How-To: Murder Mystery Dinner

For a long time I’ve wanted to go to a murder mystery dinner. Sadly, this is not as popular of an activity as it once was so I came to the conclusion that I would need to host one myself.  Luckily, with the support of a murder mystery veteran (and DIY queen) I worked up the courage to have co-host one in my apartment with some experienced friends and a few newbies like myself.

Along the way I learned a few things that need to be passed on:

Where to Save

Pick a game and theme based on things you already own or won’t cost too much. Since many of these games can’t be played more than once, price becomes really important. Some of the attendees for my dinner were past players so we had to keep that in mind when picking a new game so we didn’t pick one that had already been played. Anything over $15 was way too much in my mind but anything really around $20 is pretty good. This was the most expensive thing for the party. Luckily, I had a co-host that bought the game so I could focus on decor.

Since we picked a game Halloween themed to play in March, it was hard to find decor at stores but the upside was I had another reason to put up my spookily-fun decorations. Many murder mystery dinner games are designed to be played at certain times of year so keep this in mind when you buy your game. I wanted to make sure that hosting was going to be inexpensive and easy. Much of the decor I bought specifically for this came from the dollar store including the metal dishes and party supplies.

from one cup to the next owl halloween

Go with the cheaper options for food and drink as well. We decided to make the party potluck style. This made it easier on me in many ways including less cooking, less cleanup, it being very affordable and it ensured everyone had something they could eat since several of my guests had dietary restrictions. I also lucked out with providing the drinks since sherbet punch was cheap and easy to make. Plus I had lots of booze from past gatherings to use up.

from one cup to the next punch drink

Nail Down Details But Have Fun

I was very lucky to have an experienced murder mystery dinner hostess planning this event with me. She gave me many great tips. The most important one was definitely nail down who is coming. She explained how it would blow for people to only be kind-of in for the event and then bail right before leaving characters unrepresented – this made perfect sense.

I avoided this problem by including in our FB event that ‘maybe’ RSVPs would not be appreciated and to read all details before responding. I also included firm directions on how the night would play out so everyone knew all the details. It felt crappy at first but looking back it was the best direction. It made planning easy, and once that was over the real fun could begin.

Keep Your Guests Included

Even though I was hosting the party, I wanted all of the guests to have a say in things. With this type of event being some-what out of the box for some people it was important to me for people to feel comfortable. Along with people being able to pick their dish for the potluck, the co-host and I allowed people to pick their characters as well. We did this through a Facebook event as first come, first serve and it worked out great.

from one cup to the next murder mystery dinner
All in all it was a tons of fun and really easy to plan. We had a great group of people who were really into it, and I can’t wait to get to work on planning my next one.


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