great Aunt Priscilla" decided to… [censored to preserve a game secret! – Mo & Steve].
Like the other games that I have run, everyone left the house asking when the next one will be run… Your games are great, I've run this one twice, plus A Dead Man's Chest (had to write 15 extra characters due to high interest, I don't recommend 40 person casts) and Casino Fatale with the expansion pack to give this new group a taste of what your games are all about. Thanks for your eye to detail and support. We will be doing one of these every couple of months."
Jeff B., Portsmouth VA, United States

The Night before Christmas – group photo - Jeff B.


"My daughter wanted to do a Murder Mystery Game for her 14th Birthday Party so she searched the web and came up with a couple of choices for me to view. I chose to buy The Night Before Christmas with Freeform Games, kids version, and it was a fabulous hit!
I had never done a Murder Mystery Game before so I had no idea how it was going to turn out. I was worried that the kids would be confused or not willing to participate but I was completely wrong. They took to it pretty fast after I handed out their character packets and that's when the laughs started... they also took to moving around the house in pairs while they questioned each other for clues & answers. (I'd find them giggling in the laundry room or pantry for example..) it was all great fun and there was a lot of improvising as we went along. Half the time I wasn't sure what I was supposed to say or do but I would either "make it up" as I went along or show the character my cards depending on if I wanted that character to know all my secrets, etc.
I would recommend this game to other Moms & Dads wanting to host a party for their teens. (We had 12 teens attend, ages 13–14.) They all dressed up in nice clothes (boy, I wasn't sure my daughter was going to be able to convince them not to wear jeans! but it worked) We had loads of finger food throughout the game and we even stopped at one point (prior to Aunt Priscilla's announcement) to sing Happy Birthday and light the cake. "
Valerie Delzer, United States


"I'd just like to drop you a line to tell you our experiences of The Night before Christmas.
"I was part of a group of sixteen friends who had hired out a manor on the south coast of Dorset over New Year, and for one of the evenings we played the game. Whilst it wasn't actually Christmas Eve, the house was still decorated, and was obviously ideal for the game. (Antlers on the walls, roaring fires, that sort of thing. It also had still functioning servants' bells that were connected up around the house.) This was the first time that any of us had taken part in a freeform version of the murder mystery (some of us hadn't played out one at all) but everyone threw themselves into it. I had an enormous job on hand to try and keep everything under control, especially with the acting and drama backgrounds of a lot of the group.
"It did come to a head, however, when I was called into the hall. I'd decided to let people have the whole use of the downstairs, so there was much to-ing and fro-ing from room to room. When I got to the hall, there were [Character A] and [Character B] standing face to face with two pistols raised at each other that they had taken out of one of the display cases! Whilst I managed to talk them out of waving the guns around, they were insistent on a gun fight to the death, so we had them walk ten paces and turn round and shout bang. [B] being the underhand guy that he is turned round on 6 and shot [A] in the back.
"Whilst this had been going on, [Character C] and [Character D] had been playing a game of 'swap the painting'. I had three postcards of The Mona Lisa, and had signed them differently as suggested, giving one each to C and D, and placing one on the mantelpiece in the lounge area. The original went missing, and C arrested D thinking he had done it, found the second fake on him and kept that for himself. I told them that he couldn't really be arrested for taking something that's worthless, so they got let go. C then swapped fake 1 for fake 2 on the fireplace, which D found out about, then he got possession of the original thinking it was a fake, and swapped it with the one on the mantelpiece. So now both D and C had fakes, and the original was back where it had been for all these years.
"After this, there was not an awful lot left to mediate on, No-one was left poisoned, so there was no dying swan acts (which I was fairly thankful for after everything else). With a dead Character A, there was no-one to pin the murder on, but most people had guessed it was him after his pockets were turfed out to find a bottle of poison when he was shot. The non-fake necklace was returned to its rightful place (it was a quiet night with this) and given to [Character E]. [Character F] had a bit of a sulk and stormed out, disowning her family, the world and anything else she could think of.
"All in all, everyone really enjoyed it, and we didn't get finished up 'til gone midnight. (We did have a couple of 'sort the children out who were in bed' breaks, though.)
"I really think we benefited from being in an environment such as the one we were in. I did 'um and ah' about the original purchase, as there are similar ideas that can be downloaded free from the net if you look hard enough. I have to say it was worth paying for, as the free versions do not tie in as well / less planned out, etc. Thanks again, and we'll definitely be buying another, though we might have to tone down for our more humble surroundings."
Russell Peters, United Kingdom

The Night before Christmas – 01. A Sign That I Made 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 01. A Sign That I Made – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 02. All of Us 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 02. All of Us – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 03. Rose E-B Welcoming Everyone 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 03. Rose E-B Welcoming Everyone – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 04. Beryl, Agatha and Evie 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 04. Beryl, Agatha and Evie – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 05. Beryl and the Good Ole Doctor 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 05. Beryl and the Good Ole Doctor – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 06. Mephisto and Evie, Charles and Rose 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 06. Mephisto and Evie, Charles and Rose – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 07. Mephisto, Christy Crompton, Soames, James, Reggie and the Doctor 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 07. Mephisto, Christy Crompton, Soames, James, Reggie and the Doctor – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 08. Miles, Reggie and Aunt Priscilla 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 08. Miles, Reggie and Aunt Priscilla – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 09. Reggie and Dr. Bruisyard 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 09. Reggie and Dr. Bruisyard – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 10. Soames and James 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 10. Soames and James – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 11. Evie, the Dead Body and Beryl 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 11. Evie, the Dead Body and Beryl – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 12. Evie Babysitting the Monkey 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 12. Evie Babysitting the Monkey – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 13. Myself, Aunt Pris and My Husband 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 13. Myself, Aunt Pris and My Husband – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 14. Scheming 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 14. Scheming – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 15. Beryl Making Her Move On John E-B 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 15. Beryl Making Her Move On John E-B – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 16. Aunt Pris Giving the Fabulous Diamonds to Evie (She saved the Dazzling Diamonds for Dinah) 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 16. Aunt Pris Giving the Fabulous Diamonds to Evie (She saved the Dazzling Diamonds for Dinah) – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 17. A Toast to Evie 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 17. A Toast to Evie – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – 18. Prop Pics 
											– Shannon Janssen
The Night before Christmas – 18. Prop Pics – Shannon Janssen

The Night before Christmas – Christy Crompton discusses with Agatha Marbles 
											– Terence Smith
The Night before Christmas – Christy Crompton discusses with Agatha Marbles – Terence Smith

The Night before Christmas – group photo 
											– Terence Smith
The Night before Christmas – group photo – Terence Smith

The Night before Christmas – John, Angelique, James, Reggie, Christy and Miles 
											– Terence Smith
The Night before Christmas – John, Angelique, James, Reggie, Christy and Miles – Terence Smith

The Night before Christmas – Priscilla interrogated by Charles 
											– Terence Smith
The Night before Christmas – Priscilla interrogated by Charles – Terence Smith

The Night before Christmas – Priscilla making an announcement 
											– Terence Smith
The Night before Christmas – Priscilla making an announcement – Terence Smith

The Night before Christmas – Reggie Haven 
											– Terence Smith
The Night before Christmas – Reggie Haven – Terence Smith

The Night before Christmas – Rose talks with her brother 
											– Terence Smith
The Night before Christmas – Rose talks with her brother – Terence Smith

The Night before Christmas – Rose, Evie and Miles… 
											– Terence Smith
The Night before Christmas – Rose, Evie and Miles… – Terence Smith

The Night before Christmas – small group photo 
											– Terence Smith
The Night before Christmas – small group photo – Terence Smith

The Night before Christmas – Soames and Angelique Gemini 
											– Terence Smith
The Night before Christmas – Soames and Angelique Gemini – Terence Smith

The Night before Christmas – Son and Father; Patrick and John 
											– Terence Smith
The Night before Christmas – Son and Father; Patrick and John – Terence Smith

The Night before Christmas – Tracy and her monkey 
											– Terence Smith
The Night before Christmas – Tracy and her monkey – Terence Smith

The Night before Christmas 
											– Lisa Perez
The Night before Christmas – Lisa Perez

The Night before Christmas 
											– Lisa Perez
The Night before Christmas – Lisa Perez

The Night before Christmas 
											– Lisa Perez
The Night before Christmas – Lisa Perez

The Night before Christmas 
											– Lisa Perez
The Night before Christmas – Lisa Perez

The Night before Christmas 
											– Lisa Perez
The Night before Christmas – Lisa Perez

The Night before Christmas – group shot. We should have taken more, but the game kept us too involved! 
											– Chris Higginbotham
The Night before Christmas – group shot. We should have taken more, but the game kept us too involved! – Chris Higginbotham

The Night before Christmas – American rifle of the period 
											– A.V.
The Night before Christmas – American rifle of the period – A.V.

The Night before Christmas – he was a biggie! 
											– A.V.
The Night before Christmas – he was a biggie! – A.V.

The Night before Christmas – horns made from old pond liner! 
											– A.V.
The Night before Christmas – horns made from old pond liner! – A.V.

The Night before Christmas – John was a proud man! 
											– A.V.
The Night before Christmas – John was a proud man! – A.V.

The Night before Christmas – just a little local mink 
											– A.V.
The Night before Christmas – just a little local mink – A.V.

The Night before Christmas – just hanging around 
											– A.V.
The Night before Christmas – just hanging around – A.V.

The Night before Christmas – just what you want in the centre of your dining room 
											– A.V.
The Night before Christmas – just what you want in the centre of your dining room – A.V.

The Night before Christmas – group photo 
											– Jeff B.
The Night before Christmas – group photo – Jeff B.

The Night before Christmas – Great-Aunt Pris takes to the bottle 
											– Juju Vail
The Night before Christmas – Great-Aunt Pris takes to the bottle – Juju Vail

The Night before Christmas – looking formal for the camera 
											– Juju Vail
The Night before Christmas – looking formal for the camera – Juju Vail

The Night before Christmas – shared amusement 
											– Juju Vail
The Night before Christmas – shared amusement – Juju Vail

The Night before Christmas – group shot 
											– Larry Weixel
The Night before Christmas – group shot – Larry Weixel

The Night before Christmas – group photo 
											– Nancy Bates
The Night before Christmas – group photo – Nancy Bates

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