Fancy hosting your own murder mystery party?
If you’re looking to host a thrilling night in with your friends with a difference, why not host your own murder mystery party! Here is our beginners guide to how you can get started.
If you fancy taking the murder-mystery element out of your home and onto the streets, why not turn your city into a playground with our detective days out!
Pick a theme
When it comes to picking a theme, think about how many guests you want to invite and what everyone’s interests are. A good theme can be the make or break when it comes to hosting a successful event. Do your guests like certain movies, TV shows or books that you could gain inspiration from?
Look at all of your common interests and eliminate any ideas that don’t have enough characters for the number of guests you’re inviting - then from the remaining ideas, choose a theme that most interests you.
A few good ideas that have been done include 1920’s Gatsby, Marvel superheroes, Harry Potter, The Office, CSI and much more.
Create a storyline
Now you’ve picked your theme, it’s time to get creative and write a killer storyline!
There are many murder mystery stories already drafted which you can find online if you want to cut back on preparation time, but if you want to save money and be more creative, writing your own story could be heaps of fun for your guests.
A good murder mystery story needs a beginning, middle and end, but most importantly, you need an introduction that will draw your guests in, description cards for each character so they can fully immerse themselves in who they are during the evening, evidence cards which will include vital clues to help your guests get closer to the murderer.
Finally, the solution cards of which you’ll read when the guests come to their conclusions about who the murderer is.
Invite your suspects
Every party requires an invitation and this is where you can get creative!
If done well, your invitation will set the tone of the party long before your guests arrive. If you want to design your own invitation, you can get crafty with old-fashioned tools like paper, ink, calligraphy pens, colours and much more if you have a specific theme that would suit this.
Or an easier option is to use websites like Canva where you can design easy invitations online which you can get printed and sent to yourself to send to your guess. If you have a specific theme and want to include photos, use websites like Pexels or Canva’s free photo library.
Every invitation needs to include the party’s date, time, place and RSVP information - the RSVP part is important as how can you assign characters if you have an extra guest or a guest who’s missing?
This is also a great way to include other information like costume information...
Grab your costumes
One of the most important parts of getting into your characters is getting into costume! You can either provide costumes and props for each guest, or they can provide their own.
Make a list of each character and assign them to your guests and with each character, think of identifying them with an item of clothing or accessory that will make them distinguishable.
Either obtain these items yourself and make a goodie sack with the character’s name on to give to your guest, or send them a list with their invite.
If you want to add further personalisation to the game, why not ask your guests to come up and bring their own distinguishing props and costumes? This will help your guests further invest in their character.
If you’re hosting a party in person, think about what objects and decor will make your theme more realistic! Whilst they should be relevant, clever and authentic to your theme, they should be things that your guests should know what they refer to.
Simple decor ideas can include tablecloths in a colour associated with your theme, a sign on the wall, ceiling hangings or banners, table centrepieces and themes cutlery and utensils etc.
For example, if you had a Witches and Wizardry theme, you could decorate the table with golden goblets, magic stardust and every place setting has a witches hat and wand.
If you’re hosting virtually, you can still have fun with this; get your guests to put up virtual backgrounds on their videos, or they can dress up their own surroundings themselves with the required theme and provide their own props!
Get the food in
Of course, no murder mystery party is complete without food!
You need to keep your guests satisfied with plenty of snacks and refreshments - whether you decide to provide light refreshments or a sit-down meal, make sure it’s appropriate for the theme of your party - for example, light refreshments and cocktails would be fabulous for a 1920’s Gatsby theme, but a sit-down meal with pumpkin pasties, chocolate frogs and butterbeer would be appropriate for a Harry Potter themed party.
For ideas and inspiration for what to provide, scour Google to find appropriate foods for the era or theme of your party - there’s plenty of information out there from mainstream websites like Food Network.
If you’re doing the party virtually, you could keep it simple by all ordering the same takeaway or style of food from a local restaurant so you can all eat at the same time.
Tips for playing
The rules of murder mysteries are simple:
Stay in character - this is the cardinal rule because it immerses all participants in the game and as host, you can encourage this from the moment your guests step in the door as you can be the influencer by being in character yourself.
(Tip: you could offer your guests an initiative to stay in character by having a negative consequence if they break character - this could range from putting cash in a jar, to wearing a silly hat until someone else breaks character)
Follow the script - each guest is given confidential information that can only be shared at a certain time in the game, so it’s critical your guests only reveal confidential information when the time is right and stick to the script.
Have fun - the most important one and the best way to enjoy your murder-mystery party!
Are you inspired to host your own murder-mystery? Why not take part in your own murder-mystery event on the streets!