What does it take to have a murder mystery event with Killing Time?

Here are all the details.

Event Outline

Our murder mystery parties are intimate, personal events, with 16-30 adults in a standing, cocktail-type party setting. Killing Time productions are not mere performances where actors occasionally single out a guest or two to give the impression of involvement in the action.

In fact, with Killing Time, murder consultants, there are no actors at all! Each and every guest has a character, with an agenda to pursue, and an effect on the plot.
Two lucky guests will even be the killer and the victim!

Much of the fun at a Killing Time party happens before the murder even occurs. There are no “good guy” parts—It’s more fun to play a baddie anyway. Guests work their own angles while keeping an eye on their fellows until the murderer strikes! Once the deed is done, everyone must band together to share secrets and observations to figure out who the killer is among them! No one guest has all the information needed to solve the crime, so everyone must work together. Our parties encourage interaction, camaraderie, analytical thinking, and most especially laughter.

Of course, the killer won’t make solving the murder easy….


Event Planning Process and Timeline

30 DAYS

We suggest you book our services and send out invitations no later than 30 days before the event. Invitations are a very important part of the planning phase of a Killing Time event. Since we want every guest to have a part, we need to know how many people to prepare one for.

At this point, you should also have your location selected, whether it be your business, a venue, or your own home. Don't have a location? We will work with you to sure you select what you need.

21 Days

At three weeks, we encourage you to have your guest list finalized with all RSVPs in, be they yeses or nos.

At this point, we will have either a teleconference or in-person meeting with you to discuss the plot you’ve chosen and your guests. We will go over personalities and any “issues” there might be and decide with you who will be assigned which parts. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers here. We want our hosts to be able to play along with everyone else!

This process can take an hour or two, but the upfront work makes the party a bigger success when the guests are in the roles best suited for them.

10 DAYS

With a week to ten days left to go before the event, we will have completed a set of custom books outlining all the guests’ characters and other background information. We also will have produced a personal character guide for each guest with their own public information, secret background, and some juicy gossip about a few other guests. At your preference, we will either mail these directly to the guests, or we can send them to you should you wish to distribute them yourselves.

There is a lot here to read, and it’s ok if not every guest reads it all. (We’ve been at this a long time. We know how people work.) But by getting this information to them ahead of time, your guests will have time to plan their wardrobe and get excited. A Killing Time party is an EVENT, and the elaborate build up will help them remember it (and you, their hosts) for a very long time.

0 DAY

You need not worry about anything regarding the mystery on the day of the party. Your coordinator will be there well before the event, and throughout the evening. As “stage director”, your coordinator will help greet the guests, and answer any of their questions. We also make sure everyone knows what to do, and does it when they are supposed to. If anyone fails to show, or other circumstances threaten to “break” the fun, we are there to fix things, usually without the guests noticing. Our goal is to make sure that you, the organizer, has as little to worry about as possible.


Costs

We try to keep our costs as simple as possible. We charge the same price for an event, regardless of the number of guests you are looking at having.
We don't want you to feel like you have to cut any guests for financial considerations. Also, it is actually more work for us to do a smaller number of guests.
So, fill up that guest list!

Standard Event Pricing

Our base price for any of our standard plots is a flat $1,000, plus travel expenses if applicable (see below)

This covers everything we do for your murder mystery party, including planning meetings, extensive customization to make the plot fit your guest and venue, printing and production, mailings, props, name badges, and most importantly oour consultant there to help you set up, smoothly handle any last minute guest absences, and run the event.
A $250 deposit is required in advance to reserve your date.

Original Scenario Events

The cost for writing and putting on a new scenario to your personal specifications will vary depending on the subject matter and amount of lead time, but prices start at $1,900

Original scenarios will have all the same features as our regualar events, with the same quality printed materials, depth of plot... and fun!
Please book custom events at least two months in advance, to allow for the writing and design process.
A $600 deposit is required in advance for original scenarios.

Travel Expenses

We are based in Columbus, Ohio, and there are no additional costs for events in Central Ohio

Events held in other areas of Ohio, as well as those in the Detroit metropolitan area will require the expense of one night's lodging in a conveninet hotel, plus $50.
Events held outside this area will require expenses of hotel lodging, airfare, and $175 for car and meals.
We have fixed, flat-rate travel expenses to certain cities. See below.

We wil provide exact amounts for travel at time of booking.

  • Pittsburg, PA: $300
  • Atlanta, GA: $500
  • Dallas/Houston, TX: $550
  • Tampa/Orlando, FL: $400
  • Denver, CO: $575
  • Buffalo, NY: $485

Need an answer, have a question?

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. HOW FAR IN ADVANCE MUST WE BOOK?
  2. WE HAVE A NO ALCOHOL POLICY. WOULD YOUR "COCKTAIL-STYLE" PARTIES BE UNSUITABLE FOR US?
  3. WOULD YOUR SERVICES BE SUITABLE FOR MY TEENAGER'S PARTY?
  4. ARE YOUR MYSTERIES HUMOROUS?
  5. JUST HOW MATURE IS THE SUBJECT MATTER OF YOUR EVENTS?
  6. DO YOU PROVIDE DECORATIONS AND PROPS?
  7. ARE YOUR PARTIES "COSTUME PARTIES"?
  8. WHAT SORT OF LOCATIONS ARE GOOD FOR YOUR PARTIES?
  9. I HAVE MORE THAN 30 PEOPLE I'D LIKE TO INVITE... CAN YOU ACCOMMODATE?

How far in advance?:

We encourage hosts to plan and book their event as far in advance as possible, as dates are booked on a first come, first served basis. October thru January can book up rapidly, so please be proactive for events at this time of year. From the standpoint of getting things prepped for your event, the important consideration is to have your confirmed guest list ready about 21 days before the party.

No drinking?:

Not at all! We call for a “cocktail party” atmosphere in part because of our events’ sophistication, and their intimate size. But the most important reason is because they are the sort of party where everyone stands up pretty much the whole time! While alcohol is certainly a part of most of our events, it is not necessary for success. What is needed are refreshments of some kind. It isn’t a party without something to graze on.

Youngsters' party?:

Our storylines tend to feature adults and adult themes and motives, so we seldom market them to teenage events. We have been working to develop a Cocktail (Mocktail?) Caper for teenagers, however. Please give us a call to see how it is going.
We do not recommend our services for children’s parties.

Are your mysteries humerous?:

We certainly hope so!

How racy does it get?:

Our material (at its raciest) runs along the lines of your average prime time soap opera (at its mildest).
Let us just say that in our parties, not all characters’ marriages are monogamous, and not all business dealings are strictly business.

Decorations?:

We provide certain small, custom props as necessary for the advancement of the mystery and to help guests stay in character and in the mood.
We leave standard party decorations such as balloons, streamers, etc. to you, as you can usually procure them more cost-effectively and better in tune with your tastes.

Costumes?:

No, and yes. None of our parties require guests to dress in costume. In our experience, calling your event a “costume party” will excite a few of your potential participants, but will seem like a chore to a lot more.
We do however suggest that you encourage your guests to “do a little something to dress the part”, just to get into their role. We have found that this approach makes for the most fun, and often results in some pretty entertaining costumes, but without the pressure!

What makes a good location?:

Our parties need a comfortable space for the guests to congregate. Anything from the living room of a private home, to a large suite or adjoining meeting rooms in a hotel will do. We also need several exits from the room which lead to different areas to send people into and out of the main party during the course of events. Please talk to us if at all possible before booking a venue.

More than 30 guests?:

We place our upper limit at thirty due to decades of experience. We’ve found that any more and your guest’s brains will start to bleed… or at least we find that they actually start giving up on keeping everyone straight.
However, if you have a few extras, or people who really don’t want to participate (or who you think are likely to flake out on you) you can invite them as non-participants. Keep this number small, or you’ll end up having in effect two parties in the same room.