A world of suspense, where hidden agendas, alliances, and enigmatic characters come to life. A murder mystery party is the ultimate blend of entertainment and engagement, a whirlwind of imagination and intrigue that captivates both the host and the guests. But how do you even go about creating one?
Choose a theme that keeps 'Em Guessing
The first step in hosting a murder mystery party is selecting a theme. You can go crazy with your theme and fit it to something that you and your guests would love! Whether it’s a 1920s speakeasy, a glamorous Hollywood gala, or a spooky Victorian mansion, a unique theme sets the stage for an immersive experience.
Creative Themes for a Murder Mystery Party
Medieval Castle: Transport back in time to a medieval castle where lords, ladies and knights unravel a mystery amidst feasts and courtly affairs. Tuck into ale, wine and legs of lamb in this tale of treachery and intrigue.
Pirate Plunder: Set aboard a pirate ship, where swashbucklers and scallywags work together to solve a mystery while navigating treacherous waters. You could incorporate hidden treasure, rum and a feast into this mystery of the seven seas!
Wacky Wild West: Set in a remote western town, Cowboys, Saloon owners, and Outlaws act with suspicion to solve a murder on the frontier. A rootin’ tootin’ time for all your guests awaits in the Wild, Wild West.
Hollywood Glamour: Set in the golden age of Hollywood, guests play characters involved in the film industry solving a mystery at a glamorous awards ceremony. This is a great way for all your guests to use their fancy outfits hidden away for special occasions and can make for a great Instagram photo.
Circus Catastrophe: Amidst the vibrant atmosphere of a circus, performers and attendees uncover a mystery that shocked the whole troup! A clown gone missing, a sword-eater had a disaster! The possibilities are endless.
Classic Literature Remix: Characters from different classic literature works father for an evening of intrigue. Combining various different stories into a unique mystery can work together to craft a fantastic tale!
Masquerade Mystery: A masquerade ball where attendees, hidden behind masks, elaborate costumes and mystical names work together to solve a masquerade mystery! Assigning everyone (or letting them choose) a code name adds to the immersion and can make for a night of utmost fun!
The choices are endless so make sure you have some fun with it!
Craft intriguing invitations
Invitations are the introduction to your murder mystery party and is a fantastic way to set the theme and have some fun with it. Here is a list of some fun and quirky invitation ideas to wow your guests!
Newspaper Clippings: A classic piece of Pop Culture, you can create mock newspaper clipping letters to invite people to your event with individual names and a great way to reuse your old magazines and newspapers that you don’t read anymore!
Faux Telegrams: Send out invitations designed like telegrams, complete with short and cryptic messages that hint at the mystery and the characters the guests will play.
Audio Message Invitations: Record an audio message in character, inviting your guests to the upcoming event and urging guests to join the investigation. Share the recording via email or a group chat!
Include a small object: Adding a small object related to the theme of the party inside your invitation. This could even be a clue for the mystery!
Interactive Websites: If you really want to go all out, a password-protected website with information about the party is an amazing way to set the theme. Guests could access character descriptions, story details and if you desire, interactive puzzles!
Message in a bottle: Placing the invitation in a glass bottle sealed with cork can be the perfect way to invite people to a nautical themed murder mystery!
Letters with Wax Seals: This is a great way to create a feeling of intrigue and high-class. Personalised letters within add a great way to start building up the atmosphere for the Murder Mystery.
Create your character profiles
- Name: Choose names that suit the theme and time period.
- Occupation: Assign each character a relevant occupation based on the theme.
- Age: Determine the age range for each character.
- Develop a mix of positive and negative traits for each character.
- Consider their strengths, weaknesses, quirks and habits. This is a great way to make the day/night super fun!
- Think about how these traits might affect their interactions and decision-making.
Create a backstory for each character that explains their life before the party.
Include details about their family, education, career and any significant life events.
Develop secrets, regrets and desires that drive their actions during the party.
- Define how each character knows the others and what their relationships are like.
- Establish alliances, rivalries, friendships, and conflicts between characters.
- Consider past interactions and shared history that could impact their dynamics.
- Determine the reasons each character might have for committing a murder or being involved in the mystery.
- Develop motives related to personal gain, revenge, love interests, or hidden agendas.
Secrets and Clues
Assign each character specific secrets, clues and information related to the mystery.
Make sure these details are shared only with the player of that character.
- Provide guidelines for how players should approach their characters and interact with others.
- Encourage improvisation while staying true to the character’s personality.
The more thought and detail that you put into each character’s profile, the more immersive and engaging your murder mystery party will be.
Decor and Ambiance
Themed decor: Use decorations that match the atmosphere / time period of your theme. This could be anything that you could think of - get creative with it! Incorporate specific elements that reflect the theme, an example of this would be nautical items for a pirate theme or vintage oddities for a 1920s theme.
Lighting: Adjust your lighting to suit the mood. Dim lighting, candlelight, or coloured lighted to create an atmospheric and mysterious vibe.
Sound effects and Music: Play background music that fits the theme, such as jazzy tunes for a 1920s party or dramatic music for a gothic-themed event.
Entryway: Create a captivating entrance that immediately sets the tone for the party. This can include themed welcome signs, banners or props to welcome guests as they arrive.
Hidden Spaces: Create hidden corners or alcoves where guests can uncover clues or interact with specific elements of the mystery.
Storytelling Areas: Designate spaces where characters can deliver monologues, share secrets or advance the plot. These areas will be your focal points for key moments in the story.
Perfect for a vintage or high class murder mystery
Ideal for a Gothic Look
Plan Twists and Turns
Layered Clues: Scatter multiple layers of clues throughout the party. Each clue should lead to another, gradually revealing more about the mystery. Make sure the clues are not too obvious, requiring some investigation and deduction.
Misdirection: Introduce red herrings or misleading clues that lead characters in the wrong direction!
Unreliable Narrators: Design characters who provide information that may be true, partially true or completely fabricated. Encourage characters to have their own motives for misleading others.
Double Agents: A super fun idea to implement into your murder mystery - Characters who appear to be allies but are secretly working against the group’s interests. Reveal their true intentions at a critical moment to shock the other characters and players.
Hidden Agendas: Give each character a hidden agenda or personal goal that they are to try and achieve for a reward at the end. This can introduce unexpected complications - but perhaps involve a penalty if they don’t succeed!
Backstory Unveiling: Gradually reveal backstory details of characters, which can provide insights into their motives and actions, this can lead to sudden realizations and twists.
Surprise Accusations: Encourage characters to make surprise accusations against unexpected individuals during the course of the party.
Dress the Part
Making sure that everyone is dressing on theme can take the atmosphere of the event up to the top level! This helps all the guests act in character. You can research outfits for your theme and give your guests suggestions!
Themed Menu: Design a menu that matches the time period or setting of your murder mystery theme. This could be foods that match the time period, or fancy dishes for a banquet - have some fun with it!
Signature Cocktails: Create cocktails named after characters, plot points, or themes in the mystery - adding custom labels or cards with relevant images or quotes can be a fun little addition to the cocktails!
Clue-Infused Dishes: Incorporate clues or hidden messages into the food presentation. This could be arranging ingredients to form a cipher, or adding edible props to the dishes.
Browse our kitchen table collection to see if you can find tableware to fit your parties needs.
Calli Paper Napkins - Pack of 20 - £3.80
Hosting a murder mystery party can seem quite overwhelming, but taking it step-by-step allows you to craft the perfect night of laughter and suspense. As long as you stay on theme, in all aspects, create good character dynamics and organise your clues - the night will be absolutely fantastic.
Thank you for reading and I hope your Murder Mystery Party goes down a treat! If you are so inclined feel free to have a browse of our site and see if anything catches your deducing eye.