How To Throw A Murder Mystery Dinner Party
IT’S OFFICIALLY MY FAVORITE, FAVORITE, FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR. If you have been around for any length of time here at B&A, you’ll know that I am obsessed — and I mean OBSESSED — with Halloween. I’ve been doing tons of Halloween makeup tutorials, costume suggestions and more this month and my heart has been SO happy. One of the things I look forward to most during this time of year are OBVIOUSLY the parties with friends & family. My mom and I threw our first annual Halloween Murder Mystery Dinner Party this year and already can’t wait to start planning next years bash! Here is my step-by-step guide to setting up your first Halloween Murder Mystery Dinner Party and making it a smashing success. Let’s do ittttt.
How To Throw A Murder Mystery Dinner Party
Purchase your kit.
While you CAN write your own script and create your own murder mystery party, it is so much easier (and WAY less time consuming) to purchase a pre-done murder mystery script. A kit typically includes:
- All the instructions you need
- Name tags
- Rounds 1, 2 & 3 cards
- House map
- Optional pre-party games
You can buy pre-done kits, or do-it-yourself kits. We opted to do a do-it-yourself kit because it was cheaper than the pre-done kit. We created invitations ourselves, printed and lamented all of the name tags, sent out pre-party goodie bags and printed & lamented round cards. While it did take some time to set everything up, it’s absolutely manageable and if you are doing it with a buddy (hi, mom) it’s a LOT of fun.
The kit will tell you expected time frame, how long each round should last, optional activities, and more. Use the guide to help you determine when to hand out the clue cards to the players and to give you an idea of how each round works. Some kits allow the host to know who the murderer is, and some kits let you keep it a secret. That part is really up to you!
Decide on decorations.
Our party was “Murder Mystery At Skull Manor” and the theme was a costume ball at an old manor. We purchased light up trees, skull decor, glitter spiders, white table cloths & spider web table runners, and candle sticks. We opted for plastic cutlery and dish ware simply because it was so much easier to clean up. We used orange and black as our color scheme so the dishes matched that theme. We also purchased a photo backdrop to get pictures of each of the couples before they entered the party for memories! To create the backdrop, we used spiderweb gauze and a large spider web. It was spooky and creepy but didn’t detract from the costumes.
We bought our decorations from a mix of Target, Dollar General and Party City. We didn’t want this party to cost a fortune, so it was kind of a game for us to see how many good deals we could get on the party decorations. It’s totally possible to throw this kind of thing on a budget, and you can still have awesome decorations and table centerpieces.
If you are feeling extra crafty, you can draw on your “round” manilla envelopes and draw your victim sign. Of course, that is totally optional, and you don’t have to if you don’t want to!
Planning your menu.
We had two of our couples bring appetizers, two of them bring desserts and the host made dinner. It worked out perfectly so we had plenty of food for every round, and the host didn’t have to prepare everything. We had finger food appetizers, chili, soup and bread for dinner and a Halloween cookie cake and glass shard cake for dessert. You can choose food that matches your theme if you want to go all in, or just choose food you know your guests will enjoy.
The secret to planning a successful murder mystery dinner party:
Your guests REALLY make the party. Be sure you are inviting people that won’t be embarrassed to get into character, act out their parts and will dress up and enjoy themselves. We have an AWESOME group of friends we invited, every single person dressed to the nines for the party and we all laughed until our stomachs hurt because everyone had no problem being goofy and in character.
You also need to choose reliable guests. The murder mystery party doesn’t really work if people fail to show up (barring serious illness and real life emergencies — it IS just a party. Not life or death). Choose people you know will come so you aren’t scrambling around at the last minute trying to replace guests and stressing yourself out.
The most important thing to remember is HAVE FUN. It is a party, after all! It probably will NOT go perfectly the first time. It didn’t for us! But we had a blast with our friends, and we are all still talking about it 4 days later. All the couples said if we hosted another one, they want to be at the top of our invite list. 🙂
PIN THIS FOR LATER:
I hope you enjoyed this guide and found it useful for throwing your next murder mystery party. They are SO MUCH FUN and we will probably throw another one around spring time because we can’t wait until next Halloween.
If you are looking for something to break your friends out of their shells and have a goofy, fun time this Halloween season, I HIGHLY recommend throwing a party like this. I can’t wait to see your awesome parties. ENJOY.