How to Host A Murder Mystery Dinner

Murder mystery dinners are quickly becoming one of my all time favorite events. Especially when everyone in attendance really gets into character and has a lot of fun with it! The good news is that with a little bit of planning and creativity, you can host your own Murder Mystery dinner that’ll leave your guests talking for days!

For this event, we went with a Roaring 20’s murder at Speakeasy grand opening in NYC. How crazy is it that in less than 365 days WE will be living in the 20s again?! I’m calling it now - there are going to be a ton of Gatsby-style New Year’s Eve parties this year, so go ahead and get your flapper dresses now while you can. (links below to some fabulous affordable attire from Amazon)

Here are a few tips for hosting your own murder mystery:

Give yourself plenty of time to get familiar with the game.
We selected a pre-made packet from Playing with Murder which was awesome, but there are definitely a lot of moving parts and important elements, so in order to be a great host you want to know the details of the night inside and out. It’s nothing too complicated, it just takes a little prep work on your end in the beginning.

Get your guests excited in advance for a better overall experience.
People, in general, don’t like to walk into something having no clue what to expect. So give them a heads up and get them excited with anticipation for the night! Send out your character packets in advance, and give them tips and pointers for how to enjoy the evening. (example - we sent out links to places where they could purchase costume attire, if needed and we sent out a fun themed evite to give details about the theme)

Incorporate the theme into your food and decor.
We transformed the host house into a 1920s speakeasy in true Gatsby style! We barricaded the front door and had the guests walk around back to an entrance denoted with a red light and security. We brought in decor elements like beer growler bottles, candy cigarettes, feathers, pearls and even some gambling tables to create a more authentic feel (links below of what we used!). We even created a menu that consisted of food that was popular or first came out in the 1920s. Throw in a signature cocktail drink (aka “Prohibition Punch”) and a Police Lineup photo booth and we were good to go.

Print an extra copy of your character packets and include visible name tags.
Inevitably, someone will forget the packet they received in advance and will be missing critical information that they will need throughout the evening. So just in case, print an extra copy of each person’s packet and have it on-hand with a name tag when they arrive. Name tags are KEY in helping people know who the characters are, so be sure to have those ready! We also included an individual notepad and pen for each guest - it made taking notes for solving the crime much easier!

Here are a few of our favorite products we used for this event:

Game: Jazz Age Jeopardy from Playing with Murder
Photo Booth: Mug Shot Backdrop
Decor: Caution tape for Front Door
Decor: Amber Beer Growler Bottles
Decor: Amber bottles (various sizes)
Decor: Round wood buckets (as seen on food table)
Decor: Plastic Pearls for Draping
Decor: Black Ostrich Feathers
Favors: Candy Cigarettes
Attire: Flapper Dress
Attire: Flapper headpiece and accessories
Attire: Gents 1920s accessories

Cheers to a party that is to die for.


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