Murder Mystery Party Kit Details

The Thing in the Cellar - 30 Minute Mystery


Preview Game Kit

The Thing in the Cellar

Add intrigue to your next party with this mystery game, set at a haunted house.
Format: 30 Minute Mystery
Setting: Haunted house
Players: 8-16 (Standard Game)
17-100+ (Expanded Game)
Time: 30+ minutes
Ages: Family / Children
Friendly monsters work together to solve a Halloween mystery.


The guests will be playing the roles of monsters sharing a haunted house. Every year, the monsters open their home on 213 Elm Street to the public on Halloween for a fright-filled haunted house tour. They use the proceeds from the haunted house to buy household supplies for the rest of year, during which time the house stays boarded up and we stay inside. If the townspeople ever discovered the monsters in the haunted house were real, they would certainly drive them away – or worse.

The success of the haunted house hinges on a climactic scene in the cellar, when The Thing is revealed. Advertised for hundreds of miles on every billboard in every direction – “See The Thing!” “What is The Thing? See for Yourself!” – thrill-seekers and the merely curious come from distant cities to see The Thing, and it never disappoints. Those who have seen The Thing eagerly attest that it is the scariest sight they have witnessed in their entire lives. No one seems able to describe The Thing, and they all agree: you have to see it for yourself.

Solving the Mystery:

It is the night before Halloween, and the monsters have just discovered that the key to the cellar where The Thing is kept is missing – someone has stolen it! Without The Thing, the haunted house will be a failure, the monsters’ reputations will be ruined, and they won’t have enough money to buy supplies for the rest of the year. How will they live and keep their identities secret? They have to find the key!

Murder-free and family friendly!


There are 8 primary characters in this game. Read the "How to Play" section for instructions on how to play this game with more than 8 people.

  • Rex Tuttle: A mummy. Pretentious and a bit prim, Rex likes to remind everyone that he was once The Thing, and not just on Halloween - his gas station shrine was open all year!
  • Lee Walker: A former mall employee, Lee was bitten by a zombie shopper last Christmas, eventually ending up at 213 Elm Street with a strange craving for brains.
  • Frank Stein: A reanimated corpse, the result of a science experiment gone awry. A kindhearted simpleton, he doesn’t know his own strength. Married to Elaine Stein.
  • Elaine Stein: Also a corpse reanimated in the name of science, she is the unhappy wife of Frank Stein.
  • Earl King: A goblin who stands only three feet tall, he is the smallest member of the household – and also the loudest and most annoying. He is always playing tricks on his housemates and bragging about his greatness.
  • Cameron Vaduva: A bewitchingly attractive vampire who wants little to do with the other residents of the house.
  • Waylon Lupescu: Burly, boastful, and swaggering, Waylon is a giant of a man with bulging muscles and rough-hewn features. Every full moon, he turns into a fearsome wolf-like beast.
  • Terry White: A ghost. Kind, gentle, and non-corporeal, Terry chose to move to 213 Elm Street after trying unsuccessfully to live peacefully with several living families.

Extra Players

  • Investigator: If you have more than 8 players, additional players have the option of playing the role of "Investigators". In this role the players are not suspects and do not have character backgrounds but can question the suspects and try to solve the mystery along with the other players.
How to Play

Our line of 30 Minute Mysteries is specially designed for fast setup and easy play. All you need to do to get started is:

  1. Print out the party guide
  2. Gather a group of players
  3. Hand out character sheets and name tags
  4. Follow the party guide instructions

Best of all, the party facilitator can choose whether they join in the game and solve the mystery along with the other guests!

Playing the Game

While this mystery has 8 primary characters, it is designed to accommodate any number of additional players. See the "Expanded Game for Large Groups" section below if you have more than 8 players.

Each of the players will be assigned a character and given a character sheet that explains who or what their character is, what information their character knows, and how their character should respond to events that occur during the game.

The game will progress in rounds.

Round One will start with the party's host or hostess reading a script that explains the nature of the mystery that is afoot. After the introduction is read, each player at the table will share a piece of information from their character sheet, and all the other players will have an opportunity to respond to that piece of information.

Round Two begins with the host sharing a clue that should shed further light on the mystery. After the clue is revealed, the players will once again go around the table, providing another piece of information and then responding.

Round Three, the final round, begins with the host sharing the last clue. The players then go around the table a final time, sharing their last piece of information and responding to each other.

By this point, the players should have learned enough information to be able to piece together a theory about who was responsible for the murder. Each player (or team) will say the name of the person who they think is responsible. The host will then read the final page of the mystery aloud, revealing the culprit. Any player or couple who correctly guessed the identity of the killer is declared a winner.

From start to finish, the entire game should generally only require half an hour to complete.

Note: As the host or hostess, there are certain times when you will be called upon to read aloud passages from this booklet. Passages that are meant to be read aloud will be clearly labeled and contained in a gray box.

What Do I Need in Order to Play?

Our 30 Minute Mysteries are specifically designed to not require very much in the way of supplies. All you really need is:

  • a table to sit around (or a large playing area where the guests can sit in a circle)
  • a group of players (minimum 8 people)
  • a printed copy of this booklet
  • a pair of scissors (to cut out nametag placards for each character)
  • pencils or pens for each player


  • Scratch paper (for players to take notes on)
  • Folders (to help players conceal their character sheets)

If you wish to do so, you may also choose to provide prizes for the winner or winners (any players who accurately identify the culprit). Some suggested prizes might include candy, bath and body products, homemade treats or any other small, inexpensive gift item; remember that it is possible for multiple players to win, so if you choose to offer prizes, make sure you have enough on hand!

Expanded Game For Large Groups

If you have more than 8 players, there are three ways that you can accommodate everyone:

  • Investigator Role - Using this method, eight guests play the primary characters while the remainder of the guests each play the Investigator role. Players in this role are not suspects and do not have character backgrounds but can question the suspects and try to solve the mystery along with the other players.
  • Teams - Each primary character can be played by 2 or more people that work together as a team. This works well if you've invited several couples to your event, but also works if you break up your guests into eight larger teams of 3 or more guests.
  • Multiple Groups - If you have 16 or more guests, you can break them up into groups of 8 players and run multiple instances of the game on their own. This method is best for large events (e.g. fundraisers) where each table of people can play through the game independently. This method goes well with the Investigator method, which allows you the flexibility to add more than 8 people to any group.

Both the standard and expanded games are included with the purchase of any game kit.

What's Included

The Thing in the Cellar is a 26-page downloadable PDF file that you print at home. It includes the following features:

  • An introduction that explains the basic principles of running a 30-Minute Mystery
  • A detailed party guidebook that will walk you through the event in a simple, easy-to-understand format
  • Nametags and character sheets for each player - the character sheets include special goals and information unique to each character
  • Step-by-step printing instructions
  • And much more!
Mystery Party Reviews
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19 03 201604:47 AM
  • Game Rating:
Sophmore Class
My daughter led a discussion on a mystery novel. She wanted to add in an actual mystery to solve. We found The Thing in the Cellar. She chose the characters for her classmates, and they had an great time, in the short time they had to work with. Thank you!!
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11 11 201507:34 AM
  • Game Rating:
Good with the right people..
We used this mystery for a Halloween family dinner, and included 3 of my children as well as 6 adults as characters. There were several times where we stalled, with one character saying they had to wait til someone else asked them something, but nobody knew what was supposed to be asked. I liked the story line and the characters were cute. Nobody got real into it because the story was very superficial, but that is to be expected in a 30 minute mystery. I will use this site again, but will try a long mystery and probably will only have adults participate. Everyone still had a good time just being together and eating!
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11 12 201411:27 AM
  • Game Rating:
Students loved it!
I used this party script to throw a non-murder mystery party for my gifted and talented class. Every month, if the students fulfill the requirements on their GT contract, they can participate in the contract event. The students ABSOLUTELY LOVED The Thing in the Cellar! They loved it so much that want another similar party for our November contract event.

The scripts were clear, the plot and clues were hilarious. It was so much fun to see my students really get into their character!
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