Hosting a Murder Mystery Dinner Party

What's in the kit and what you'll do

Dining Table Set for Dinner Party
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There isn't much better than creating new memories with old friends and hosting a murder mystery dinner party is a wonderful way to bring everyone together!

Here are some key factors in planning a satisfying murder mystery party and how to get all your guests involved.

The Kit

The way most murder mystery dinners usually work is that the host of the party purchases a kit. The kit includes a story about a murder that occurs either during the course of the dinner or before the party even begins.

There are a specific number of characters in the story to match the size of your group, with background information, costume instructions, and a package of clues for each one. The more outrageously your guests dress up, the greater the potential for an entertaining evening.

Also included in the kit may be invitations to the party, a guide to running the mystery (with party tips) for the host, and even prizes for the person who guesses the murderer. You must insist that your guests RSVP for this party ​since all characters must be played. You wouldn't want the murderer to be a " no-show."​

Murder mystery kits can be purchased "off-the-shelf" or custom designed for your group.

The Activities

When you send out your invitations to the party, you will include the character description, costume suggestions, and background for the story to your guests. Over the course of the evening, everyone will receive additional clues to their own character and the murder which they will need to reveal to the rest of the guests.

With some kits, the host knows who the murderer is. In others, no one knows a thing until it is revealed during the dinner.

The typical murder mystery could be completed within 2 1/2 hours, although if you linger over cocktails and appetizers or dessert and coffee the night can go on as long as you wish.

The Keys to a Successful Murder Mystery

In order for a dinner party like this to be successful, your guests need to be willing to be "on stage" a bit. Anyone who is shy in front of groups might feel that participating is difficult, especially if you're hosting it for a large group. Comfort with one another may assist the quieter members of the group in feeling relaxed enough to play a part.

Planning the Menu and Decorations

Base the number of courses for your meal on the number of scenes in your murder mystery. You'll have that information when you receive your kit. That way the mystery can be played out in between each of your courses, and discussed while you eat each course. However, some of these kits are designed for cocktail parties and the guests are expected to walk around and interact throughout the evening. You'll need to see what the specific requirements are for your kit when you purchase it. If you have a definite idea of how you would like your dinner to run, ask around to find the mystery that suits your plan.

Many of these plots take place in a specific country or time period. That makes decorating and menu planning for the dinner fairly simple if you stick to the theme.

For example, some of the common plots are set in Paris, the Old West and Rome.

If your mystery does not come with a built-in theme, use this "deadly" menu to add a little extra excitement.

Murder Mystery Dinner Menu