I’ve wanted to host a murder mystery party for some time, really ever since Saved by the Bell’s Mystery Weekend episode, so when the opportunity presented itself I was more than happy to help plan one.
Plus I was kinda hoping someone would show up dressed as Sherlock Holmes àla Screech.
But planning a Murder Mystery Party can seem a bit overwhelming. So to help my fellow party geeks I’ve put together this Step by step guide to help get you started
Step 1: Choosing A Game
The biggest things to consider when selecting a Murder Mystery game are the number of guests and the theme. Most of the boxed kits are for only 4-6 players, but luckily we found dinnerandamurder.com which offers a good variety of games that can accommodate 10-20+ players. Wanting a speakeasy, Boardwalk Empire-sort of theme Murder at the Four Deuces seemed the best choice. We then had the option of purchasing a digital download or a physical kit with all the materials printed out. The printed kit also gave the option of PDF downloads so it seemed the better deal.
Step 2: Invitations
While it’s always nice to have an idea how many people are attending your party, RSVPs are more important for a Murder Mystery party. We suggest sending out an initial invitation explaining the game and that those who want to play need to RSVP for their character information. After you’ve established how many players you will have you can send out character backgrounds so that guest may prepare.
Step 3: Casting Characters
Now for the hard part, assigning characters. No matter what game you choose the kit should come with a list of short character summaries. This will give you an idea of the characters personality as well as how vital they are to the story. For those guests known to be more shy and reserved, I would suggest assigning characters that are seem to be less important to the story line. For those super outgoing, aspiring actors, or former LARPers attending will probably be best suited for the main attention grabbing roles.
The Murder Victim – At least in our kit the murder occurs during the party. The role of the victim is a little more intense than others. There are a series of actions they must complete to move along the story which can be a lot to remember, so be very mindful in casting. Make sure the guest has time to prepare. Our game came with a cheat sheet for the victim which proved very helpful and because of the optional characters our victim was able to rejoin the game after the murder.
Step 4: Choosing your Menu
Nobody wants to spend the entire party in the kitchen, and if it’s a murder mystery party you really can’t. As host you’ll be helping the game move along and playing a character that will need to be available to interact with the other characters. We suggest a variety of finger foods set up for when guest start arriving if you’re planning a larger party. Check out our Babette’s Supper Club Menu for some ideas.
Step 5: Cocktails
No prohibition party could be complete without sneaking in some booze! We stuck with the staples: Gin, Whiskey, and Champagne. There are more than enough cocktail options with the three spirits to fit anyone’s taste. Be mindful of consumption before the game begins. If people get too drunk when you start playing it may be difficult to reign everyone in and keep them on track. See our Four Deuces Speakeasy Menu for cocktail recipes.
Step 6: Set the Scene
A little bit of effort in terms of decorating goes a long way into turning your home into a speakeasy. Tablecloths and cloth napkin may mean more laundry in the morning but it adds a touch of class.