Planning your murder mystery costumes

Planning your costume needn’t be murder...

Simon Hoare

Written by: Simon Hoare
Nov 19, 2020

One of the key ingredients for a murder mystery party whether it’s for a Hen Party or Stag Weekend or simply having your friends and family round for a murder mystery dinner party is what you and everyone else is going to wear for their murder mystery costumes!

This isn’t simply about throwing on your favourite dress or shirt and heading out the door for a big night out – this is an actual real-life grown-up opportunity for a bit of fancy dress! Perhaps the first time to put on some crazy attire since the Year 6 disco!

For some of you – the idea of dressing up in theme in your murder mystery costume is thrilling. Whilst for others – it is an actual, literal nightmare that you’ve been having on repeat for the last two weeks straight.

But don’t panic!

A costume themed night in around the table for a murder mystery party doesn’t have to be as stressful as you might be imagining it to be.

Here are a handy few tips from the team at You Dunnit who create custom murder mystery games to ensure your whodunnit murder mystery costume is killer – while your stress levels stay low.

Create your own custom murder mystery game

  • Play with friends online or in real life
  • Create your custom murder mystery game in less than 15 mins
  • Delivered instantly – play on your phone or print out
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1. Decide on your murder mystery costumes together – or keep them secret until the party

This is an easy first question but one that many people skip over. Are you and the other guests going to chat together about your costumes and agree on what you’re going to wear – or are you each planning for a surprise reveal of your murder mystery attire on the night?

This is important because, for example, if two or three of you are all supposed to be, let’s say, mechanics or members of a band, you might want to agree on some sort of uniform that you each wear so that you look the same.

Alternatively, you might all want to leave it until the night before you each see what the others are wearing so that you can have a good old giggle at each other at the start of the night.

2. Decide on a budget for your murder mystery party game costumes

There’s usually always one person who goes ‘all out’ and blows all their spending money on their costume for the event. If that person is you, well, go for it! However, you might want to agree together on how much you’re going to spend. Some ideas:

The no-cost costume

You can only make up your costume from what you already have in your house.

The homemade murder mystery costume

If you enjoy a bit of craft or needlework, you could make your own murder mystery costume that doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Check out this awesome guide: Coolest Homemade Costume Ideas

The £20 costume challenge

Or an alternative amount of money - basically everyone agrees not to spend more than a certain amount on the costume. After all, you don’t really want to turn up and everyone has hired £150 outfits while you are in your ripped jeans.

The sky’s the limit costume

It’s got to be an option, this might be your big party of the year or your best friend's last party before getting married and so you want it to be more of a ‘no expense spared’ kind of night. If you’ve got the cash, why not go for the best attire? You can buy some amazing costumes online such as at fancydress.com.

3. Consult your murder mystery game character guide

Most murder mystery packs and scripts contain a costume suggestion section. Time and time again, people turn up to a murder mystery night and only then read their booklet. “Oh, that’s what I’m supposed to look like!” is something you really shouldn’t ever think.

If there is a pack, a murder mystery script or a guide, read it as soon as you get it!

Online games murder mystery games such as You Dunnit (which is a fully customisable murder mystery game that you can build in 15 minutes) allows you and your guests to log in and see their character information as soon as you’ve created it.

Choosing your murder mystery costume also includes being sure of the theme. You don’t want to turn up in the style of the Roaring 20s when everyone else is dressed for the Swinging 60s!

4. Get some murder mystery costume inspiration

CR Fashion Book has a great photo gallery of styles through the decades for women here. For the men, Ties has a great blog called ‘100+ Years of Men’s Fashion’ with great photos that can help you chose your murder mystery costume here.

If you’re playing the part of a detective, ListVerse has a great picture gallery of their Top 10 Fictional Detectives with some famous sleuths and spies to be inspired by. This might help you to chose your crime-fighting murder mystery costume. Will you go for the trench coat? Or Sherlock’s deerstalker hat? Maybe Poirot’s moustache. Check it out here.

5. Don’t forget about props for your murder mystery party

An essential part of your costume should be the props or accessories. If you are a band member – bring your instrument! If you’re a mechanic – bring a few tools.

It might not be realistic that your character would bring those kinds of items to a murder mystery dinner party – but this is a game and it’s all about overemphasising and painting a picture.

Perhaps Professor Plum brings a candlestick while Miss Scarlett has some rope and Colonel Mustard is concealing a lead pipe in his trousers.

The wackier the prop, the bigger the laughs, the bigger the laughs, the more successful your costume would have been – and the better you will feel about yourself.

6. Remember that people are more concerned about their own costumes at a murder mystery party

This is a really good piece of insight… while you are stressing about what people think about your costume, everyone else is doing the exact same thing.

So when the door opens and you’re standing there nervously in your cowboy hat, remember that the person on the other side of the door is nervously wondering what you will think of their Indian feathers.

So, chill out! Switch the attention to their killer costume by getting in there and complimenting it first!

7. Play yourself at your murder mystery party – or each other!

If you’re not sure what theme to play for your whodunnit, a new idea that is proving really popular is to build your own murder mystery game and then play and dress up as each other! So, you can come dressed to your murder mystery party as your best mate, brother or mum, wearing clothes in their style, doing your hair like theirs, bringing some outrageous props that highlight their personality and you can have a real good laugh at each other.

You Dunnit allows you to actually create your own character names as well as a bunch of other personalised and customisable features so that you can play a killer whodunnit game that no one has EVER played before. They cost the same as regular murder mystery boxed games but they are unique and personal to you and your murder mystery party.

Host your custom murder mystery party

  • Create your custom murder mystery game in less than 15 mins
  • Delivered instantly – play on your phone or print out
  • Play with guests in real life or online
Learn More

Recap!

To plan your costume for a murder mystery party, you should:

  1. Choose whether to decide on your Murder Mystery costumes together or keep them secret until the party

  2. Decide on a Budget for your Murder Mystery Party Game Costumes

  3. Consult your Murder Mystery Game Character Guide

  4. Don’t Forget about Props for your Murder Mystery Party

  5. Remember that people are more concerned about their own Costumes at a Murder Mystery Party

  6. Why not Play yourself at your Murder Mystery Party - or each other!