Saturday, 6 July 2013

How To Host A Murder Mystery Dinner Party

Nowadays, going out is getting more and more expensive.  The cost of taxis, drinks, meals, cinema tickets, babysitters and even getting glammed up can make a big dent in your bank balance.  Staying in is becoming a more realistic prospect for those of us who are watching the pennies!  But staying in needn't be dull.  You can have fun at home on a budget.  Ian and I would rather stay in and have a good night in and involve the kids, which means we can relax knowing that they are safe and happy too.

Moneysupermarket challenged me to take part in the Big Night In competition.  With a £50 budget, I had to host a fabulous night of food, drink and entertainment!

So I decided to do something a little bit different to my normal takeaway, wine and DVD night in.  I hosted a Murder Mystery Dinner Party!

Firstly, I picked up a Complete Murder Mystery Night In boxset for £20 from Mad Moose.  This made it really easy to host the event as it contained everything such as the invitations, character cards, a newsreel CD, a host's booklet and name badges.  With ten possible murder scenarios, it can be replayed again at a later date making it a good value investment!

Next I came up with a menu for dinner that my guests would be dying to eat.  They were simple dishes that could be made in advance so I wouldn't be stuck in the kitchen all night.
  • Murderous Mushrooms (mushroom pate served with French bread)
  • Lethal Lasagne (Quorn lasagne served with vegetables)
  • Death by Chocolate (chocolate fudge roulade from our local cake shop Gill's Puddings)
This was served with a fine Chianti -smacks lips in a Hannibal Lector fashion!! OK...maybe not a fine Chianti, but definitely some cheeky botttles of red , some beers and some juice punch for the teenagers.

The invitations gave the guests an overview of their character with ideas for what to wear.  The Murder Mystery we used was based on the murder of an author Barbara Paige-Turner and my guests played her family and acquaintances.  Dressing up helped everyone get into character.  Ian was brilliant, even shaving his goatee beard into a moustache to take on the persona of Barbara's son Clive Montford. A quick visit to the charity shop got us a few bits and bobs to set the scene and cost next to nothing.

We were ready to go!

We enjoyed a nice three course meal served alfresco thanks to the glorious sunshine.  During the meal we got into character and discussed the motives, opportunity and potential alibis of each of the characters. Using our powers of deduction we whittled the suspects down to three possible murderers and one of our party guessed 'whodunnit' correctly.  The murderer turned out to be my daughter Megan aka Jacqueline Montford who run over Barbara fourteen times in her husband's Clive's Roll's Royce!!  It was really good fun and a good excuse to enjoy a dinner party with a twist!  It was a bit like playing a real-life game of Cluedo.  All the clues are there in the character bios, the police report and an audio CD which provides a newsreel highlighting the events surrounding the murder.

night in

I loved how easy the game was to play and I really want to have a go at writing my own murder mystery.

My top tips for hosting a murder mystery dinner party are:

Make a simple menu that can be made in advance.
Check out charity shops for props to help set the scene.
Encourage guests to make an effort with their character as it will make the night much more fun.
Theme your meal to match the theme of the murder mystery.
Choose food that is easy to eat so you can talk during the meal.
Check Ebay for second hand Murder Mystery sets.
Invite a good range of guests which makes it more entertaining for everyone involved.


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