Advanced party hosting tip comin’ atcha!

There’s a strange phenomenon that happens at larger parties and events. We have observed this time and time again at larger parties of anything more than around 12 people. It’s something we call…


Yes, we know, for creative people, that’s not a very creative title, but stay with us. It started this way…

“Weird, everyone is… like… bunching around the food table!”

“Must be good food?”

“Wait, now everyone seems to be bunching around the foyer!”


“Okay, now everyone is bunching in the washroom.”

“Now you’re pulling my leg.”

“No really, everyone is sleuthing in the washroom.”

That’s why we call it bunching. But just what IS bunching?

guests bunching during parties to solve their murder mystery investigation!


Fun Fact! Did you know that Photon Bunching, in physics, is when photons all bunch around the thing they are using to look at them?

So, if this tendency is something that even photons can’t resist, what can we, as party hosts, do about it?

When hosting a larger group murder mystery party or event, we, as hosts, can control this to a certain extent by keeping the following things in mind:

1. Allow your guests to perch

People will NATURALLY bunch around the food table. This is not a cellular thing. It’s a stomach thing. They are hungry and want to eat! So, how can you stop people from all standing around the food table to eat while investigate, blocking access around the food and creating a bottle neck in one space? Create what we call “perching stations”. Ideally, these are tall tables, and spread out around your party area. This is easy at a venue – most establishments have taller tables available, but if you’re entertaining in your home, you may have to get a bit more creative. The reason why ‘perching stations’ are more ideal than having guests sit down at tables is that it keeps your guests up and mingling, verses them all sitting around at tables, which can staunch the investigation process.

A mystery party hosting tip with a watercolor background and the Shot In The Dark Mysteries lol

2. Ask your suspects to move around

With a larger group, when you have a smaller number of suspects and the rest as investigators and sleuths, if two suspects are standing near each other, this will result in a bunching effect. Ask your suspects to stay spaced out to keep the investigators spread out around your mystery party space.

3. Spread rumours

Often, we see a large group around one of the suspects in particular. This can be for a few reasons: the suspect is a 5 on our Character Complexity Rating Scale, so people have uncovered a lot of information about them; someone has asked a few key questions and that suspect is giving up a lot of information; people are sleuthing well and their investigation has all brought them back to the same suspect for clarification around the same moment. For any of these reasons, you can start spreading rumours to encourage the sleuths to talk to another suspect in that moment instead. These can be things like, “I heard so-and-so is giving up a lot of information” or, if you know something or have overheard something, spread it around to a few of the sleuths. Just be sure to keep the information in the sphere of the mystery – don’t make things up, or it could jeopardize the chances of your sleuths finding the killer!

The tendency of your guests to bunch into one area is completely natural, however you can keep everyone spread out using a few of these techniques! If you come up with any other ones on your own, share them with us! We love to hear from our hosts!

More tips for how to host a murder mystery party please!