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How to Host a Mind-bending Murder Mystery Party

Intrigue, suspicion, and murder most foul - as long as it's all fictional, these elements can come together to create a fun-filled party your guests will never forget. Anyone who has ever attended a murder...

Intrigue, suspicion, and murder most foul - as long as it's all fictional, these elements can come together to create a fun-filled party your guests will never forget.

Anyone who has ever attended a murder mystery party can attest to how thrilling they can be. Putting on a persona, dressing up, and playing pretend with grown-up friends can be both fun and freeing, making for a murder mystery dinner party that keeps attendees on the edge of their seats. This type of themed party is one of the most unique milestone birthday themes or 50th birthday party ideas out there. Or, if your group of friends is into cosplay, it would make a great get-together idea any old Friday night.

Fortunately, planning a killer murder mystery party doesn't require you to be a master detective. With these essential tips, you'll be ready to connect the dots and Sherlock Holmes your way to a successful (yet sinister) soirée.

How to Host a Murder Mystery Party 101: The Essential Elements

Hosting a murder mystery party is a lot like putting on a play. You'll need to evoke a certain setting through design and decor, keep track of character interactions, and make sure the partygoers meet all your cues.


If you want to host a successful murder mystery party, you're going to need a plot. There are a few different ways to achieve this:

  • Purchase a pre-planned murder mystery kit: These kits vary in setting, number of characters, included materials, and price. While murder mystery party kits leave a little less room for creativity, there are plenty of options out there, so you'll likely be able to find one that suits your vision.

  • Create the plot of your murder mystery yourself: This can be a more labor-intensive option, but if you're the creative type, the challenge can be almost as fun as the party itself. If you're a true-crime enthusiast, a Dungeons and Dragons game master, or a mystery-genre hobbyist, this may be the best option for you.

  • Reserve a slot with a murder mystery company: Depending on where you live, there may be a murder mystery party purveyor nearby. Some have their own dedicated venues in historical houses, some will send performers to your home, and some operate out of hotels, restaurants, and theaters. Working with a company may be a better bet for parties on a grander scale.


Murder mystery parties are for the wallflowers in your friend group: your guests must actively participate in the play-acting and murder-solving. Depending on the murder mystery plot you choose, you may also need to limit your guest list to a certain number. Consider your party guest list and invite friends who will jump into the festivities head-first.

Once you solidify your attendees, it's time to assign them their roles. Select a storyline that suits your guests and assign them parts they will be able to assume naturally. The best fit for a role is someone who resembles the character already. Fulfilling this task with care is essential to ensuring each guest can play their part with enthusiasm.

Props and Costumes

Imagination is a baseline requirement for a riveting murder mystery party, but the physical items you include can be equally important. Props and costumes that fit your theme can help inspire your guests' creativity.

Here are a few ideas for party-enhancing props:

  • Costumes: You can ask your guests to come in costume, but you may also want to provide them with essential pieces or costume suggestions to help ensure they fit the character description of your murder mystery script.

  • Mystery-solving tools: A kit may come with a few props like magnifying glasses and fingerprinting kits, but you can also provide these yourself. You can also give each guest a small notebook and pen to write their observations in so they can channel Dr. Watson and Captain Hastings.

  • Props: If your storyline involves a murder weapon, make sure to source a prop replica to use in place of any object that could be dangerous to guests.

How to Prepare for a Murder Mystery Party

Once you have your plot, cast list, and props and costumes all decided on, you can start the real prep for your party. From creating themed decor to designing a delicious menu, the preparation for this gripping murder mystery event is half the fun.

Choose a Theme that Suits Your Plot

Most likely, your theme is already baked into your party plan. If your party plot is centered around the murder of an eccentric prohibition-era millionaire, you know that you'll need to imbue the evening with 1920s glamour. On the other hand, if you're diving into a film noir-style detective story, your decor will lean more shadowy and monochrome.

Prepare Your Space with Chilling Decor

On the day of the party, make sure that your home or venue is appropriately decked out according to your theme. Set up a snack table or a self-serve drink station - it's a great way to help guests stay refreshed without messing with the murder plot timeline. Most importantly, hide essential clues and props around the space where they'll be easy to track down later.

Make sure to keep your plot details somewhere out of reach of party guests. You wouldn't want the big reveal to be spoiled!

Craft a Menu that Inspires Anticipation

Since you'll be too entranced in the plot to whip up any refreshments in the moment, you should pre-plan snacks, drinks, and the meal menu for your murder mystery party. You don't need to have a sit-down meal, but it can add a level of immersion in the plot that is truly exciting.

Set a Schedule for the Key Moments

Murder mystery parties can require a bit more scheduling than your typical get-together. Consider structuring your party into sections with a general timeframe. A fine-tuned schedule can help you keep the event on track, but remember, if something goes awry, just improvise. As long as you're having a good time, your party is sure to be a success.

Spark Anticipation for Any Party with Paperless Post

You've plotted the perfect murder mystery party, crafted compelling characters, and fine-tuned your menu options. All that's left is to send out invitations and start building suspense. Paperless Post has the perfect clue: there's no better way to send out invites to your murder mystery party than with an online card.

Send out party invitations for your next event with Paperless Post, and you can customize your cards, track RSVPs, and send updates to each of your party guests with ease. It's the best way to inform guests of your party's theme and message them the specifics of their roles and costumes.

Enticing invitation options like our "Miss Scarlett in the Library" card are an excellent way to prepare your guests for an evening of excitement and intrigue. In fact, Paperless Post offers themed invites for pretty much any occasion you could dream up. So next time you want to throw a really killer party, head to Paperless Post.

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