Throwing a murder mystery party is an awesome, unique event idea. I’ve thrown a couple of these and they never fail to be completely entertaining; there’s something alluring about pretending you’re someone else for an evening. This one, though, was one of my favourites of them all.
My friend Kris and I love to plan murder mystery parties and make all of our friends attend. This started a few years ago, when we purchased “Once Upon A Murder” from Night of Mystery. Basically as soon as we finished that party, we started to plan our next. From there we were hooked. These mysteries are a lot of fun, and Night of Mystery gives you lots of extra printables to help you plan your party. That being said, for our third one we amped it up a bit more; Kris decided to write the mystery.
We spent hours brainstorming and storyboarding and decided on a theme where all the characters were well-known mystery solvers like Nancy Drew, the Scooby Doo gang, Batman, Carmen Sandiego, and so much more. This meant that we didn’t need to write complete backstories for the characters, and guests could easily decide how their character should dress. It was a lot of work for Kris to put the whole story together, but she managed to write everything from character overviews to objective envelopes, and even created evidence. There was drama, murder, and lots of lots of intrigue!
This time I also booked a venue instead of holding the party at our apartment, as we had previously. In the same way Kris was in charge of writing the mystery, I was in charge of the venue, decor, and guest list.
Murder mysteries can be difficult because you need to have your guest list ironed out ahead of time. If someone is assigned a character but doesn’t show up, it could really throw things off! For this party, we needed to know even further in advance because Kris was literally writing a character for each of the friends that said they were attending.
We sent out email invitations several months early, and specified that we just wanted this on everyone’s calendar and we would reach out later to confirm attendance. We asked at that time for our friends just to let us know if they definitely were not able to make it. Happily, because our crew is used to having a great time whenever we throw a murder mystery party, many just confirmed right away.
Kris got started on the characters and wrote the ones she knew would for sure be included first. We started to firm everything up a month before the party and that gave her enough time to put on the finishing touches (though the last couple weeks were pretty insane!). She finished all the writing in time and it all went down very well!
I researched several places, and we actually visited a couple, but we settled on the Yellowhead Brewery here in Edmonton. They have a private room with bar that is absolutely beautiful. I thought that the brick walls made it seem exactly like some sort of underground place where a group of mystery-solvers might be meeting up to hang out. I love the look of this venue as a whole – it is lovely – but the service in the lead-up to the event left something to be desired. That being said, the event staff for the evening were all friendly and helpful. I would definitely return to this venue if it is for an event that is a little more casual and does not require much extra service from the venue.
I kept the decor pretty simple for this event. I used many things I already had, but picked up some different mystery-themed items to spray paint gold and add to the displays such as dollar store guns, rope, a candlestick, radios, fake knives, etc.
Here are a few shots of the room:
Let me know if you have any questions about planning your own murder mystery party! I’d love to share some more as these events are just so much fun.