I hosted a pirate themed mystery party last fall. I mailed out invitations to each guest that contained their identities, a “local paper” to let them in on the goings on around the island, and costume ideas. While all this information came in the game packet that I could just copy and send out, it was very plain so I typed everything up in a “pirate-y” fount, printed it on parchment like paper and tore the edges. I sent out the invites about a month early so everyone could get their costumes in order and had time to make arrangements if people cancelled. You have to get the mood going early!
During that time I got busy crafting!
I’m always making costumes so first I made sure my costume and one for my mom was finished – as the host I just put together a typical wench/tavern costume out of my costume closet. My mom was the island chief so we reconed a brown and cream dress into her costume.
Then I made nametags for each player, I used badge holders and found some skull and cross bones lanyards, in each badge holder I placed a name tag, and all the secrets and abilities for each player. The holders worked out great because all the information a player needed was right there for them. Since there were 4 groups of people, 2 pirate gangs, British governors and their family, and the natives on the island each tag also had an icon that identified them with a group – so is was easy to see who was friend and foe. I also stamped some black leather bags and stuffed them with “gold coins” to give to each player, even though the game didn’t call for money – I felt it might be more fun to encourage deals and alliances with money.
Name badges and money pouches
Some pirate-y letters
The party was held in my grandmothers beautiful old farm house, the living room has high ceilings with exposed wooden beams and a fire place – it was perfect for the tavern feel. Since the party was to be located on an island I knew I wanted a tropical feel, but wanted it to be a tavern atmosphere too where guests could drink, mingle, make alliances and find the killer.
Flying the Pirate Flag
I set up small tables with glass lanterns and candles for people to sit at. I also made some coasters out of cork board and stamped them with pirate images
A large table with drinks and another with food was also set up in the area to encourage people to move around. I made food that could be walked around with – Jamaican Jerk chicken kabobs, cheese, fruit and veggie trays, cheese fondue (one of the characters had a fear of cheese – so I made sure to have a few cheesy dishes), red beans and rice, shrimp, bread and a watermelon that I made into a pirate ship!
No one was able to guess the killer in the end but everyone had a blast and we are thinking about making it an annual event!