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Dinner Party

An occasional dinner party with friends and family strengthens bonds and keeps connections open in human relationships. Dinner parties, however, can also be vehicles of creativity and fun! They are the adult equivalent of playtime when work has ended and socialization begins. Celebrate your dinner parties with murder mystery games and adult-oriented themes. Find articles about dinner party planning tips and ideas at DayCelebration!

Dinner Party Articles

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How To Write and Host A Murder Mystery Dinner Party - Part 3

How To Write and Host Your Own Large Group Murder Mystery Party
(For Parties of 20 or More) Part 1

By Susan Haley

From Casting Your Murder Mystery Dinner Party Game


Invitations: When you design your invitations, lets folks know they're invited to solve a murder. Set the scene a bit. "Big Daddy Sugarbaker, billionaire extraordinary, would like to invite you to attend a party in his honor. It may be his last party due to his ill health …" Encourage them to take on a character that befits the storyline and dress the part. Let them know if it's a period piece so they can find a costume in plenty of time. Get them excited about the prospect of participating in and solving a murder mystery. Build up intrigue.

The Detectives' Tools: On the evening of the party, you'll want to provide your guests with a program of some sort that identifies the primary suspects and sets up the crime scene. It will be an excellent guide for your detectives. Also, provide them with an "evidence record" (and pen) so they can record the clues and evidence, the victims and cause of death and who they think did it and why. I'd recommend collecting these solution sheets at the end of the mystery and before you reveal your killer. Give an Outstanding Detective Award to the person or persons who solve the case to recognize them for a job well done.

Setting the "stage": Of course, depending on the theme of your mystery, any additional "atmosphere" you can create via props and staging will only add to the mystery. If you already have enough on your plate, don't worry about it. Your primary suspects and your story will create the atmosphere. When my professional troupe performs our mysteries, 9 out of 10 times we're in a boring hotel function room. Never have I had anyone complain about the décor or lack thereof. They get so involved with the actual mystery, the only thing they're paying attention to are the primary suspects.

The Menu: Another element you might want to consider when creating your mystery evening is the menu. If you're doing a country and western mystery, then it might call for a BBQ for example. Or if you're doing a Hawaiian luau, then more tropical dishes would fit the bill. Again, it's only a consideration but it's not necessary. We have some recipes posted on our web site (

The Evening's Set-Up: I suggest you work the mystery around your dinner and its courses (and no you do NOT need to include a full dinner if you don't want to but do provide beverages and finger food of some sort). It always works best to create the drama and intrigue right away. Your guests arrive excited about the mystery evening ahead of them so don't make them wait until after dinner (besides their mental energy level will be a lot lower after a meal and you want them ready, willing and able to participate). Upon their arrival, your cast should already be in character, setting the scene. Give your sleuths a program (remember it's their guide to the mystery), solution sheet and pen as they arrive. Wrap your whodunit during coffee and dessert. (NOTE: In order for your guests to enjoy both the meal and the mystery, you never want anything too dramatic happening during the actual courses or while your guests are in a buffet line.)


I have script samples of all my mystery games on my web site: Check them out for plot and character guidance and writing inspiration.

Thanks for reading!

Susan Haley Productions' Murder Mystery Games

Article may be reprinted as is with contact info intact.

My name is Susan Haley and I design interactive murder mystery games for large groups. It's been my business, my career and my passion since 1983.

by Susan Haley © 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Susan Haley, is originally from Massachusetts - where she started her company back in 1987. In 1993, she relocated to Northern California with her two very large Maine Coon cats, Sherlock and Watson. She still goes back to Cape Cod to visit her family but California has become her home, especially since May of 2001 when she married her husband Bill, a corporate advertising photographer and a native San Franciscan. From the time she was a very young girl, Susan has always loved acting and creative writing. She graduated Summa Cum Laude and has a BA in Theater Arts with a minor in Business Communications from Salem State College in Salem, Mass., "where the witches are". To Susan, there's nothing like doing a job about which you're absolutely passionate. Her passion these days? Creating inspiring and creative do-it-yourself murder mystery games, scavenger hunts and team building activities.

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