At EscapeTrails we love mysteries, finding clues and solving puzzles! However, if organizing your own murder mystery party was only about all this fun stuff it would be easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Reality is a little different! This is why all of the operatives at EscapeTrails HQ put our minds together to come up with a step by step guide on how to host your own murder mystery party. So here we go!

STEP 0 – Get some help

Unless you are a lone ranger and complete control freak we would recommend for you to gather a small planning committee who will help you in the planning and on the night. Not only will this mean tasks can be delegated to others and save you from a nervous breakdown it will also make the process more fun.

STEP 1 – Decide on the guest list

This is crucial as you need to know which personalities are coming so you can adapt the experience to suit their individual and collective personalities. We have all perhaps experienced a venue or activity that has been great on one occasion and the just really poor another time – a reason for this may have been the different dynamics of the guests. I remember moving jobs and not looking forward to the work Christmas party as I had been to this venue the previous year and it sucked, however, a year later the venue had not changed just the people I went with and it was a fab night I will always remember. So think about your guest carefully!

STEP 2 – Choose a theme

This will be one that suits your guests. If they are outgoing types you are going to need something that really requires them to get into character and dress up. If not then you perhaps need something a little more intellectual and that will work in a more formal dinner party setting. Unless you are uber creative we would probably recommend starting with an off the shelf theme that has already done the hard work for you and then add, take and customize how you see fit. We did this recently where we had fun changing the names and instructions to suit our guests and give them a little more of a buzz. Just search online you will find plenty!

STEP 3 – Assign Character Roles

This could arguably be done at STEP 2 but often we need time to confirm in our mind who would suit which role also we need confirmation of who is coming! This is perhaps the most fun part for you and the guests when they find out who they will need to be. Try to mix this up a bit, for some people their characters might pick themselves but for others, it may be fun to give them the complete opposite persona to be for the party!

STEP 4 – Invite guests and collect RSVPs

This is such an important step. Hopefully, you have already checked in with people to see whether they would provisionally be interested earlier in the process. This part should be to get your guests excited and allow them to prepare for the event – after all, they may need to get hold off some really nifty dress up and accessories. There will also be people who cry off or something comes up so think about this when assigning roles in the step above and only give key roles to people you know will definitely accept and come.

STEP 5 – The venue

This will vary tremendously depending on a whole host of factors such as the number of people coming, who is coming, who you know and your budget. However, if this is more than a few friends getting together at your place you can creative – think the city park, the local school gym, private room in a restaurant or a cafe that is shut in the evening who could be persuaded to open for your Souray if everyone throws in a bit of money for catering. However, wherever it is don’t overlook the essentials such as toilet facilities and supply of beverages and nibbles! One last thing we would definitely make sure you think about concerning the venue is whether there is one place where everyone can gather for key announcements.

STEP 6 – Plan your food

This depends a little on your theme but our advice is not to get too carried away on this. You also need to think about the time of your party, will people already have eaten or will they be expecting something substantial to eat. Make this clear on the invitation in STEP 4. A great thing we have done before is each guest brings a themed dish as part of their character, this is great if you are having it at your place or are not having it catered!

STEP 7 – Decorate

Depending on your venue and how immersive you want the experience to be a little thought about a few key decorations around the place may really help to remind people they are at a murder mystery and the party does not just descend into a normal get together. How into this you get is completely up to you!

STEP 8 – Welcome the guests

Now it’s time to have some fun (if you have had a planning committee like suggested in STEP 0) this is when it all comes together and you can all help out with small roles throughout the night.

STEP 9 – Get the party started

Follow the instructions in your pack if you have gone down this route. These are typically separated into rounds with the first round being mingling which is great as all the guests arrive. Then there is a murder. Then guests have to mingle and try to put the pieces of the puzzle together. As they do this more information is shared with them as new evidence may be uncovered. Finally, guests guess who they think did it and then all is revealed!

All simple yeah?!?! Go ahead don’t be put off you and your guests will have a blast.

However, if this really does sound like too much hard work then why not consider an EscapeTrails Crime themed trail in Boston where you have to solve a crime and uncover who did it! This is a great adventure to do with a small or large group of friends. You can have fun, explore the city and be social.