Murder mystery parties are an awesome way to spend an evening with friends or even strangers!
The thrill of the mystery, the laughter and smiles of your friends, and the incredible bonds that are formed!
Hosted Murder Mystery Parties are hard to find but I'll help provide a few helpful ideas on where to look.
My number one recommended website for finding unique adventures like a murder mystery party is Hostible!
Hostible is dedicated to bringing adventurers and hosts together and there are quite a few murder mystery parties that have been posted.
If you don't find any in your local area, you can keep reading.
The next place I would suggest looking is Craigslist. You may get lucky and find a few venues that provide professional Murder Mystery Parties.
You can also take a look on Facebook or post a question to your friends.
The last resort I would recommend is to go old school and check your local phone book or newspaper. Often these businesses will be listed or advertised here.
HOST YOUR OWN MURDER MYSTERY PARTY
Sometimes, if you want someothing done right, you have to do it yourself!
Hosting a murder mystery party is a ton of fun and lets you create the event, exactly how you like.
Create Your Guest List:
Obviously, the first step is to create your guest list which you have likely already started working on.
Think of any colleagues, family or friends that you would like to include.
You may not want to combine these but often, the more guests you have, the more fun it will be!
Decide on a Theme:
After you have your guest list put together, you will need to decide on a theme.
Depending on your guest list, you can choose a theme that fits their style.
For example, with family and friends you could go with something more casual like a Star Wars or James Bond theme.
However, for a more formal event you should stick to the Old Manor party theme. Think Agatha Christi novel style!
Choose a Location:
Depending on your budget, you can host the party in your home or a rented facility.
Hosting the party in your home allows you to take advantage of your own furniture and more freedom to customize the setting.
If you have the budget, you could explore other options such as a rented hotel ballroom, dining hall in a community center, or a victorian mansion.
You can get creative with public parks, rec centers, gyms or even a rented boat.
In any case, make sure it is within comfortable driving distance of you guests, has plenty of room and parking for your guests.
Guest Roles and Responsibilities:
After you have arranged your guest list, party theme, and venue, begin planning the Mystery party itself.
You will want to keep your guest's personalities and natural interests in mind as much as you can when you assign roles.
For example, if one of your guests is a police officer, you could assign them the role of detective.
You also want to make sure to assign vocal roles to the guests who will want to have a high profile role.
This is all completely up to you!
After you have assigned the character roles, be sure to include this information in each invitation.
This way each guest will be able to prepare and anticipate their role in the party.
They'll also be able to use this information to dress appropriately.
Assign Character Roles:
You will spend some time viewing the characters in your chosen murder mystery.
You can either elect to match personalities/occupations as closely as possible, or try to give your guests a character that is polar opposite to challenge them for the night.
Either way, the host is the one that decides which character that each guest will play.
Using a murder mystery party invitation, you'll notify your guests of the theme of the party along with their character information and costume suggestions.
Inviting Your Guests:
Send out the invitations to your guests via traditional paper letters, email, or even facebook!
All of these make RSVP's super easy but paper letters will take the longest.
If you do choose to mail the invites, be sure to provide enough time for both the invite, and the response.
Mailing your invitations gives you the chance to add a little "authenticity" to your invites by using weathered paper or fancy card stock.
Either way, be sure to invite an appropriate number of guests for your party and keep a few backup invites in case you are running short.
Food is a must-have at any party!
Appetizers and finger-foods make for one of the best options since the guests can eat while playing.
You can however, create a fancy sit-down meal as part of the ambiance and add to the Mystery Party!
Mystery Parties are usually arranged as rounds and this lends itself well to courses and food-specific times like "Coffee Time" or "Coctail Hour".
Be sure to plan ahead, especially if you are preparing the food itself. If you have it catered, you'll need to communicate the food preparation times in advance.
You will want to make sure that your venue should fit the theme of the party.
For example, if it is an Old Manor theme, you'll want to get some lace curtains and candlesticks to place around. Dim the lights and put on some classical music.
If you can find some old cobweb decorations from a halloween to place around the rooms.
Thrift stores are great places to source old decorations for your mystery party.
Ideally, your guests will be transported into another time when they walk into the party.
The decorations are up to you but be sure to get creative!
The first round is designed to get everyone into character and allow a time for socializing.
As the guests are mingling, pass out the round-one clues and information specific to the characters.
Encourage the players to ask each other questions about their character and deduce motives.
If the players have read their cards, they'll know what is appropriate to reveal and what they should keep secret.
This will be fun for everyone and the players will quickly begin to make assumptions.
As the story begins to build, the players may even begin to form alliances!
In round two, you will notify whoever is the victim of their fate via the round-two cards.
Be sure to follow the instructions in your murder mystery.
Sometimes your characters will already know their fate and role in advance. They'll be playing along as actors in the murder mystery party.
Keeping it a secret is far more exciting for your guests as the victim will be truly suprised!
Usually, the guest who plays the victim will continue to play the game as a "ghost" of their former self.
This is done in order to avoid a guest being left out of the fun.
After the victim is identified, the rest of the guests will begin to investigate the murder.
The players will continue to mingle and investigate each other to deduce the murderer.
This will be the time for the guests to hold a short accusation round in which each guest makes a statement of who they believe is the murder and why.
You will then need to pass out the solution cards to each guest for them to read.
They will then follow the instructions on their card to reveal their role in the murder.
The murder will then be forced to reveal their identity!
A bonus for your mystery party can be an awards ceremony.
You can create creative awards such as the Sherlock Holmes award, or the Moriarty award. Be creative and give out plenty.
Awards make the party much more satisfying for your guests!
Here are some murder mystery games that you can use as well. These are completely free and great for a party of any size. Be sure to include at least 6 participants. These come with everything you need to get started including scripts, plots, invitation ideas, printable materials, and much more!
- Sour Grapes of Wrath: This free murder mystery game includes an almost 70-page file that includes planning instructions, party invitations, costume suggestions, name tags, rules, secret clues, maps, accusation sheets, suspect dossiers, and the solution.
- Free Murder Mystery Game for Tweens: This free murder mystery game is targeted towards kids who are 10-12 year old but I think it would also work well for an adult murder mystery party. This free kit includes a master plot spreadsheet as well as a list of characters. Each guest has it's very own printable party invitation as well as instructions. Props including a sign and birth certificate are also included for free.
- The Little Engine That Could Kill: This free murder mystery game includes parts for 8 players to figure out who murdered a passenger on the express train from India to Portugal. In-depth profiles are included for each character.
- The Romanian Uranium Mystery: Here's a very detailed murder mystery game that includes a scripted show, as well as an improved show, that's set around your dinner party.
- Way Out West: Here's a free murder mystery game that includes the set-up, characters, script, clues, and more. You'll need to subscribe to their free newsletter for the complete package.
- Jazz Age Jeopardy: Here's a murder mystery that's set in a 1920's jazz club in New York City. The free PDF file includes an introduction, instructions, party guidebook, character sheets, clue cards, and voting sheets. Up to 15 people can play this one.
- Butler Kicks the Bucket: Download free murder mystery character cards and play the free Butler Kicks the Bucket murder mystery. There are enough cards for up to 15 players.
- Mafia Party Game: A fun detective-style murder mystery game that's for 7-24 players.
- Murder, She Wrote: This is a free printable that you can use to help Angela Landsbury solve crimes while binging Murder, She Wrote on Netflix. You'll have to guess who the murder was, the motive, and the details of the killer. This murder mystery game can be played by yourself or with a whole group of friends gathered around the TV.
- The Business of Murder: This murder mystery game has everything you need to throw a very detailed murder mystery. Clues and invitations are all included in one convenient download. This game is for 7-8 players.
- The Movie Murder Mystery Party: Between 8 and 16 players can play this murder mystery game. The setup is that you're celebrating the completion of a film with your cast and crew but then the director suddenly dies. Lucky for you, he hid lots of clues so you can play this scavenger hunt themed murder mystery. The free download includes the premise, instructions on how to play, character descriptions, clues, scanger hunt items, and ideas for awarding the winner.
- Malachai Stout's Family Reunion: A fun, lightly-scripted murder mystery game set at a family reunion gone awry that can be played by 6-12 players. Includes hosting instructions, script, character sheets, clues, and solution.