red text says murder mystery dinner party with bottle and knife behind it

Murder Mystery Dinner Party

A murder mystery dinner is a party that allows the participants to remove themselves from everyday life. Some might say it’s nerdy, but I’d call it more of escapism if you will.

One of the best parts of this is that everyone gets to be a completely different person for a night. They put on their thinking/sleuth caps to solve a murder. How fun is that? Mystery parties have been a popular form of entertainment for many years; in fact, murder mystery parties date back to the parlor games of Medieval Europe. The basic idea is that everyone is given a character identity for the evening—characters with backstory and who are acquainted with one of the other characters who’s been killed.

The participants then spend the evening acting as their characters while trying to figure out who committed the murder, where they did it, and how they did it. The twist is that all the guests have motives, so it is quite possible that any one of them could be the murderer.

Dressing up for the part will help you get in the acting mood and adds an entertaining element to the night. I have never met someone who didn’t like a murder mystery dinner party. It’s kind of like the game Clue, but you get to act it out instead of playing it as a board game.   

What you need for this date

How to Host a Murder mystery dinner party the class of '54
(I have played this one before, it is awesome!)

In order for this to work, you need a murder mystery kit. You can buy these at hobby shops, online, eBay, etc., or if you are creative and a good writer and storyteller, you can write your own. I have a few of them listed in my shop. These games typically involve eight people, four women, and four men, so it is a perfect group date activity. You don’t have to plan it around dinner but it works the best if you have a three-course meal prepared so people can have something to do while acting the night out.  If you need some ideas for food to make check out my other website In the Kitchen with Matt.

Another idea is to do a search online and see if there are any events or meetup groups that host murder mystery dinner parties. This will make the date more expensive but definitely an option if you don’t want to buy the kit and run one yourself.

One of my experiences with the Murder Mystery Dinner Party 

I’ve done this date idea several times, and it’s always a blast. Here is my first experience with a Murder Mystery Dinner Party: One summer, I was on an eBay kick, so I would haunt garage sales and search for stuff I knew I could sell online for a lot more than I would have to pay for it. While I was rummaging through the goods at one particular house, I found a never-been-opened Murder Mystery Party kit. Talk about a great find! I had always wanted to try one of those and there was an unopened kit in perfect condition. Quickly, I snatched it up and paid one dollar for it. How awesome was that, considering they go for about thirty dollars brand new in the store? I could’ve put it on eBay and made a quick profit, but I didn’t sell this treasure. I used it to plan my first Murder Mystery Dinner Party.

Sometime later I had a chance to actually do the party. I was dating this particular girl with whom I wanted to elevate the status from friends to “more than friends,” if you know what I mean. This would be our fifth formal date and things seemed to be going well. She was bright, energetic, and very easy on the eyes, and her smile could light up even the darkest of rooms. She liked to have fun and I knew a Murder Mystery Dinner Party would be a big hit. We planned the evening’s event at her mom’s house (a two-bedroom, four man bachelor apartment doesn’t exactly have a true dining room for a real dinner party, but you can improvise with card tables, coffee tables, and counters if you have no other options).

The evening of the big event

Dinner table set up with brown table candles and glasses and plates

Everyone arrived buzzing with excitement for the event. They were dressed up as if they truly were a character in a mystery novel. To start off the event right, everyone had researched their assigned roles so they’d be comfortable and know what to do. I prepared, cooked, and served a three-course meal for all of us, which consisted of salad, shredded pork barbecue sandwiches, and banana and strawberry splits. At the end of this post, you can find the easy recipe for the shredded pork sandwiches.

Detective magnifying glass and finger prints.

Conversation during dinner was electric as everyone played his or her roles and tried to solve the mystery. My date was particularly attractive that night as she role-played her character and helped solve the murder. She was really immersed in her “movie star” persona, which was an example for all of us would-be actors. The murderer was finally revealed, and our guilty friend smiled sheepishly and said how fun it was to have everyone trying to catch her.  We all had a good time, but the night wasn’t over yet. I had another event planned to keep the air of “mystery” going.

Time for the next phase of the date

The  poster for the movie clue. It's not just a game anymore.
(Clue is a property of Paramount Pictures)

After dinner was over and the mystery was solved, we retired to the media room to watch the movie Clue. Based on the board game of the same name, what better film to cap the evening and keep the whodunit spirit alive, right? The suspense of the game and the movie was echoed within me as I wondered if my date wanted to elevate to the next level as I did. All signs pointed to “yes” as I quickly reminisced all the dates and activities that we enjoyed together. When arranging seats for the movie, however, the suspense in my mind built up and ended in disappointment. She sat at the far end of the sofa with her arms folded throughout the movie. Not a good sign, and foreshadowed the truth of her feelings. 

Two days later I found out from her that she didn’t want a boyfriend. Then another friend of mine said that he’d talked to her where she admitted that she liked hanging out with me, but only wanted to be friends. As disappointing as that was because she was a great girl, I remember the evening fondly and still consider it a successful evening. Everyone had fun, and that’s the point after all, isn’t it? 

Murder mystery dinner party creative date idea
(Pin it!)

Barbecue Shredded Pork Sandwiches Recipe

You’ll need a crock-pot and

  • 2 pork shoulders
  • 2 bottles of barbeque sauce (your choice in flavor, or make this awesome homemade barbecue sauce)
  • Fresh garlic cloves
  • Hamburger buns (2 packages of 8)

Makes about 16 sandwiches (depending on the amount of pork per sandwich)

This recipe is really easy. First, take the pork roasts and make sure they’re drained, then put them in a crock-pot. Cut slits in them and put pieces of garlic inside. Cook the meat on low to medium for at least 5 to 6 hours. When the meat is done, drain it from its juices and shred with a fork. Next, add the barbecue sauce. Voila— you have a tasty meal with little effort.

Check out the video I made explaining the Murder Mystery Dinner Party Date Idea

Do you have experience with this creative date idea? Let me know in the comments how you liked it. You can buy a copy of the book 101 Creative Dates: ideas, tips, and personal experiences from the life of a hopeless romantic here or visit the shop.

Here are other date ideas you might like:

Elevator Tag: Can you Pick the Right Floor?

Stargazing: Exploring the Lights Above