Host your own Murder Mystery / Roaring Twenties Party: Part 1

You might be sick of hearing about my 1920s speakeasy murder mystery birthday party, but only because you weren’t there to be a part of the amazing time! I wish I could have invited all of you! In any case, I hope you’ve been inspired to host a party like this of your own, so I’m going to share a few tips with you. Today, I’ll focus on the Murder Mystery part of the party.

1. Only invite people who will be willing participants. This is number one because it really is the most important tip I can give you. Do not invite people for the sake of inviting them, or because you’re afraid they’ll be offended if you don’t. It’s far better to have a murder mystery party with only 10 people that really get into character, than it is to have 17 people, half of whom make snarky comments the entire time or are too shy to interact with others. Talk to the people you intend to invite ahead of time. If they seem hesitant, or think you’re crazy, don’t invite them. People like my friend Jeff {playing Inspector Neville “The Nose” Nutella, above} will be insanely excited to attend, and those are the guests you want at your party.

2. Pick a theme your friends can get into. Last year, I chose the Immortal/Fantasy themed murder mystery party, and it was no where near as fun as this year’s 1920s theme. It was hard to dress up for many of the characters {how do you dress up as a werewolf in June??}, making it difficult to take on the role of that character. It’s easy to dress 1920s, and many of my guests wore clothes they already owned and so avoided spending extra money on a costume. Plus, who doesn’t use a 1920s gangster accent now and again?

3. Don’t tell anyone anything! I was so excited about my party that I told at least 2 guests who the victim was before the party even started, which of course made it less fun for them. Make sure your guests don’t tell other guests anything either. I don’t think I’ve really had a problem with this, but if you’ve invited couples or very close friends, it’s easy for them to spill the beans on each other’s characters. It’s best to go into the party knowing nothing that you aren’t supposed to know.

4. Plan the murder out ahead of time. This year’s murder was kind of a disaster, involving lots of eye bulging, an oddly-placed scream, and no sound of gunshot {even though the murder weapon was a gun}. Mostly, this was my fault, but I blame poor planning. The person who gets murdered in the beginning knows that they will be murdered. Make sure that your host, victim, and whoever is in the role of the lead detective/Inspector knows how and when the murder will take place. Plan it ahead of time, and discreetly, so the other guests are surprised!

5. Make sure all of your guests interact with each other. For me, this is the hardest part because I have friends from many different times in my life: high school, blogging, working at Apple or Borders, etc. Many of my friends hadn’t met each other before my party, and it was a challenge trying to get them all to interact with one another. If you don’t notice them doing it naturally, try to get them talking to each other by pulling them together and maybe even spreading rumors yourself! {Spreading rumors is a big part of the game}.

Have fun! It really comes down to just having lots of fun. If you’re interested in hosting your own murder mystery dinner party, I recommend checking out Dinner and a Murder, which is where I purchased both of mine.



  1. Maggie   •  

    This is brilliant. Thank you! I’m planning my husband’s surprise birthday party to be a murder mystery set in the 1920s. It’s a month away but this will be a great help, thank you for posting your experiences/tips! Much appreciated!

    • Sami   •     Author

      Happy to help, Maggie! It was the most fun birthday party I’ve ever had! You can find a round-up of all my 1920s murder mystery birthday posts here. I know you guys will have a great time!

  2. Suzee   •  

    Ah i am SO stoked to throw my bestie a roaring 20s themed murder mystery party. She will be turning 28 and we haven’t ever done anything like this before. I think all of our friends are super stoked, too. (mostly because all of us girls get to go shopping for a new outfit and fun head wear!) ha ha. I am worried people that say will show up, actually wont ….. So should I have a back up plan with a smaller list of suspects?

  3. Sami   •     Author

    Hi Suzee! That sounds like it’s going to be TONS of fun! When you’re throwing a themed murder mystery party, my suggestion is to keep the guest list to people who a) will definitely show up, and b) will actually have fun. When I threw my first murder mystery party, I realized I invited some people who were a bit shy and didn’t really participate. I’d also suggest that you don’t assign characters to people until you know for sure they’re coming — let possible attendees know that they have to commit to going because you need to have certain characters there. For friends who are a bit on the flaky side, assign them “non-essential” characters just in case. I hope that helps! Have fun!!! :)

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