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How to Run Your Own Murder Mystery Dinner

Updated April 17, 2017

Murder mystery games are a popular way to add a bit of fun and excitement to any dinner party. The game revolves around a "murder" that is committed by an unknown assailant. Guests spend the evening playing an assigned character while trying to discover clues about the identity of the murderer. Depending on the type of game you select, the murderer himself may not even realise until the end of the game that he's the culprit. While the game requires more preparation than a typical dinner party, the outlandish costumes, funny characters and intriguing mystery make the extra effort well worth it.

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  1. Select a date and time for the dinner. Remember that murder mystery dinners typically run between two and three hours, so plan accordingly.

  2. Create the guest list. Most games require six to eight players including the host. Consider whether the dinner will be adults only or if children and teenagers will also be invited. Be sure to choose your murder mystery game accordingly.

  3. Purchase a murder mystery dinner kit. These kits are available online as well as in stores.

  4. Read through the host's instructions that come with the murder mystery dinner kit. These instructions explain the rules of the game and the host's role and include brief character biographies. Most kits also include suggestions on dinner, decorations and costumes.

  5. Plan the party's dinner menu. You can plan your own or follow the serving suggestions that are included in some murder mystery kits. Another option is make the dinner a potluck, where each guest brings a dish to pass.

  6. Send out invitations at least two weeks before the dinner. You can create your own, buy a preprinted pack or use the invitations that are included in some murder mystery kits. Include a character list, directions to the dinner location and an RSVP card with your contact information. Also, don't forget to assign each guest a specific character and encourage the guest to plan a costume that goes along with his or her role.

  7. Decorate the party location, set the table and prepare appetizers. It may also be helpful to review the host's instructions one more time before guests arrive.

  8. Greet each guest by their character's name and provide name tags. Give guests time to read through the game's guidebook and learn more about their characters before serving dinner.

  9. Begin the game, following the instructions in the host's guide. After all the information has been revealed, encourage everyone to discuss their theories on the identity of the murderer.

  10. End the mystery. If the murderer was in on it from the beginning, conclude the game by asking the murderer to reveal himself. If the game you selected keeps the murderer's identity a secret, conclude the game by opening and reading the solution provided with the game.

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Things You'll Need

  • Murder mystery party kit (available online or in stores)
  • Guest list
  • Food and drinks
  • Decorations

About the Author

Hallie Hammack

Hallie Hammack has been a writer and multimedia reporter since 2005. Her work has appeared in publications for the National Guard and the Olympic News Service, among others. Hammack holds a Bachelor of Journalism in media convergence from the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri.

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