Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mystery Party: Documents & Dossiers

The suspects in a mysterious crime, Jenna maintains, are very important.

Long before the party even saw the light of day, Jenna and I worked out the plot. Which meant establishing the crime and determining the motives and culpability (or innocence) of each of the suspects. Which meant having suspects in the first place. And, by association, profiles of those suspects. With alibis. And clues and other evidence to either incriminate or exonerate them. Anyone who's played Clue knows this.

The challenge was not so much world-building as creating a kid-friendly way to sift through all the data and stuff and reach a verdict. During a party. Within a time limit. I'll show you what we did, and then disclose how well our plan worked with the kids who played our game, in a later post.

This post is about the various printed documents we made to give substance to the plot. 

1 Document Folders
We made one for each guest. We bought open manilla folders, printed out and stuck on labels 

and taped up the sides.

The kids wrote their names on them and decorated them with the same stickers as with the detection kits.

Inside each folder, we put

dossiers of the suspects,

a suspect chart to help the kids organize their investigation

and a map of the surrounding area (i.e. the neighborhood block).

2 The Verdict Envelopes
We made two sets- one for each team.
Each set contained one envelope for each of the suspects.

Three of the suspects were innocent; their envelopes contained Try Again notes.

The fourth envelope contained a letter, written by the culprit, explaining what happened,

and included coded instructions on how to find the missing cars,

along with a photograph of the hiding place of the cars - a neighbor's house - cut into pieces.

Up next: Clues and Evidence.

Updated May 2017 to add: Many people have written to ask if I have made/will make these documents available as a printout for sale and I am happy to say yes! You can find them in this post.


  1. How fun! Can't wait to hear how it worked out!

  2. Oh my god! I wanna be invited to Jenna's party! This sounds like it would have been right up my alley when I was a kid.

  3. Do you have the printable for these wonderful activities?

  4. Do you have printables of these wonderful documents? :)

  5. These are amazing!! Do you have a downloadable document of these?

  6. Do you have links to this AMAZING activity??

  7. Hi there i think activity was fantastic!!!! I was wondering if you have the downloadables to share or even for sale.

    1. Hi Michelle, unfortunately not. I am sorry!

  8. Oh my goodness! You are so creative! *Goals*
    I was wondering if you could share what the story or the crime/scenario was that you gave them? And how old they were? :)

  9. In the first photo in this article, one might infer that shoe sizes equal shoe lengths in inches, which is incorrect and misleading. A one-inch difference in shoe lengths corresponds to a difference of three shoe sizes (ignoring the fact that men and women have different shoe size scales).

  10. Sunday School Teacher
    Have you made these documents available yet?

    1. Yes, you can find the link to buy them in this post:


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