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Top 10 Tips for Hosting a Murder Mystery Party

Welcome to a world of murder, mystery and intrigue! Today we'll discuss everything you need to know to host an exciting murder mystery party, where all your guests will feel as though they’ve become characters in their favorite mystery novel!

1. Start planning early

Although you will be purchasing a game package that includes a lot of the materials you need for your characters and clues, there is also a lot of preparation you'll need to do before your party to make sure it feels really immersive and runs smoothly. Give yourself at least two weeks to get ready, but ideally four weeks, so you have time to track down just the right decorations, costume items, favors, etc.

2. Choose the right game

There are hundreds of murder mystery game kits available online. Look for games that can accommodate the number of players you hope to have, and it's a bonus if the characters in the game can be played by either a male or a female (that will give you more flexibility in your guest list). Most games include a character packet for each player, and either some printable clues or videos full of clues that you can play during the game. It's nice if the kit also includes some bonus materials like character nametags, award certificates, custom invitations, etc. These add-ons will save you time as you build out the imaginary world in which your game will take place.

3. Choose your guests carefully

Not only will you want to match your guests' personalities with the characters in your game, but you also need to make sure that everyone you invite will actually attend (since a missing character might mess up the way the game works). First, send out initial invitations to determine who's available on the day of your game. After you have commitments from guests that they'll attend, THEN assign the characters to the appropriate people.

Begin with the required characters in your game, then assign as many additional optional characters as you need to fill out the rest of the list. Don’t tell the guests whether their characters are optional or required, just let them know who they are playing and encourage them to let loose and have fun. Guests should not choose their own characters. For best results, assign the required roles to the most extroverted and trustworthy people on the list.

Once you've determined how many guests you'll be hosting, you might like to pick up small blank notebooks to hand out at the beginning of the party for each player to keep track of the clues they see and hear.

4. Plan your themed decor

The best parties make guests feel like they’ve entered another time and place when they come to play a murder mystery game. Clearly you don’t want to break the bank on an event that will only happen once, but you can repurpose items you already have around your house, find items at your local thrift shop, or make some DIY decorations. The trick is to determine what 5 - 10 items really EVOKE the time or setting that your game takes place in, then group those items together into a few beautiful displays for high impact.

For example, an Alice in Wonderland setting might include some tea cups, a top hat, a stuffed rabbit, a clock, etc. A few items set together in your entry hall, and a few more as a centerpiece on the table where you'll eat or play the game, will set the stage beautifully. You can spring for a few new fun themed items if you feel like you'll use them again after the party, like these Victorian poison label pub glasses.

You might also like to play some theme-appropriate music or even have a related movie playing on mute on your tv. For more details about decorating for your murder mystery party, please click here:

5. Plan your themed food

Everyone loves to eat, and when you’re planning an immersive event set in another world, serving food from that world goes a long way toward making your space feel real. You can reproduce actual foods that are associated with your world (like Butterbeer for a Harry Potter themed game), or you can just cook something you know is delicious and just give it a theme-related name (like your favorite cocktail meatballs, but call them Basilisk Balls). Or, pick up some fun printables on Etsy and decorate standard party food -- like these cupcakes topped with printable Victorian poison labels: