For some reason there is something truly appealing about a murder mystery dinner. You get an excuse to host a fancy dinner party, while having the entertainment for the night completely taken care of. This is a summary of how we ended up hosting a murder mystery dinner party. No worries, there are no spoilers, just tips and tricks to help you pull off a great murder mystery dinner party that you and your guests will make unique, unforgettable memories at.
Buy a Kit
I would 100% recommend buying a kit. I looked into arranging it all yourself or free murder mystery kits and didn’t find anything I found worthwhile. I stumbled upon this website because they had a groupon that was cheap enough I was willing to take the chance, Night of Mystery.
There are several websites that offer kits for murder mystery dinners. This one stood out to me because not only does a murder occur before the party (most kits take care of this scenario) another murder will take place at the party. I had a really good experience with Night of Mystery. They have a lot of different party scenarios you can choose from. We did the murder of a millionaire because we wanted to go for more of a fancy party dinner theme so everyone had an excuse to dress up. They give a really comprehensive guide to how to set up the party. Feel free to share in the comments if you’ve ever used another site for a kit or this one.
How it works
The kit can be daunting so I’d like to give brief summary of the sequence of events we went through for our night using Night of Mystery. As your guests arrive, they are already in character, mingling. After everyone arrives you hand them their first envelope with their objectives during dinner. It can range from “say this sketchy thing to someone else” to “if anyone asks you this question, be adamant about this.” After dinner, you’ll pass out a second envelope. Up until this point – the murderer had no idea they were the murderer until this envelope reveals it to them and the victim had no idea either. The victim dies and round 2 of objectives starts. It has a wrap up that someone reads to reveal the murderer and you get to end with fun contests like “Best Dressed” or “Best Actor”, etc. That’s a very abbreviate version of the night and the kit would obviously had more details.
We ended up having 13 guests (plus Jordan and I makes 15). A really big deal is that everyone needs to be in attendance. The party is for a range of guests, we picked the 10 – 15 guest package. The packet the company provides you outlines which five characters are unneeded if you have a smaller guest range. We put our friends that tend to be the flakiest in those positions so if they did indeed flake, it didn’t affect the party. We picked a date for the party that was a month and a half out and asked each guest if they were available. We only had to change the date once doing this method and everyone ended up being able to attend. After we established a date, I sent out an e-vite (I really wanted to do a physical invitation, but an e-vite is a cheaper option) with their character’s backstory.
The kit suggests what type of things each character should wear and gives a little background on who that character is.
We decided if we were going to have a fancy dinner party – we were going to go all out. I created an inspo board on Pinterest under “Dinner Party” which will be recipes and such for the things I describe next in this section
Table Set up
We hit up party city and went crazy. We didn’t have enough nice dishes for everyone, so we decided to buy the premium plastic plates. It looks fancy but doesn’t hit your pocket book as hard. We bought little paper placemats and plastic silverware that looks like real silverware. For drinkware, we bought plastic wine glasses and clear plastic cups for the fancier alcoholic drinks. This route, you have a real fancy looking dinner table, but no dishes afterwards for this part. For decoration, we had some tablecloths left over from our wedding and put those over our ping pong table (which served as the dinner table). We bought candles, candle holders, and vases at the dollar store, and then went to our local grocery store and bought 6 roses to fill the vases. All those things together created an elegant dinner environment for a relatively low price. Below we have an example of some of the dinnerware we used that night.
I love a good jello shot. We made champagne jello shots to class it up. For food, we created a nice cheese board with various cheeses and cracks, along with fruit. We had a guest bring a veggie tray and we provided a nice charger plate to arrange it.
We had Chicken Alfredo as the main course. It took 4 pounds of chicken for the amount of people. We made the alfredo sauce from scratch. It was more work, but ended up being worth it because it was a big hit. We had two salads for the guests to choose from and a couple french baguettes with butter.
We served chocolate parfait in nice little containers we got from the party store. I wish we got the smallest containers because the pudding really ends up being heavy as you eat it and many didn’t finish theirs.
In spirit of the theme, we asked guests to bring bottles of wine. Then we provided all the ingredients for martinis, gin and tonics, and manhattans available.
We wanted to play classical and/or jazz music in the background, but neither one of us really are well versed in that type of music. We came up with the idea to find instrument covers of popular songs in that style to play during the dinner to give it a classy, modern touch. Some of our guests had a good time trying to figure out what song was playing. Below is the Spotify playlist we ended up playing during the party.
Tips and Tricks
One thing you have to do is stuff envelopes with everyone’s objectives. This can create problems since you probably want to play along, you can’t know any of the details about anyone else. I printed off all the biographies and objectives and had my mom stuff everyone’s envelopes for the party. That worked extremely well. I didn’t get anything spoiled for me beforehand.
A big worry I had was people being their character – I wasn’t sure if people would play along like I wanted them to in order to have a great night. However, you’ll notice people feed off of each other. So as long as you resolve to stay in character, everyone plays along. Hopefully you have some guests in attendance that are good at playing characters because that really is the glue that holds the whole thing together.
Another fun thing, my sister brought her Polaroid camera and we took some photos with a vintage twist in honor of the night.
We had a blast. We had this party before I came up with the idea to start this blog, but this was a good night for me and I wanted to share it. There are not as many pictures as I would like, but as I document my shindigs going forward, there definitely will be more to share.
If you’ve ever had a murder mystery dinner, I’d love to hear about it. Please share!
All the love and regards,