A Murder Mystery Party: Planning Out The Perfect Night

Anita Ventura

February 24

There is something unique about being involved in a whodunnit story and pretending to be someone else for the night. This party theme is a classic, and often involves a "murder" of one of the guests - who doesn't want to find out who committed the murder!

Wanna Host a Classic Murder, Mystery Party?

You may have been to a few really good dinner parties, but you certainly can’t beat a good old murder mystery dinner party; there is something unique about being involved in a whodunnit story and pretending to be someone else for the night, getting to know the lead characters and determining like Poirot, that makes it such an unforgettable night. So, if you fancy channeling your inner Miss Marple or Morse and sorting out the evidence over dinner party food and plenty of wine to come to a dramatic conclusion. And if you get it wrong, it doesn’t matter – it is a murder mystery game, after all. It certainly makes a change from a night in front of the television. With so many Christie-inspired, Cluedo whodunnit films hitting our cinema screens, perhaps now’s the time to consider a drama-fuelled experience yourself! So, suppose you love hosting a dinner party and love playing party games with your guests and want one a murder mystery with a difference. In that case, unique clues, characters, even a murderer (not a real one, of course!), then a murder, mystery party is the party event for you!

Murder Mystery

There is plenty of established murder mystery party planners out there – so, you need to decide you are going to run it yourself or get someone to help you… There may be professional murder. Mystery party planners are out there in abundance, but where’s the fun in that? By organising the murder, mystery party yourself, you’ll have all the fun! You could always cheat and buy a complete murder mystery party kit online, or you can go native and do your own party thing! If it's our first time as a host of such a party, you'll find you can go as creative as you like and design your murder mystery event yourself so you and your guests can have as much fun as you want! You’ll obviously have to think of the theme and plot first, so you’ll know how many guests to invite – the usual number is between 6 and 8. But, you’ll need to prepare your guests in advance of what you’ve got planned for your party - choose guests you know will get into the theme of what you're doing - not all of your friends might like being a chosen character. So, send out your murder mystery party invitations well ahead of the date, and tease your guest with various snippets of information about the murder, mystery theme, and of course, the plot.


Pick a Theme

Assuming you’re going to hold the murder mystery party at your house – (other people sometimes opt for more elaborate and expensive hotel locations) – then you can fit your home into the chosen theme. Perhaps you fancy the original murder mystery game of Cluedo as your theme with the characters of Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Colonel Mustard, and co? Remember, as a host. You get to choose your character. But maybe the 1920s are more your thing with ‘The Great Gatsby’ inspiring you as a backdrop for your character party? Don’t panic – look online for ideas as plots ranging from Mafia showdowns. Murder She Wrote scripts to Movie Murder Mystery Party themes.

Write the Story or Cheat...

Well, this could be when you realise you’ve missed your true vocation and should have taken up writing murder mystery scripts long ago – move over, Agatha Christie! As host of such an event, you'll need to come up with a great storyline - this doesn't have to involve much work - keep it simple with lots of questions. And don't forget which guest is going to be the murderer! Again, if this seems like too much of an ask – go online, search and download the mystery party plotline around the theme you want - some kits provide everything for everyone. Or buy a complete kit with everything in from invitations to decorations... Let the fun begin for everyone… Once the mystery party theme and plot are decided upon, you can send out your invitations to your guests - your friends will love it. Your guests are put in the role of different characters and together, or separately – up to you, solve the mystery.

Mysterious Decorations

If you decide to host your party at home, you'll need to decorate your rooms around the chosen theme. It would be a crime not to set the scene properly, so put up some caution tape, splatter around the room some fake blood, and decorate based on your chosen theme! You can get everything you need from local fancy dress shops or go online... From the second your guests arrive, there should be candles around the room, noticeable table centerpieces, and if you're going for a Sherlock Holmes' theme, you could add props such as smoking pipes or spy glasses for your guests to get more into the mood. Creating this atmosphere is important for audience participation and will help set the aura for getting together from the word go. Ensure each table has a few candles to provide perfect lightning balance throughout the room, creating a spooky and sinister atmosphere, and character name places are a must! Having the perfect deadly music soundtracks sorted in advance of your evening is essential - there's lots of music out there which will get your group into the killer mood and includes film soundtracks as well as more popular hits - sort out the order of your music in advance so it can be playing throughout the evening and so, you can relax and enjoy it too.



There are a specific number of characters in your murder mystery story to match the size of your guest group, with individual background information, their costume instructions, and a package of clues for each one. The more outrageously you get your guests to dress up, the greater the fun will be for an entertaining evening. If you use one of the kits available, your guests will be told where to find their costumes and the kits also include instructions and information for each guest to follow when in the role. Great character costumes bring your murder mystery party alive - your guests can get into character by hiring or making their party costumes - maybe they'll want to purchase their costume for the next event you hold!

Murder Mystery Game Food

Pace your evening's time with different sections throughout the party: cocktails - such as Bloody Marys, in fact, anything blood red is a great way to start the evening off when your guests arrive! Don't forget the red wine... Your dinner and then dancing should all be intertwined with the mystery's theme and plot - play the game in between courses or after you've all eaten. You’ve seriously got to come up with some killer recipes to serve up to your guests - beef ribs, Death by Chocolate, murderous meatballs - use your imagination... As host, purchase everything in advance, you can make much of the food ahead of time, leaving you free to lay the table, light the candles, set the scene, and wait for your guests to arrive.

A Murder Mystery Party: Planning Out The Perfect Night
A Murder Mystery Party: Planning Out The Perfect Night

Murder Mystery Party Games

The murder mystery game could begin with a shot, and then all goes dark - someone is now dead (remember this is just a game!). After the murder, people will learn specific details of the crime through the murder, mystery games you play to bring about evidence, eavesdropping, and questioning other characters. Some of the murder, mystery games can include playing money, which can be used for buying information, blackmailing, and other dastardly devious schemes. All of this leads to extensive social interaction, which is the real point of your dinner party, isn't it? Throughout the evening, you can play all sorts of murder mystery games - whatever game you decide to play, try and ensure you have prizes to hand out - perhaps they could be relevant to the theme you choose - handcuffs, medals, chocolate guns... Game prizes could go to: Best Actor - For award-winning deserving character performance and deduction skills. Best Costume - For using outstanding creative costume imagination. Super Sleuth - For using superior wits, detective, and processes of elimination skills to solve the murder mystery. Super Villain - For the most sneaky and backstabbing contender. Richest Player - for the player who can use the most cunning and ruthless skills to win the most! Come on, how many tedious dinner parties have you been to where there were small groups of people gathered together in clusters, not mixing? Or even more upsetting for the host is that people are standing around, not conversing at all. This just doesn't happen with a well-planned and interactive murder mystery party. With a good murder mystery game, the guests can get so involved in the game that they may even forget to eat your murderously good food! After the final solution has been readout, it is always a good idea to go around the room and let each of your characters reveal their secrets.

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