Hosting a Murder Mystery Party

how to host a murder mystery party

Need a fun new idea for a party?  Consider hosting a murder mystery party.

I’ve hosted two murder mystery parties in my day – and been to one other.  I went to my first one for a friend’s birthday party in high school.  Allegra always had cool birthday parties (in general). Here’s a look at the guests.

Allegra’s mom was technically the host of the party so that Allegra got to play along.  I found out that she ordered the mystery from Dinner and a Murder (dot com – of course) – specifically the game of the Four Deuces, a game for 10-20 players.  When I needed an idea for a party in college, I immediate went back to this game – I knew it worked, it made sense to me, and I was going to have somebody that I could ask questions to if I needed to.

I hosted a party my sophomore year of college in one of the common spaces in the residence hall (the joys of being an RA – having access to almost anything you need).  Here’s a look at the guests.

After the party, I printed these out and sent them to everybody as a thank you for coming.  Not too shabby, huh?

I then went on to throw one more murder mystery party in my college career.  The Four Deuces 2 (also purchased from the same company).

How it works: The hostess buys the kit they want (either physically or as a download).  There is a hostess instructions packet that is the most helpful thing ever.  The hostess reads the character descriptions and assigns people accordingly (there are even suggestions about what types of personalities to put in what roles).  The hostess prints out each character’s packet and gives it to them before the party – this includes a description of the character, their history, their secrets, and their objectives for the party.  And yes, somebody’s packet says “you are the murderer”.  The hostess does not need to know who this person is before the game starts.  The hostess knows once the party starts that one particular character has specific instructions that need to be done.  Once those instructions are done – that character will give a head nod to the hostess.  After that, the lights go out, there is a loud bang and in somebody’s character packet it tells them when this happens that they need to fall on the ground dead.  Then the characters “clean up the crime scene” and the hostess hands out the confidential packets to the characters giving them their next set of objectives/instructions/secrets.  The characters continue to talk to and interview each other trying to figure out who committed the murder.  Once somebody has solved the murder, you check in the “solution envelope” to see if they’re right.  If they’re right, the game is over, otherwise, continue until a) somebody else figures it out, or b) everybody gets bored (hey, it happens).

As for the step-by-step details, they’re all in the instructions.  Those instructions are as good as gold when throwing this party.  There are some things that I learned along the way though.

5 Tips/Thoughts about hosting a Murder Mystery Party:

  • It is MUCH MUCH easier for the hostess to not play along.  It’s not impossible to play along.  But if it’s your first party, I HIGHLY recommend just watching it play out.  Or finding someone else to host it for you.
  • It’s not worth serving dinner during this party, just keep appetizers out.  There’s so many other things the hostess is responsible for that a meal just isn’t worth the stress.
  • The guys will have just as much fun with it as the girls will.  I was nervous at first.  But in the 1920s the guys were all mobsters.  Enough said.
  • Make sure that you stress to your guests how important it is that they be there one the invitations.  None of this “maybe” stuff.  You need to know ahead of time who is going to be there so that you can assign cast members accordingly, and no matter what you need at least the core members of the cast there.
  • Take individual photographs of everybody (yes, I realize people usually hate this, tell them to suck it up lol) – then you can create cool things with them later.
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