Good food, fun decorations, and an original mystery are three elements in one of the best parties I’ve ever hosted, and this is my final post on how you can create your own unique murder mystery dinner party. In part one, I shared how to write and plan the mystery. I explained how to make the party run smoothly in part two. Now, on to…
Part 3—Dinner, Plus Odds and Ends
Tip#1—Take breaks between courses for sleuthing.
My party began with appetizers and mingling. Then I explained rules and gave my guests their first clues. While they ate salad, they talked about the clues.
Next, we had a break and some guests examined the crime scene I’d created in the guestroom. Meanwhile others searched for clues in the living room. After twenty minutes, I served the main course. When they finished eating, more guests explored the crime scene.
Finally, I served dessert and allowed guests to eat as they had an opportunity.
Tip #2—Choose food that can be prepared ahead, and have someone help you serve.
This may seem obvious, but it really is necessary. I had no time during the party to finish cooking a meal because I was facilitating the mystery. My parents agreed to be servers, and I’m glad I asked for their assistance.
In addition to the appetizers and salad, I served lasagna and bread I’d made the day before. They were perfect for a main course because they could be kept warm until it was time to eat.
Tip #3—Keep the cost of the decorations low.
I was on a budget and wanted most of my money to go for food, so I found ways to save on decorations. Because I used my town’s glass factory as the inspiration for the murder mystery story, I used my antique pattered glass for center pieces.
All of the paper I used for the invitations, booklets, and place cards was on clearance, and the paper complemented the glass colors. I purchased holiday tablecloths and napkins on clearance after Christmas. (Probably because they’re a mossy green that most people don’t love, but they were perfect this party.)
Tip#4—End with a prize.
I gave a gift card to the winner. When I observed my guests were close to solving the mystery, I asked everyone to write down who they believed the murderer was and why he or she committed the crime. The prize was for the person who came closest to solving the mystery. In the case of a tie, I planned to give the gift card to the person who had the most detailed solution.
I ended the night by explaining the full solution.
Thanks for indulging me in this blog series as I remembered this fun party and my glory days as an entertainer. Perhaps one day, I’ll do something like this again—when I have time.