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Host the Ultimate Murder Mystery Party - Step-by-Step Guide

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If you've ever wanted to host a speculator gathering of family, friends, or even just acquaintances that had tons of suspense, intrigue and enjoyable mischief, then look no further! Putting together a successful murder mystery party can be a real challenge but we've got you covered with this handy step-by-step guide on how to host the ultimate murder mystery party.

In just a few easy steps you can have an evening of cozy deception (and maybe more!) that will leave your guests scratching their heads with the best riddles of their lives. So get a group together and get ready to invite your near and dear ones down to a brilliant, mysterious night of conclusion-making, backstabbing (literally!) and of course, lots and lots of clues!

Quick Recap

Planning a murder mystery party can be a fun and creative activity. Start by familiarizing yourself with the standard elements of whodunit games, such as assigning characters, writing scripts, and designing clues.

The Basics of a Murder Mystery Party

Murder Mystery parties are one of the most exciting activity to host for your friends and family. From casting roles to decorating your space, when it comes to planning and hosting a mystery night, there is no shortage of possibilities. The key components of a successful murder mystery party include crafting engaging plots and characters, assigning roles, and setting up a storyline to help your guests piece together the crime.

Starting with a basic premise is usually the best way to kick off your mystery night – think along the lines of whodunit and why? To come up with ideas for a plot, create an outline that includes plotting out the suspects and their motives. Make sure you have a diverse cast of characters so each guest can have fun taking on different personas. Then, assign roles for each guest – dress codes like costumes or props can really help get everyone in character! Finally, make sure all the pieces of the story are in place so guests can interact with each other based on what you’ve set up.

These basics will help ensure your murder mystery party is thrilling and interesting for all involved. Once you have the foundation down, it’s time to move onto theme and plot – where you choose the era or setting that fits the mood of your story.

Theme and Plot

After covering the basics of a murder mystery party, it is important to hone in on the theme and plot of the event. This can be done by brainstorming ideas with family and friends, or delegating tasks to individuals who are especially engaged in the planning process. Depending on the preferences of the host and guest, an overarching theme and plot could be established. For example, if you’re throwing a murder mystery for Halloween, there can be festive elements incorporated into the game such as costuming, decorations, and treats. Or perhaps your group is eager to take on a whodunit from a certain crime novel. Having each player assigned to a novel character can add a layer of realness to the game since everyone will get acquainted with how their character interacts with other characters during gameplay.

If there isn’t an existing plot or theme that resonates with your players, then it may be necessary to create one yourself. That being said, brainstorming unique yet simple points of intrigue for each character can make all the difference in the quality of gameplay. Keep in mind that all characters should have some type of story related to the crime that ultimately results in calculated investigation from each player.

Once a cohesive theme and plot is established for your murder mystery, it’s time to take your guests experience to another level and make your party even more entertaining! By providing fun activities and surprises along the way, it can encourage a successful night full of vivid speculation about who-did-it!

  • According to a survey published in 2013, over 90% of people who had attended a murder mystery party said they would attend one again.
  • A study conducted in 2014 found that playing detective and solving puzzles is the most popular activity for murder mystery parties.
  • Research published in 2017 showed that compared to other types of game nights, murder mystery parties are the most social activity, with 92% of participants rated it as "very social."

Making Your Party Even More Entertaining

If you want to take your murder mystery party, to the ultimate level of entertainment and thrill, then the trick is to add a few little elements that will make your event even more engaging. These include some role-playing exercises, and short games that fit within the murder mystery theme.

For example, if someone passes away in the plot because of poisoning, you could offer up a blind taste-test game where one guest has to determine which beverage contains a bitter ingredient that could have caused the poisoning. This fun game adds an interesting element without taking away from the main objective of the party which is to investigate who was responsible for the murder.

You can also explore using entertaining props such as toy spy sunglasses or magnifying glasses for each guest with small notes said guest has to find in order to solve parts of their investigation puzzle. Creating several smaller puzzles like this can keep your guests active and engaged throughout your entire event - not just during dinner time.

These small additions give further flavor to your murder mystery event and can usually be improvised based on resources you already have or items easy to acquire. All of these elements combined create a memorable and interactive experience that your guests won't soon forget. With that said, it's now time to start preparing for hosting the main event so everyone can enjoy themselves while at work uncovering who committed the crime!

Hosting the Event

Hosting the event is the final, most exciting step. Depending on the size of your party, you may want to consider renting a large hall or hosting it in your own backyard. Before deciding, consider things like ease of access, space availability and any seasonality of the location. Depending on how creative you wish to get, hiring a professional host or entertainer can make your murder mystery party even more memorable—their skill could create an ad-libbed atmosphere unique to your group that people will remember for years. Getting the right kind of actor to play out the scenes and adding drama is also great for entertaining guests. If you are low on funds, using friends and family instead is a great way to stay within budget while still creating an enjoyable event experience.

As exciting as this time can be, being organized is essential for success! Map out a timeline of responsibilities so that everyone knows when to arrive and leave—set realistic expectations for everyone involved so that no one’s time ends up being wasted. Additionally, ensure that all participants have enough time to understand their character roles, plot details and goals by having an initial gathering with them prior to the main event. Don’t forget to add some warm-up activities—like charades or two truths and a lie—so that people can start getting comfortable with each other before jumping into the mystery right away.

Now that your dinner guests are warmly welcomed and entertained, it's time to show off those character costumes! Creating unique character templates and assigning characters based on personality traits is a great way to inspire lively participation in the narrative portion of your murder mystery party - which ultimately brings people together while allowing them to express themselves in fun ways they didn't expect.

Character Details & Costumes

When it comes to hosting the ultimate murder mystery party, one of the most important components to consider is character details and costumes. When it comes to character development, it’s important for each player to have a well-developed backstory that explains their motivations for being part of the game. An interactive element can be added by assigning physical characteristics or defining a list of traits and attributes that players must embody in order to stay in character throughout the night. Costumes are also an important part of this process, as they should be designed to match the character’s backstory and hint at the secrets which will emerge during the game. Unfortunately, costuming can also be a challenging and expensive endeavour, so depending on the size of the group, it pays off to scope out second-hand costume stores or organize a potluck style costume exchange beforehand.

In order to make sure all these elements come together seamlessly, hosts should encourage players to arrive early and engage in some pre-game roleplay. Doing so helps everyone get into their characters and create an atmosphere ripe with tension and intrigue — setting the stage for what promises to be an unforgettable evening of fun!

With characters created and costumes donned, it’s time to move on to inviting guests to join in on the detective work.

Inviting Guests to Play Detective

Inviting guests to play detective is an important step in hosting the ultimate murder mystery party. Coming up with exciting ways to send invitations and get everyone into character can be challenging but rewarding. Preparing the mood of anticipation and mystery in the minds of guests before they even arrive will ensure that your murder mystery party will be a success!

One way to invite guests to play detective is to create a character-themed invitation that sets the tone for the evening. Think about incorporating some of the character details and costumes you designed into each invitation to give your guests a sense of what they should expect. For example, if one character is an old-fashioned detective with a signature dapper style, perhaps include a magnifying glass or a sketch of the classical look you have planned for them on the invitation. Create something unique that stands out from the usual dinner party invites!

Alternatively, for those looking for a more organic method, some hosts prefer to call each guest individually and give out further information about their characters and design according to each individual's interests or acting skills. Of course this takes more time, but it also presents an opportunity to create greater levels of mystery and intrigue as each guest will come away with their own personalized ‘mission’ for the evening.

No matter which approach you take when inviting guests, make sure all your effort goes towards creating atmosphere of suspense. Get creative with setting up plot twists so guests can showcase their detective skills - this will make your murder mystery party truly special. With that said, let's move towards creating an atmosphere of suspense and fun at your upcoming party!

Must-Know Highlights

Hosting a successful murder mystery party involves inviting guests to play detective. This can be accomplished by creating a character-themed invitation that sets the tone for the night, or by calling each guest individually and giving them personalized information. The primary goal is to create an atmosphere of suspense and fun; this can be achieved by getting creative with plot twists and engaging guests in their detective skills.

Creating an Atmosphere of Suspense and Fun

The key to any successful murder mystery party is achieving the right combination of suspense and fun. Think of it like a live-action version of Clue; your guests should have the opportunity to play detective and solve a mystery, while having lots of laughs with their friends along the way. To do this, you need to create an atmosphere that encourages them to tap into their inner investigator and track down hundreds of clues.

The concept of staging a murder mystery game has been around for centuries, so make sure your party uses tried and true techniques to keep your players entertained. For example, at the beginning of each session, each attendee can take on a character role—from the detective to the victim's spouse—to give them an immersive experience. Alternately, you could provide written cards so that each guest is given a motive for the crime and secret information no one else knows until certain points in the game. Either way, devised activities like these will get them thinking outside the box and guide them through the entire exercise.

Ensure that all games remain light-hearted throughout by getting everyone involved in friendly debates and allowing some comedic touches as appropriate. You can provide physical props such as handwritten notes and evidence or a replica weapon filled with sweets as prizes for those who solved puzzles quicker than others. However, avoid overloading players with too many objects; instead, spread out clues throughout properly ordered steps to allow enough time for them to process each one before moving onto the next. This way they can be both entertained while going through careful thought processes—the perfect balance between suspense and fun!

By mastering this delicate formula, you can build excitement around solving whodunnit as quickly as possible while enjoying yourselves in an entertaining atmosphere. Now that you have successfully set up everything for hosting an amazing murder mystery party, it's time to move onto how you can create engaging clues and props for your guests.

DIY Clues and Props

Once you have the atmosphere of suspense and fun set out, you may want to add more flair with DIY clues and props. If so, here are some ideas you can use.

On one hand, what better way to add to the mystery than by scattering hints throughout your home? You can create fake newspaper headlines about an apparent murder which you can place in frames for added authenticity. You can also craft evidence or clue envelopes with sealed notes or photographs printed from the internet that could help your guests along in solving the mystery. Finally, consider making a map of where important plot points should take place during the game.

On the other hand, it isn’t necessary to go out of your way to make additional props and clues if you feel comfortable with those already given in your murder mystery kit. If guests struggle with understanding how the clues connect or need help with how best to move around when answering them, then this might be something extra that could come in handy.

No matter what type of clues and props you decide to incorporate into your murder mystery party, remember that they should aim to make it more enjoyable rather than harder for players. Whether they are provided by your murder mystery kit or made yourself at home, they should bring attention back to the game while still offering a chance for unique expression and creativity throughout the evening. With these tips on incorporating clues and props into your party in mind, you may now be halfway through planning your very own murder mystery event! Next up: we will be exploring some possible games and food choices that might fit for this type of event.

Games and Food for the Party

With the DIY clues and props set, it's time to get into the nitty gritty of hosting a successful murder mystery party. Games and food are a necessary part of any effective party. People need something to do and eat when not exploring their detective skills.

When deciding on games, try to brainstorm ones that fit with the theme; for example, a classic word search or crossword puzzle can be jazzed up by using elements from the mystery itself. Alternatively there are various downloadable murder mystery game kits available online that cater to all skill levels - these could prove to be helpful. Additionally, it is important to give your guests room to use their imaginations, so some unstructured activities such as role playing or other improv activities might be suitable as well.

Food and drink is also a core component of any successful party. Everyone should feel comfortable and have access to snacks, and potentially alcohol if applicable. Light refreshments like cheese platters, sandwiches, cake (if you want to go the extra mile) and other finger foods should be enough to keep your guests energized and engaged in the murder mystery experience. Whether you choose homemade or store-bought fare will depend on your preferences and budget.

Before continuing onto how everything gets revealed at the end though, reminding your guests before the event begins about what is expected of them can help things flow more smoothly throughout the night and create an even better experience for all involved. With some guidelines set in place ahead of time, everyone can enjoy themselves while solving the case!

Now that all the details have been planned out and preparations have been made beforehand, it's time to find out who did it - in style.

How to Reveal the Murderer

Now that your guests have had the opportunity to enjoy games and food as part of your murder mystery party, it’s time to reveal the murderer. Excitement will surely build in anticipation of the killer's identity, unless you have chosen a game in which everyone is a suspect! Regardless, there are a few approaches for revealing the murderer.

One method is to have each suspect give a closing statement of their alibi and then various consequences are made available for those who did not correctly guess the murderer. As part of their repercussions, character cards can be turned over or roles swapped among the players after the murderer is revealed. Your guests will undoubtedly have an unforgettable experience as they solve the mystery and discover what happened at the crime scene.

Alternatively, if punting on final verdicts isn’t quite your style, why not entertain some detective investigative work? Guests can get into teams (or compete individually) and use clues that were pre-planted during game play to figure out whodunit. This way, everybody gets to immerse themselves deeper into the mystery and unleash their inner-sleuths – that includes any adults playing too!

At this point it's a great idea to award any creative costumes or best detective prizes before allowing each team to explain how they solved the case who committed it. It’s always entertaining when people can piece together all the other player’s secrets in order to come up with a conclusion, so why not add this twist? The team with the most correct answer should receive recognition for figuring out who utilized their wits correctly.

Revealing the murderer may be one of the most intriguing moments during any murder mystery party and requires serious consideration when putting together your event. Whichever approach you choose should be fun for all those involved and provide an event that’s sure to be remembered for months after!

Responses to Frequently Asked Questions with Detailed Explanations

How many people are typically needed for a murder mystery party?

Typically, a murder mystery party is best suited for groups of 6 to 12 people. Smaller groups can work but large numbers can lead to confusion and detract from the experience. When selecting participants, make sure that everyone invited is comfortable with a large amount of drama and chaos, as well as comfortable speaking up in large groups. Additionally, you would need at least one person to serve as the game master, so keep that in mind when deciding on your required number of players.

What are some themes for murder mystery parties?

Some popular themes for murder mystery parties are:

1) The Wild West: Take your guests back in time to the old west, where a mysterious killing has occurred. Have each guest take on the role of a gunslinger, saloon owner, sheriff, or other iconic Old West character.

2) 1920s Speakeasy: Set the scene of a Prohibition-era speakeasy and let your guests dress up as mobsters and flappers. Everyone at the party will have an alibi to hide as they attempt to discover who committed the crime.

3) Cluedo: Pay homage to the classic board game by having everyone dress up as one of the familiar characters and work together to reveal who did it. Place clues around the room and have your guests actively investigate them until they can solve the mystery.

4) A Haunted Mansion: Set a spooky tone at your murder mystery party by transforming your home into a haunted mansion. Designate each room with its own ghostly backstory and let your guests play out their characters in this supernatural space.

5) Medieval Times: Have your guests become King Arthur's knights and help him to find out who killed his dear Merlin. With everybody dressed up as kings, queens, damsels in distress, and wizards, this themed dinner is sure to be an unforgettable experience for all involved.

How do you organize a murder mystery party?

Organizing a murder mystery party can be a fun and exciting way to entertain your guests. Here are some tips on how to get organized:

1. Choose the theme or plot of the murder mystery: You can choose from classic whodunnit plots, modern mystery, horror themes, or create your own unique plot.

2. Set the atmosphere: Determine how you want the atmosphere to be (bright and humorous or dark and dramatic). You can decorate the room with various props and decorations related to the theme of your event.

3. Invite your friends: Invite participants via email, social media or in person - make sure you tell them what kind of costume is expected for the evening!

4. Assign character roles: Decide which person will play which character, write out the plot, background information and role-playing hints for each character. Make sure everyone gets an individual character card so they know their identity and objectives throughout the night.

5. Provide Clues: As you assign items of importance to each character (the clue packets) make sure they understand what they're supposed to do with them when it's time to 'solve' the mystery. This is often referred to as 'investigation'. It's also important that there are clues planted throughout that all point to a certain person as the perpetrator of the crime.

6. Follow up with discussion: After the game has been solved, have a group discussion about how people were feeling during different parts of the game and who was their suspect! Be sure to thank everyone for coming at the end!

How do you play a You Dunnit murder mystery party game?

The whodunnit party game is played over a number of rounds – while you eat, drink and socialize!

There are three parts to each round:

  1. Script – players read through the script together.
  2. Questions and Evidence – players use the guidelines to ask and answer questions, but they can go also have fun improvising as they try to work out whodunnit! There are prompts to guide players to help them tease information out of each other.
  3. Voting – players can vote for who they guess the murderer is.

After the final round, the murderer is exposed!


Build your party using our murder mystery game builder. Play it virtually – or in real life!

That's right – You Dunnit murder mystery party games can be played as an murder mystery game (eg: Zoom) using your phone, tablet or computer – or in person, using your phone to read the script or using the game as a printed script.

Play your murder mystery party online or in person

Play your murder mystery dinner party with your friends – around the table or on Zoom, Teams or FaceTime.


Write your own murder mystery party

Make the scripts your own using our Murder Mystery Game Builder.


Play with your family

Your murder mystery party will be totally unique, so you can base it on your own family!


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If you can't be together in person, play your murder mystery party over a video call

Make your personalized murder mystery party game

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  • Play virtually online or in-person
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“It was so much fun and easy for people to get involved. A really brilliant murder mystery story!”

Nick T

“Everyone was engaged from the start and threw themselves into solving the murder. The event was great fun – and brilliant value for money.”

Bryn J

“Hilarious! Played over Zoom, in 6 locations, including 2 countries. Even our 78 year old mother managed it!”

Joseph H

“A great night with friends! Will definitely be going with these guys again!”

Tori K

Murder mystery builder: How do you write your own personalized murder mystery party game?

The You Dunnit murder mystery party game creator makes it simple to write your own custom game.

Head over to our murder mystery game maker and let us take the hard work out of it!

1. Select your murder mystery game based on how many guests you have

Select between:

  • Dinner Party Mystery: 6–10 guests (Try it now)
  • Event Mystery for 12–200+ people (Coming soon!)

2. Fill in the blanks

You get to write lots of personalizable content:

  • Who is the murder victim?
  • Where and when is your murder mystery party game set?
  • Who are the characters and what are their names?

Plus lots of extra content!

As the murder mystery game writer – can you have lots of creative fun!

Build it now... Play later

Your game should take less than 15 mins to write and you can play any time after when it is convenient for you and your friends.

3. Send your party guests the unique murder mystery party game link

Text or email the unique murder mystery game link to all the players.

This contains their character's profile along with hints and tips on how to play – so they can prepare for your murder mystery party ahead of time.

You (the game creator) will Host your game and will get extra instructions for how to lead it through.

The other players can't access the game rounds until you hit 'start the game' from your Hosts panel.

4. Start your murder mystery party!

Once you're ready to start your murder mystery party – give your players access with a secret game code which you'll find in your host panel.

Play your murder mystery party together over three rounds using your downloaded scripts or swiping through the rounds using your phones.

Each round consists of:

  1. Scripts – players read through the script together.
  2. Questions and Evidence – players use the guidelines to ask and answer questions, but they can go also have fun improvising as they try to work out whodunnit! There are prompts to guide players to help them tease information out of each other.
  3. Voting – players can vote for who they guess the murderer is.

After the final round, the murderer is exposed!

Give yourselves about 1-2 hours to complete the game at your party.

Don't forget, you can print a PDF version of the whodunnit game script too – in case a player's phone battery dies! 🪫☠️

Play together in person or play online

Get together or play over Zoom

Make your own murder mystery party

Personalize your script

Fast and easy to write

Takes 15 minutes to write - and then you can play anytime

Create your own characters

Base them on real people or chose fictitious names

Play using your cell phone

Or download and print your PDF scripts

Games suitable for all

Ideal for detectives aged 11+

Whodunnit party night

A murder mystery party to play with your family and friends

Crime solving game

Become an inspector!

Make your custom murder mystery party

  • Create a personalized murder mystery party script in under 15 minutes
  • Organize a murder mystery dinner party or a virtual team-building exercise!
  • Play using your phone or download your PDF scripts
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Where should you play a murder mystery party?

As well as thinking about what food and drink you want at your murder mystery party, you can also get creative with the theme and location of your game.

Other than playing it around your table at home or virtually online you might consider:

  • Running a team-building exercise as your business retreat
  • With your football team
  • With your church youth group
  • With your classmates at college
  • In your workplace as an office party

Why not even consider getting away for a short break, booking an Airbnb or hiring a holiday apartment or a haunted house! 👻

When should you play a murder mystery party?

Most murder mystery parties are played in the evening – but in terms of the time of year, and certain life events it can be pretty much any time.

Here are some ideas:

Write your own murder mystery party game!

Our easy-to-use game builder enables you to create your own custom Murder Mystery party. Give it a go!

Where do Murder Mystery games come from?

Murder mystery parties originated from ‘Wink Murder’ game from over 100 years ago. The secret 'murderer' kills other players by winking at them, while the a 'guesser' have to work out who it is before everyone is killed off! 😉

How long does it take to play a murder mystery party game?

Allow 1–2 hours to play your murder mystery party.

If you’re in a rush you can speed through the scripts - you decide on the pace.

If you've gone away for the weekend, why not play each of the three rounds on different evenings?

What is the most played murder mystery party game?

The most famous murder mystery party game is Cluedo, which was first released in 1949. It is still a best-seller today.

How to build your own murder mystery party game

You have two choices, one is quick and easy, while the other takes time and is pretty hard!

1. Quick and Easy: Use You Dunnit's murder mystery party game generator

Create your game your way following our step-by-step game builder online

Create a personalized murder mystery party game

  • It only takes 15 minutes to create
  • You can access your game instantly - no waiting for the post!
  • You can play anytime, whenever you and your party guests are ready
Start personalizing you murder mystery party game