"The Night Before Christmas was a great way to kick off the holidays with a Christmas party. The guests (cast) really enjoyed the experience. The game was fun, involved everyone, and the subplots became more interesting than who actually done it! The recommendations on your website for how to host/play a murder mystery were critical to success of the event. I had never hosted one, and my guests had never played one either. Thank you!"
Holly Graf, United States
"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
"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 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
"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
"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 started having a Christmas party last year with a murder mystery, one you had to read a script and we all had a good time, but this year I tried a freeform game, The Night before Christmas, and everyone loved it. Everyone really got into costume. I sent out everyone's part to them well in advance I knew everyone was coming. I myself gave the welcome speech and a toast I had Dinah the cook set up to scream as soon as I said cheers and everyone came rushing into the kitchen to see why she was screaming and discovered the dead body. Someone said where is the Dr and of course the Dr came rushing in and pronounced our dummy dead, and this was the start of the game. They all absolutely loved it. Before I knew it John was telling Rose how he just didn't know the woman he married and someone called her a slut. I had so much fun myself just watching them acting out their parts. There were times I was laughing out loud and had to cover my mouth. Some of my guests were already talking about next year's party. This type of game is much better then the type you read. We loved it and will play again."
Robin Goracke, 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
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