How to Immerse Yourself in a Story
When you are hosting an event that is meant to take place in another world – like a Harry Potter party or an Alice in Wonderland tea – you’ll do the obvious preparation like putting up themed decorations and serving themed refreshments, but the REAL reason your guests will feel like they’ve actually traveled into a story is the things that you DO during the party. Here's how to create themed activities for any immersive event!
Why Are Themed Activities So Important?
Imagine that you’re the guest, and you arrive at this hypothetical Harry Potter party in your house robes, clutching your wand. In that moment between when you ring the doorbell and your host opens the door, you will have a moment of panic/hope, where your brain says, “ooh, I hope this is good! But what if it isn’t?” That Potterhead fan deep inside you really wants that door to open onto Hogwarts.
If this event turns out to be just a normal get-together at a friend’s house, where everyone stands around eating, drinking and chatting, that’s … fine … but it’s certainly not the enchanted evening your secret internal book nerd was hoping for.
But … if you have to give a password to the Fat Lady to enter the house, then you sit on a stool in the front hall with the Sorting Hat on your head and hear someone call out your house, then they hand you a Marauder’s Map of the house and you see that “classes” are set up in each room, so you go to the dungeon and make potions, then you go to Divination and have your tea leaves read, then you go to Charms and make a fancy wand with a dowel and hot glue and paint, then you go to History of Magic which is actually a Harry Potter trivia game with all the other guests … you will have a spectacular time, and you’ll remember that party forever.
HOW TO CREATE THEMED ACTIVITIES
FOR ANY PARTY
Murder Parties & Clue Hunts
Murder mystery parties are the ultimate immersive event, where guests play characters in a live adventure. Whether they're suspects, detectives, or the villain, guests at murder mystery parties have a unique opportunity to lose themselves in a world of intrigue and deception -- if the party structure is carefully hidden so the setting feels real!
Hosting a murder mystery game isn't quite as simple as purchasing a ready-made kit and following the instructions. Here's everything you'll need to know to ensure that YOUR game is transformed from a typical amusement to a memorable immersive event!
HOW TO HOST AN EPIC
MURDER MYSTERY PARTY
MURDER MYSTERY PARTY KIT
SYNOPSIS: The wealthy Sir Percy Pendleton was poisoned at a dinner party at his extravagant home. You and your guests were present that night, and have been called back to the scene of the crime to share what you saw and identify the murderer among you. Can you solve the case before the murderer strikes again?
Host a fun murder mystery party game at home or on Zoom for up to ten detective-minded friends!
Download everything you need to host a live murder mystery for 5 to 10 players (including yourself). Immerse yourself in a world of vintage elegance and affluence, romantic entanglements and jealous rivals, secrets and deception! Kit includes character packets for each of your guests, pre-party activities, custom clue videos to play during the party, personalized printables, costume & refreshment suggestions and detailed host instructions. the game is designed so none of the players know who the murderer is when the game begins -- not the host, and not the murderer him/herself.
DOWNLOAD A PAPER-BASED
MURDER MYSTERY PUZZLE
Download a series of letters, witness statements and coded messages and try to solve the mystery!
Download everything you need to solve a mysterious cold case, all in printable letter form. Read statements from the police on the scene, witnesses to the crime, and suspects in the murder. Look for holes in alibis and mysterious motives. Solve cryptic coded messages and use your powers of logical deduction to determine the identity of the murder, plus his/her means and method. Suitable for ages 12 and up.
Everyone loves a contest, especially when there are prizes on the line! Get your guests excited and involved in your event with fun challenges themed to your particular world. Some stories include challenges written right into them, while for others you'll need to give traditional games new names that reflect the storyline.
At our Last Night on the Titanic party, we created stations for partygoers to participate in a variety of activities, including a fun Morse Code Challenge where they competed to be the first to solve a coded message. Trivia games are also easy to modify to fit various themes, and it's fun to think up reasons that guests in your particular world would find themselves answering trivia questions! For example, guests at an Outlander party might be hanging out in a pub, or guests at a Harry Potter party might be taking a test in a History of Magic class.
For more inspiration as you create themed challenges, watch this video about the fun we had at our Masquerade Party inspired by the book The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. This book is full of unique activities, from whispered storytelling in the dark, to a woman typing up mini stories on scraps of paper and handing them out to guests, to guessing what an object is just by feeling it. Discussion of themed activities begins at 7:54.
GET INSPIRED TO CREATE
Popular games that are themed to your particular world are another surefire way to make sure your guests actively participate in your event. Great sources for clever game ideas include online lists of summer camp games and adult icebreaker games. Just take the basic concepts of your favorite game and change the setting or description to fit your fictional world.
For example, you can take a game as simple as keeping a balloon in the air and adjust the details to fit the Harry Potter universe by calling it Wingardium Leviosa and challenging the participants to keep the balloon aloft using only their wands. Or, there is a circle game known as Follow the Leader that can be modified for Hogwarts by calling it Guess The House Ghost. This game is played in a circle, and one person in the circle has to leave the room. The players then choose one person to be the "house ghost". The ghost then performs specific movements like snapping, stomping the ground, clapping, whistling, or making wand motions, and the other players will match these actions. The person who left the circle in the beginning will come back in and try to guess who the ghost is by figuring out who everyone is copying.
Speaking of Harry Potter, watch the video below for some clever themed game inspiration.
I start to discuss immersive activities at 8:19, and discuss the Sorting Ceremony, Hogwarts classes, Dumbledore's Pensive and Quidditch. Find out how we held a Triwizard Tournament at 17:48, and a Spell Duel at 18:48.
GET INSPIRED TO CREATE
Creating a craft together is a great way to encourage your quieter guests to get involved in the immersive themed fun. You'll find thousands of craft ideas online for any fictional world you can imagine, from the Lord of the Rings to Downton Abbey. Just make a test sample of your craft before your event to make sure it's quick and simple, and prepare any supplies ahead of time so guests can easily assemble their project and still have time to enjoy the rest of the party.
Crafts made out of old book pages are all the rage, and you can make all kinds of cute little things like a pennant banner, a paper chain, a tissue paper flower -- Pinterest is full of ideas for this kind of thing, so grab an old encyclopedia and practice making your craft ahead of time so if there are adjustments you need to make to the process, you’ll be prepared.
Get inspired with our Jane Austen Tea Party video below. Discussion of themed crafts begins at 15:10.
GET INSPIRED TO CREATE
Shop Murder Mystery Supplies
Pick up clue notebooks, award certificates, photo booth signs and more for your next party