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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Ho Ho Homicide, a holiday hit

Photo by Kellie O’Brien, ’19

‘Tis the season for family, friends, food—and murder.

I recently hosted my very own murder mystery party, which is like a live game of the board game Clue. I chose the website, Night of Mystery, a company that sells games, costumes and decorations for do-it-yourself murder mystery parties to choose a theme. To get into the holiday season, I chose the “Ho Ho Homicide” murder mystery.

While the site gives “Ho Ho Homicide” an “Adult” rating, it is also listed as “Clean,” which the company says is suited for “conservative groups and youths” as it does not contain references to alcohol, drugs and affairs.

Night of Mystery offers packages ranging from $45 (for eight to 12 guests) to $80 (for 20 to 80 guests.) I invited 17 people which exceeded the capacity of the package, but I figured I could just make up some irrelevant characters and save a few bucks.

Ultimately, I decided to go the cheapest route of all and create my own “Ho Ho Homicide” murder mystery party.

After hours of research—watching YouTube clips, reading incomplete PDF files of other murder mysteries online, and reading Night of Mystery’s very detailed “party tips” page—I felt prepared to write my very own murder mystery. However, if you wanted to save yourself a lot of time, buying a game from Night of Mystery would probably be a better option.

I channeled my inner Nancy Drew and began fabricating my mystery masterpiece. Between Santa’s future son-in-law knocking up some random woman from Cleveland and the serious snow (aka cocaine) problem Frosty had, this party was off the pole. The stripper pole to be exact, seeing as how Mrs. Frosty ran off to fulfill her dreams of dancing at the North Pole extravaganza.

Clearly, I also ditched the “Clean” rating in my game.

Creating the mystery was far more stressful and draining than I anticipated. Finding funny innuendos like reindeer taking special reindeer corn (speed) was not a problem. The real problem turned out to be flakey friends who opted out of the party after I wrote my very detailed story where every character was vital. As I learned the hard way, the first rule of a murder mystery party is not to invite flakey friends, no matter how much you love them because recasting and re-writing three hours before a party is not ideal.

Photo by Kellie O’Brien, ’19

Night of Mystery suggested various dinners I could prepare, including salmon and holiday ham. Again, I saved some money and spent $37 on supplies to make enchiladas and some sides, a much cheaper alternative to salmon.

I soon noticed that guests were not acting as their characters even though I texted them their character information three days in advance. Maybe they didn’t have time to memorize their five to 10 sentences of information and goals for the night or maybe people are just unpredictable and hard to control.

I found improvising was the key to the success of the party. Although it was difficult at first to get people into character, once they became more enthusiastic, they were dedicated to their roles. The elves began speaking in accents and someone began chanting “#SantaForever.”

After everyone introduced themselves at the dinner table, people made guesses as to who they thought would be killed and why.

Spoiler alert: Santa’s daughter, engaged to be married, along with her best friend devised a plan to kill Santa’s future son-in-law with a candy cane through the jugular vein. The best friends are seen all night carrying around and chomping down on their candy canes, the very same candy canes which appear at the crime scene.

The best part of a holiday murder mystery: You get be a kid again, reliving your childhood and the wonder of Santa. Until your fantasy gets shattered by discovering Santa’s future son-in law was killed by his fiancé’s best friend because he cheated and impregnated another woman.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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