Our COVID-19 & remote party info. View our privacy policy here, or keep browsing if you accept. Dismiss.

Help for first time hosts

Hosting a murder mystery party is fun - and it isn’t rocket science. So don’t worry if you’ve never hosted one before. Here’s what you need to do:


1. Choose your game

Half the fun of hosting a murder mystery is about the theme - you get to step into a different world for the evening. There are hundreds of games available with every imaginable theme so you can choose whatever takes your fancy. Want the Cluedo experience? Pick a game set at a manor. Fancy something far out? Host a 1970s disco themed party. Love a bit of the Bard? There’s a murder mystery for that too.

For your first time, we recommend that you choose a boxed game - it’s just easier. However, it’s not a problem if the game you want is only available as a download. Just give yourself a bit of extra time to print the files.

If you’re overwhelmed by the choice or you don’t know what to pick, you can narrow it down by number of players or use this handy guide to choose the best one for you. And if you're still not sure, contact us - we're here to help! 


2. Set a date

After you’ve chosen your game, decide when you’re going to host it. It might be your birthday or Christmas or New Year (the top three occasions when people have a murder mystery evening). Or you might just want an excuse to get together with your friends. You can play a murder mystery at any time of year - lots of people even take one on holiday!

Allow yourself as much time as possible between getting the game and hosting the party. A month or more is brilliant; two to three weeks is comfortable; three days is likely to cause you some panic!  


3. Invite your friends

Now the fun begins! Basically, you get to make your guests dress up and you can be as kind or as cruel with this as you like. Is your best friend a drama queen? Give her the role of a lifetime as the grieving widow. Does hubby fancy himself as the next De Niro? Maybe get him to play the Italian crime boss. Think Grandma would make a good French maid? Er….you might want to rethink that one. (Or not. It could be fun!)

Read the character descriptions and costume suggestions in the game, decide who is coming as who (whom?) and use the invitations provided to get the ball rolling. Give your guests plenty of time to organise their costumes. Of course, you don’t have to use costumes if you don’t want to. Just remember to tell your guests!


4. Plan your party

This is where you get to go wild - if you want to. Hosting a murder mystery party doesn’t need to be a big production. In fact, you don't have to do any more than if you were just hosting one of those boring dinner parties where no one gets murdered. Food? Check. Drinks? Check. Fancy napkins? Check.

If you want to do a bit more than that though, the possibilities are endless. Look to your theme to inspire everything from the food you serve to the bowls you serve it in. Decorations, background music, lighting…The better you can set the scene, the more at home your guests will feel in their roles. Our Pinterest boards are stuffed full of great ideas and definitely worth a look. You can also Google the setting and time period of your game for inspiration. Or you can go all out ‘crime scene’, like this

The golden rule is: do as much as you want and no more. Don’t let your idea of ‘the perfect party’ get in the way of actually enjoying your evening. The same goes for food: if you’re doing the cooking yourself, keep it simple. Otherwise you’ll be stuck in the kitchen all night while your guests have all the fun.  


5. Follow the instructions - and enjoy!

Murder mystery games are incredibly easy to play. In fact, a golden rule for our game writers is “Could the host understand this even after three glasses of wine?” If the answer to that question is “no”, it doesn’t go in the game!

Most games are written step-by-step style so you just need to do what it tells you to do when it tells you to do it. So if your playbook says ‘Now read Group Evidence One’, you read Group Evidence One. Simple.

A typical murder mystery game lasts about 2-3 hours (depending on how many people are playing). As host, you’ll be responsible for handing out clues, stopping and starting the DVD or CD (if there is one), and making sure everyone has asked/answered all their questions in each round. Your most important job, however, is to relax, have fun and let the game entertain you!  


    Can’t wait to get started? Click here to choose your game.

    Still got questions? Email support@murdermysterystore.co.uk or call us on 01945 232099.