So you already know I love thriller books and this weekend I went all in on my fav sub-genre. I got about twenty people from work together and hosted a murder mystery party - I did not have to bribe any of them; I'm proud to say I work with some of the most fun people who also enjoy sleuthing and crime stopping. (Except for that one concerning person who asked "who are we murdering?" when I sent out the invitation. I made a mental note to never steal their lunch or prank them in the future.)
Unless you're Ted Bundy, most people don't think of murder as a particularly uplifting topic, but this party was a ton of fun! The theme was 1920's - think Great Gatsby meets the Chicago Mob - so we went all out with boas, feathers, cigars and fedoras. Everyone was assigned a character with clues across three rounds to figure out whodunnit? I was Wyleen Black, a conniving reporter who was blackmailing every person under the sun to keep up my lavish lifestyle. I spent the night gossiping about other people, all the while hoping I wouldn't end up as the victim since frankly even I would have been tempted to off me for the stuff I knew. I won't spoil it for those who might want to play in the future, but I will say that by the last round, no one guessed the murderer.
All in all, it was a fun way to get to know people outside of work. We dressed up, we drank, and we all tried out fake "Godfather" accents that had people in stitches the whole night. Maybe not the traditional happy hour, but we were definitely happy for hours.
If you want to host your own Murder Mystery Party, here are a few tips to keep in mind. (And let me know which one you choose because we all want to play again and are thinking about a Western theme next!)
1. Order from My Mystery Party. Well thought out plot lines that keep you guessing the whole night, this company is the best of the best. With lots of themes to choose from I'm sure you'll find something that fits your needs. Have more than the required players? Buy an expansion pack. The guests will have no idea they are an optional player because everyone ends up as an essential part of the story.
2. Find a venue. While you can definitely host at home, it's fun to make a night of it! See if a restaurant is willing to give you a private room or semi-private space. You'll just need an area where you can get up and walk around to facilitate discussion. If you'd rather go more budget friendly, decorate your space at home and ask guests to bring a period dish (My Mystery Party even recommends menu items!)
3. Share characters ahead of time. People love finding out their character, so get people excited by releasing the character list early. Gives people time to pick their outfit accordingly and start the sleuthing early.
4. Have food (and liquid courage) available. The party lasts around 3 hours so I recommend having food and drinks available. While alcohol is by no means required, a drink or two definitely loosens people up - just make sure you don't share secret clues!
5. You don't have to know everyone coming in. While it's definitely fun with friends, you don't have to know everyone. I invited teammates from work as a bonding opportunity and they brought their significants which added to the fun and an air of mystery!
6. Go all in. Dress up and get in character! It's a lot more fun when everyone is really into it. I was surprised how much people stayed in character, even during the breaks I thought I was still in the 1920's.
Have you ever hosted or attended a murder mystery party? Share your experience in the comments below!