How to Host a ‘Successful’ Murder Mystery Dinner Party…in Theory

Looking for a fun and spooky way to celebrate the fall season?

by CHELSEA SCHAFFER, CSU Communications Graduate Assistant

Whether you want to meet with friends virtually or in person, a Murder Mystery Party is a fun and festive place to start, in theory. As I’m writing this I haven’t had the get-together yet but I thought I would share some inspiration and strategies that I have found helpful in the process of planning one.

  1. Set Yourself up for Success

I learned pretty early on that creating a murder mystery party by hand was not going to happen given my busy work and school schedule. I instead decided to invest in an online version where I could print out everything that I would need ahead of time (using my unused printing money might I add).

  1. Be Smart and Save 

Saving money in college is incredibly important. Although, when it comes to decorating for holidays I will admit I have a hard time holding myself back. For this party, I tried to be more resourceful and use objects that I already had such as painting old bottles and going thrifting to find centerpieces that fit the theme of my party.

  1. Planning Ahead and Building Suspense

Something that the creator of the kit suggests is building suspense and excitement before putting on the event. I decided to send invites out on the first day of October and do character reveals as the month went on. I then sent each person their unique character description so they could prepare costumes and backstories. 

  1. Setting the Scene and Pulling it All Together

Something that is pretty mind-blowing to me is the effect that color and lighting can have on you. To construct a speakeasy kind of energy I focused on using warm orange lights. I also chose to use tea lights rather than real candles as I didn’t really want to end the night with my apartment actually burning down. Another thing I did was search for a virtual fireplace that I could put up on my TV to add some ambient noise. Additionally, I hooked up my speaker to play music that I liked inspired by my theme.

Will the party be a success? Only time will tell but I can sure share that it’s been a blast planning one.

Looking to plan your own Murder Mystery Party? Here is the link to the kit I purchased

Chelsea Schaffer is the Centennial Student Union Communications Graduate Assistant pursuing her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. As the CSU Communications GA, Chelsea supervises a student staff of graphic designers and public relations interns/assistants and serves as managing editor for the student e-newsletter, supervises the weekly CAN events calendar and aids in various marketing communications duties.

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