If you’re a fan of mysteries and all things crime solving, you might be playing with idea of hosting a murder mystery type dinner. Now is the time to do it! The days are getting shorter, trees are losing their leaves, there’s a crispness in the air and a certain spooky holiday takes place. The fall season is the perfect time to host a crime solving party. Here are some tips on hosting your own mystery evening.
Pick Your Mystery
Over the years, I’ve participated in and hosted murder mystery dinners with traditional kits where you are assigned a character. Pasta, Passion & Pistols or Murder at Mardi Gras are a couple that I can think of off hand. They can be super fun and I always enjoy an excuse to play dress up. With the kit it’s also very easy to plan. They provide detailed instructions, scripts and give tips on how to decorate. You can find some other kits here and a free one here . I’ve always found kits at our local game or book shops as well. Remember to support local whenever you can!
Another route that you can look into is when you take on the role of the detective. Get you crime junkie besties together and try to solve the case. I LOVE Hunt A Killer and gave my mom a subscription one year for her birthday/mother’s day. The creators put so much thought and effort into every aspect of the game. You really put all of those true crime sleuthing skills to work. You can purchase whole kits so you don’t have to wait for your next box. These are pricier than traditional murder mystery kits and may take longer than one party to solve depending on your sleuthing level. Just something to keep in mind.
Hosting the party means you’ll need to do a little planning (obviously). Send out invitations a few weeks in advance and make them as detailed as possible. It helps to send out two invitations. One as an RSVP and another as your official invite with the assigned character. The second invite should include all of the information for your party and a little info about the character that they will be playing. These little write ups are usually included in your kit.
Keep in mind that in order for the party to be successful, your guests need to be willing to be play the part. You know your friends/family and their comfort levels. Don’t have your super introverted friend play the part of the boustrous debutant. They won’t have fun. Someone who is a little shy in front of groups but would still like to be part of the evening would be great person to help serve food, refresh drinks, or play a non speaking role of “woman sitting with book”. You get the idea.
Food is also important for your murder mystery night. Some kits are designed for cocktail parties and guests are expected to mingle throughout the evening. Others may be set around an elaborate dinner. All of the info that you need will be included in your kit. Read over the prep before you plan your meal.
Set the Scene
Many of these mysteries take place in a specific country or time period. Think a dinner party at an English manor, cocktails at a speakeasy during the roaring 20s, or murder at an Italian restaurant. This makes decorating and menu planning pretty easy, you can just stick to the theme. You can also set the mood by creating or finding the perfect playlist on Spotify. If your mystery doesn’t come with a specific theme, make a meal that you love and will not stress you out.
It can be fun to give out awards at the end of your evening. It’s a great way to conclude your mystery party! Let your guests know ahead of time that you will be giving out awards for different categories. Some to consider are Best Detective, Best Costume, and Best Actor. This can encourage people to really bring their ‘A’ Game to the event.
Hosting a Murder Mystery Night is fun, but as with anything challenges can arise. It helps to host with a partner, that way not all of the planning and facilitating lands on you. And don’t forget you have an important role too. Get into character! Make sure you are talking with guests, gathering clues, and above all enjoying your evening.