Event Ideas

How to Host a Murder Mystery Dinner Party

Get ready to unleash your inner detective and serve up a killer evening of intrigue and excitement! If you have a passion for puzzles, a taste for suspense, and a knack for hosting unforgettable events, then organising a murder mystery is the perfect choice for you. In these six steps, learn how to host a murder mystery dinner party that'll have your guests on the edge of their seats!

What is a murder mystery dinner?

A murder mystery dinner party is a themed dinner revolving around a role-playing mystery game, where those in attendance try to figure out who's secretly the murderer. It's a perfect mystery game for adults who want to immerse themselves in a suspenseful storyline and work together to solve a spooky whodunit. This type of event is particularly popular around Halloween, although this could easily be hosted any time of year.

Now, let's cut to the chase and uncover the secrets of how to plan a murder mystery party.

1. Plan your story

The story of your murder mystery is the lifeblood of your spooky event. To get you started, you can pick your plot line in one of these two ways:

Purchase a murder mystery kit

If you're looking for a foolproof way to host a murder mystery dinner party (especially if it's your first time), then purchasing a murder mystery kit is a great place to start! These kits are carefully designed to create an engaging experience right out of the box. Inside, you'll find character profiles, intriguing clues, scripts, and step-by-step instructions to help you effortlessly navigate the entire event. Choose from a wide variety of themes with plenty of unique roles for everyone interested in playing.

Create your own murder mystery 

Want to add a unique flair to your murder mystery? Crafting your own story grants you extra creative freedom, particularly when choosing your event's theme and characters. This is an especially perfect option if you're a theatre or musical organisation planning to use your own actors.

To get started, brainstorm a compelling plot with twists and turns that'll keep everyone guessing. Create detailed character profiles, including backgrounds, motives, and secrets, to help your mystery's participants (whether that's your attendees or a designated cast) bring their characters to life. Develop clues and evidence that lead to the big reveal, and ensure your talented actors are well-rehearsed with scripts or prompts to guide their interactions during the dinner party. If you're looking for some extra inspiration, check out scripts online to help you get started with fresh ideas!  

2. Set the stage

Based on your theme, decorate the space with props like crime scene tape, vintage photographs, or mysterious artefacts. Enhance the ambiance with dimmed lighting or candlelit tables to create an atmosphere of suspense. Consider playing themed background music, burning a specific aroma throughout the night, or keeping the room at a brisk temperature for a bone-chilling experience. You can even select a venue that aligns with the theme of your murder mystery (like an old historic building or a cosy cabin) for an extra layer of magic to your event. To add to the immersive atmosphere, encourage your guests to dress up according to the theme too. If you're using your own actors for the show, they could even pretend to be a part of the audience and later reveal themselves for a wild surprise once the story starts!

3. Spread the word

Captivate your guests from the start with an eye-catching event page and a proper invitation. Use a ticketing platform like TicketLeap to effortlessly create custom event pages that match the theme of your murder mystery and get people excited to buy their tickets. Then, send out alluring email invitations to your prospective guests, complete with your full event details and spooky graphics. TicketLeap is full of additional ticketing features that'll make it easy for you to also send any necessary waivers or registration forms to your ticket buyers before they get to the crime scene.

4. Serve a themed dinner

Aligning the menu of your event with the theme of your event is key to mastering how to plan a murder mystery dinner. Incorporate dishes that reflect the time period or setting of your murder mystery. For example, if you're hosting a 1920's theme, impress your guests with classic cocktails like martinis or old fashioneds. To add an extra layer of intrigue, label the dishes with creative names tied to the storyline like "Poisoned Pear Salad" or "Fatal Fettuccine Alfredo." Consider asking about potential dietary restrictions in your event's registration questions as well. That way, you can accommodate those guests and ensure everyone gets to enjoy your delicious meal.  

5. Assign your characters

If you're planning to have attendees participate in the mystery itself, you can use the information you gathered from your registration form to assign the perfect character to each of them. Once you've done this, it's important to send out character assignments as soon as possible (ideally 2-4 weeks in advance). This gives them ample time to read up on their characters and understand their backgrounds, motives, and secrets. They may even find a costume that matches their character's personality. If you're using your own actors, you should still share character information with your attendees beforehand. This helps them get familiar with the story and start thinking about who the true suspect might be. 

6. Solve the mystery!

As the night unfolds and tension builds, it's time to put your detective skills to the test and solve the murder mystery at your dinner party. Encourage your guests to interact, question suspects, and gather clues to piece together the puzzle. Try incorporating a voting system where guests can cast their votes on who they believe is the culprit. Finally, at the grand reveal, announce the true identity of the murderer and congratulate those who solved the mystery. Award prizes for the most astute detective or the best-dressed character to add an extra element of friendly competition. Don't forget to take event photos and videos throughout the night to capture the excitement! Afterwards, you can share these highlights to your social media and use them when marketing your future spooky events.

Your murder mystery awaits — let TicketLeap be your partner in crime! Use our user-friendly ticketing platform to sell tickets online, promote your event, and get paid fast. Sign up with TicketLeap today and unlock a world of possibilities for hosting your next awesome event!

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