When you think about it, getting to know someone is a lot like solving a murder mystery. First impressions are important; both parties make an effort to learn each other’s quirks and habits; and eventually you figure out whether or not this person will be in your life for the long run.
So consider these First Date Ideas: Solve a Murder, which takes the idea of getting to know someone into more dangerous territory — we’re talking ice-pick-to-the-head risky here.
The date ideas themselves take place at your local police station (although detective enthusiasts can carry their investigation anywhere) and employ real forensic tools such as fingerprint powder and ultraviolet light. The object is to determine whodunit—with whom?—using evidence left at the scene. First you’ll meet with your potential partner and a police officer, who will give you a backstory that sets up the crime for which you must find clues and suspects. Following is an example from Hunt A Killer’s “Solve My Own Murder,” in which they invite users to play detective online:
“In this First Date Idea, Meghan was found dead in her bed with a stake driven through her heart. Her ex-boyfriend Jerry has been seen lurking around town talking about revenge.”
After receiving your back story—which comes complete with photos of the victim and crime scene—you’ll spend about 20 minutes inspecting each piece of evidence independently (your date should not be privy to what you’re seeing). The objects are also sorted by category, so you won’t be overwhelmed with every single thing the police can find. First up is physical evidence—which includes fingerprints lifted from a wine glass, watch, purse handle and bedroom door knob. Using an ultraviolet light to examine your suspect’s prints will reveal any traces of blood. Those who are familiar with using forensic tools in movies might remember that when blood dries it leaves behind a brownish-red residue; but not all substances leaving behind unidentifiable colors reflect blood, so we recommend cautious consideration before jumping to conclusions.
You’ll also see images and videos that provide auditory clues: for instance, through photos you can see what the victim was wearing while listening to sounds such as neighborhood chatter or wind blowing through trees to indicate where the video was taken.
After you have reviewed your evidence, it will be time to compare notes with your date. First decide on a prime suspect together—it’s easiest if you agree upon one person who matches the majority of evidence points before comparing individual observations. Discussing each piece of evidence point-by-point lends itself well to collaborative video chats, but nonverbal communication is just fine for those without fancy equipment at their disposal.
When piecing together what has been discovered so far, remember that not every clue applies only to one specific suspect. Each item could implicate anyone in the room (don’t worry; everyone will walk away unharmed). The goal here isn’t necessarily to find out who the prime suspect is, but rather to determine if you’re both on the same page about who the perpetrator might be.
After narrowing down your list of suspects, it’s time to pick apart what was found at the scene and compare notes again. First check out the evidence all over again with your date—if there are no photos or videos left to look at, now would also be a good time to discuss what you’ve learned so far. Once that’s completed, revisit each piece of evidence individually and decide whether or not it still points towards the same person as before. If someone new seems to fit much better than who you initially suspected, this might be an ideal time to reevaluate everything that has been discovered thus far. Make sure everyone is on the same page before moving forward.
After you’ve reviewed your evidence for a second time, it’s time to vote! Cast your ballot in favor of either the suspect or innocent bystander. When tallying up the results, only include votes cast by both participants (which should make things easier). If you’re playing Hunt A Killer, voting is conducted using an app called “We Vote.” First input whether each piece of evidence points towards one person or another; then enter who you think did it; finally—in this case—rate how likely you are to go out with someone again if they accuse that person of committing murder. It can be difficult to judge how sternly to say that certain people aren’t potential romantic partners after engaging in such a stimulating conversation—so perhaps add an asterisk if you feel particularly strongly about it.
Once all the votes have been tallied, your last task is to determine who murdered whom and why! First take a look at any photos or videos that remain in the folder. This time around, pay particular attention to body language and facial expressions—body heat can be detected through these images, revealing whether or not someone is telling the truth based on how much blood is pumping through their veins (or under their skin). There’s no point in conducting further investigating since you’ve already discovered who did it—but we encourage attempting to analyze each remaining piece of evidence together before moving forward with this mystery-solving adventure.