Murder in the Dark game or Murderer and Detective - a parlour game for children's birthday parties or celebrations

5. October 2017 - Anika Semmer

Murder in the Dark Game – A Detective Game for Birthday Parties | Game Rules


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A murder takes place in a disco in the dark. Who is the murderer? Whose alibi is not airtight? The Murder in the dark game is a thrilling detective game for children’s birthday parties.

The Murder in the Dark game is a party game for children who play along with an exciting case. The detective game should be played in one room – the “disco”. There, all the children are dancing when a murder takes place. They call in a famous detective who now questions all the witnesses and sets about solving the case….

The Murder in the Dark game can be played in two different variants! In variant 1, a false alibi convicts the murderer, in variant 2, the aim is to discover a telltale clue and unmask the murderer together!

Murder in the Dark Game – A Murder Mystery Game in a Disco

  • Age: from 10 years because of the creepy effects
  • Players: 5-15 children
  • Requirements: Communication skills, imagination, perceptive faculty


Before the game starts, the game leader writes job titles on pieces of paper, e.g. hairdresser, lorry driver, waitress, sailor. On another piece of paper he writes murderer, on another detective. All the slips of paper are folded and placed in a detective’s hat or jute bag.

Variation 1: Murder in the Dark Game – Who Has No Alibi?

All the children are in a room with at least one door. There should be enough space in the middle of the room to dance and move around freely. Each child takes a piece of paper from the detective hat, unfolds it and slips into his or her role without revealing it to anyone.

Now the game leader explains to the children how the game works: The detective leaves the room as soon as he is done with his explanation and waits outside the door for the emergency call. The other children are in a disco – each one is a specific person (see map) – and are dancing. But hiding among them is a murderer who will soon, as soon as it gets dark, play the music and when everyone is dancing, murder a child. He does this in a pre-arranged way: e.g. by tapping a child three times on the shoulder, poking it in the back with his fingertip, etc. The child lynched in this way is then killed. The child lynched in this way cries out loudly and drops to the ground.

This is the distress call for the detective, who enters the room as soon as the scream is heard, turns on the lights and turns off the music. Now the detective questions each witness and tries to find out who the murderer was.

He asks each child in turn 3 times for their alibi. All the children are now allowed to invent a story as colourful as they like that fits their role as an alibi for the time of the crime. Each child tells the same story 3 times – except for the murderer, who must tell a different story at least once as an alibi.

The detective is now asked to listen carefully and to unmask the murderer with his false alibi. Who was the murderer and what gave him away?

Variant 2: Murder in the Dark Game – Which Clue Reveals the Murderer?

As in variant A, all the children except the detective, who is waiting outside the door, are in the dark disco and dancing. While doing so, the murderer changes a detail of his appearance (his clothes, hairstyle) and then murders a victim who falls to the floor screaming.

The detective and all the children except the murderer now work together to find out who the murderer was. The detective asks the children about what they observed – they should try to help the detective and, except for the murderer, no child is allowed to change anything about their appearance in order to catch the murderer together.

Before leaving the room, the detective, together with the dancers, had time to take a good look at the appearance of all the children. Which clue gives away the murderer?

If the detective and the dancers unmask the murderer, they have won, if not, the murderer is the winner!

Tip: Especially if the children want to play the Murder in the Dark game several times in a row, it is worth providing props. Each child is then allowed to take dress-up accessories such as hats, moustaches, sunglasses and gloves before the start of the new game round and dress up to match their role, which is written on the card. Now the detective and all the children should have about 3-5 minutes to memorise everyone’s new look before the game starts.

At Abenteuer Freundschaft you can find more game tips and nice kids’ birthday party ideas for example for a witch party for kids. It’s worth browsing the Leisure Ideas Finder to find great activities with kids! 🙂

Image source Cover image: The Detective by paurian under CC BY 2.0

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