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Murder Mysteries on All Hallow’s Eve

Lindsay Turnbull (3L)


Where can you go to see a law student, pretending to be a dragon, questioning the ghost of a wampire (vampire-werewolf hybrid) about his death? Or Loki accusing a time traveler of demon slaying? My place, if you pick the right night.

Once or twice per semester, I host a murder mystery party. For each party, I write a description of who the victim was, how they died, and why our group is gathered. Then, I assign each guest a character and write three or four scenes. On the day of the party, the guests arrive dressed as their character and ready to bring the mystery to life.

Each character is suspected of murder and is given information that they can use to cast suspicion on another, as well as a secret that they want to conceal. The guests question each other, with the goal of correctly identifying the murder by the end of the night. Guests are encouraged to improvise and add to their roles in whatever way they want.

While I try to be as creative as possible during the writing process, the best part is watching everyone put their own twist on the characters. The parties have only become more entertaining now that law students dominate the roles. While this guest list means an increased risk of references to the legality of home circumcision, its also formed of a highly imaginative group. Law Show has always provided proof of the creativity of law students and, after hosting several murder mysteries with them, I can attest that this exists year round.

Despite the wide variety of plot lines and interpretations, the format of these mysteries has been fairly static for years. That changed last Halloween when I enlisted the help of two of my fellow law students, Lisa Little and Michelle Terriss. They helped me create the most elaborate plot yet. A murder mystery filed with misunderstandings (such as the fact that the supposed victim had simply been turned invisible and decided to silently lurk and watch our progress) and twists (in the form of an exorcism and two more murders occurring mid-party). While this plot line had the potential to cause mass confusion, the guests all ran with it like pros.

Some of my fondest memories of the past year involve witnessing the ghost of Renaldo reentering the room cloaked in a white towel and blasting theme music from his phone. Or the Scarecrow flirting with the Cowardly Lion and discussing polygamy. Or just basking in the group dynamic created by asking everyone to act like their favourite TV character. To anyone who claims that law students are boring, I offer these stories as proof that they’re actually some of the most creative people around.