As you know, murder mystery parties are a favorite of ours. We love to throw them, but they take a ton of work & involvement. A murder mystery is not a party you want to throw last minute.
You’re first step when throwing a murder mystery is to make a guest list. Figure out how many people you are wanting to invite, because each murder mystery package is made to accommodate different numbers of characters. You don’t need to buy a 50+ person package if you are only going to have 10 guests.
Once you know how many people you want to invite, visit any murder mystery website. (My go-to is mymurdermysteryparty.com) Here you can skim through several different packages and you can filter the packages based on difficulty, occasion, and guest number. There are even packages themed for certain holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, valentines day, and so many more)
Now that you have your guest list & your party package, figure out a date & either text or mail out an invite .( I always text, but I still make a cute invitation by using the evite app) As people respond, send them a photo with the description of their character. When you assign characters make sure that you only assign the required characters to your most reliable guests. If you have a guest that is always late or cancels last minute, give them an optional part. (This ensures that all of the important people for the night to carry on will be there and things won’t fall apart if someone doesn’t show up.) Don’t forget to assign yourself a part!
If you are having a large party and run out of characters, don’t worry! You can buy extension packages with extra guests on the website, or if you are a creative with a tight budget like me, you can create your own character and character descriptions. I did this for my first murder mystery party. I typed the character descriptions up to look like the original characters so people wouldn’t know that they were made up by me. (If no one knows that you made them up, they can still qualify as the murderer. If you tell them that their part was made up, they are basically disqualified from being the murderer, so keep it fun for everyone) Only a few people found out that I had written their part… and I wrote over 15 parts, so I would say it was a success. (I also only went off of the characters descriptions and first round when writing, so i wouldn’t ruin the party for myself.) Writing your own parts is a lot of work, so if you opt for it, keep that in mind.
Once everyone has RSVPed and knows their character, all you have to do until the party date is plan. Make sure you know what you want to eat, what you are going to wear, and how you want to decorate (if that’s your thing) We usually go all out for our murder mystery parties. We try to decorate our house to look like the setting in our murder mystery package, we dress for the part that we assign ourselves the best that we can, and we usually have a home cooked meal, wine tasting bar, and dessert. Make sure that you have everyone’s envelopes and name tags ready ahead of time. There is typically one envelope per guest for each round. The envelopes have each person clues for each round. (Don’t forget to label what character the envelope is for and what round it is for…this is super important!)
You made it through planning. That’s the hardest part! The day of the party can be stressful if you procrastinate like I do. But if you followed my advise,(Do as I say, not as I do. I am trying to let you learn from my mistakes) your day will go smoothly. You should only have to worry about getting dressed, having the envelopes and name tags set up, and setting up the food now.
During the party, make sure that you have an order you want to do things in, but don’t stress too much about it. Read the room, talk to your friends, and try to relax. When guests first arrive, direct them to the name tags and let them find their character. (Having a list of everyone’s name and character is a great hack because some people might not remember the name of their character.) Let everyone hangout and snack on some appatizers and finger foods while you wait for the rest of your guests. Once everyone has made it, allow everyone to introduce their character, explain how the party works, and pass out the round one envelopes.
Once round one is over, we usually have a break where everyone gets to eat dinner. At dinner, we pass out the round 2 envelopes and get started with round two once everyone is finished eating. During the rounds you and your guests will have certain conversations and clues that you will have to share with certain characters. For the most part, everyone will be mingling and joking around, just make sure that everyone has done everything on their card before wrapping up each round.
After round two, have one more little break between. We usually let everyone get refreshments and serve dessert before round 3 starts. Round 3 will start with someone finding the victim. During this round, everyone will take time to fill out a card with who they think is the killer and why based off of the information that they gathered throughout the night. Give everyone the chance to read their card before continuing round three. Once everyone read their card and get to say who they think the killer was, allow everyone to read their statements. (The card will tell each person who goes next) At the end, the killer will be revealed. Have fun with it and see how many people guessed right, you can even do a little prize for the people that guessed correctly.
Once the mystery has been solved, you are done. Feel free to get out of character and hangout with your friends for the rest of the night. A lot of time and money goes into these parties, but we have never had anyone say anything but positive things about it. We have also been to other friend’s murder mystery parties and had just as much fun. Just remember that even if you mess something up, most of your friends only came to spend time and celebrate with you, so don’t stress too much!