How to Host Your Own Murder Mystery Party

Sure, going out on New Year’s Eve is fun, but it can also be expensive and hard to coordinate. Prove to your group of friends just how fun staying in can be by hosting your own murder mystery party, for the most exciting—or bewildering—New Year’s yet!

1. Rally a group of friends

A murder mystery game requires anywhere from five to 200 people. Invite as many people as you want, with fun invitations and/or a private Facebook event where you can recruit friends, coworkers and family from out of town.

2. Pick a venue

You can definitely host a murder mystery at your own place, but, if you get a lot of people to RSVP, it may be hard to squeeze everyone into your home or apartment. There are lots of event spaces you can rent here in Raleigh, including HQ Raleigh and theSTORE, as well as restaurants and art galleries. Go to eventup.com to search for all available venues in the Triangle. Make sure to book early in advance.

3. Purchase a murder mystery party kit

There are several different murder mystery party kits to choose from online, each with their own unique stories and character plots. playingwithmurder.com and mymysteryparty.com both offer downloadable game kits, each with lots of fun themes to choose from. Be sure to choose one that’s in line with the number of guests you’re hosting.

4. Create a theme

Everyone loves dressing up, so create a theme for your party that requires guests to come in costume. The theme can be something as casual as “Wild West” or as fancy as a costume ball, or have it geared towards Raleigh by making your guests dress as their favorite area chef or local celebrity. There are a bunch of vintage shops in town where you can buy cheap clothing to DIY your own costume, including Father & Son and Bargain Box. Decorate your house to match the theme and set the mood for the party.

5. Plan a menu

The game could end up taking a while, so make sure to have food for your guests throughout. Since murder mystery is organized into three rounds, it’s easiest to have appetizers during round one, an entree course during round two and dessert for round three. Catering, especially for a large group, might be your best bet. For the “Wild West” theme, Mexican food, like from Gonza or Salsa Fresh, would be fitting. Batched drinks would also be a great idea; for a 1920s theme, try replicating some of the craft cocktails from Watts & Ward or C. Grace.

6. Assign character roles

It’s up to you how you want to assign the character roles as host. One way is to match personalities and occupations, or assign guests characters that are their complete opposites. When delivering invitations, let your guest know their character information and any costume suggestions.

7. Round One

Guests receive their first set of clue cards, which provide secret details about their character and clues about the other players. Players get the opportunity to mingle and become familiar with the parts they’re playing.

8. Round Two

Players receive another set of cards and the murder victim is notified. The victim must wear a victim sign and continue to play as the ghost of his/her former self. Then, in an investigation round, each player tries to figure out who the murderer is using additional clues.

9. Round Three

Each guest takes a guess at who the murderer is and the host hands out solution cards establishing each player’s involvement with the crime. The murderer then confesses, revealing who guessed correctly.

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