If you love murder mysteries, you’re certainly not alone. There’s just something exciting about death, mayhem, and intrigue that draws us in and makes us all want to answer the question “whodunit?”.
If you want to throw a dinner party your guests will never forget, a murder mystery dinner party is anything but ordinary.
Because murder mystery parties are highly interactive, they need planning, props, and pre-prepared materials. After all, there will be more than just a murder or two, but also good food and drink. Here’s how to host a great murder mystery dinner party:
Prepare Your Guest List and Characters
Your guests are the key players in your murder mystery. Make things extra exciting and allow yourselves to get lost in the fantasy by assigning guests to a character that would be considered “out of character” for them. After all, it’s a night where anyone can be anything!
Assign your guests quirky characters like the billionaire environmentalist, the retired preschool teacher, the spunky journalist, the has-been movie star, and the stand-up comedian. Letting your guests know in advance which character they will play will allow them to spice up the back stories you’ve assigned them. It will also dictate how they should dress for the party. Don’t forget to cast the role of “detective.”
Alternatively, you would also throw a surprise murder mystery party. Guests can pick from a bowl of characters who they will play. You can also prepare simple costumes beforehand such as a French beret, wigs, cowboy hat, and so on.
The Murder and Investigation
Gather your guests around the dinner table and introduce each character; allow them to give a little background about themselves. For added drama, you may want to assign someone outside the dinner party to hit the lights for a few seconds; when the lights come back on, one of your guests (a non-player) can pretend to have just been murdered. Obviously, they don’t have to lay motionless during the entire course of the dinner. They can wear one of those funny headbands that looks like there is a knife stuck through your head.
As the host, you will present the case before passing out the first set of clues. Over the next few rounds, the tension will build as more clues are presented, and each character’s story starts to come together and reveal more clues. Your guests will begin to do their own investigating and may even make a few accusations.
By the time you’re ready to serve dessert or after-dinner drinks, each player should have received the last clue, revealing their involvement in the murder and declaring who their best guess of “whodunit.” At the finale, the “murderer” will confess!
The beauty of a murder mystery dinner party is that you can use a store-bought murder mystery kit or create your own. The game can be as elaborate as you want, taking you and your guests running around all the rooms of your house if necessary. The key is to plan ahead and invite a group who loves a good murder mystery as much as you do.