The Keys to a Successful Murder Mystery
Our group knows one another well enough that any deviation from normal character was potentially amusing. Several members of the group went full tilt with their costumes and really got into their parts. Costumes were not difficult or expensive, drawing on everyday items to complete our ensembles. I think we all agreed that it was a fun evening, and a different experience.
In order for a dinner party like this to be successful, your guests need to be willing to be "on stage" a bit. Anyone who is shy in front of groups might feel that participating is difficult, especially if you're hosting it for a large group. I think our comfort with one another may have also assisted the quieter members of the group in feeling relaxed enough to play a part.
Planning the Menu and Decorations
I recommend basing the number of courses for your meal on the number of scenes in your murder mystery. You'll have that information when you receive your kit. That way the mystery can be played out in between each of your courses as we did, and discussed while you eat each course. However, some of these kits are designed for cocktail parties and the guests are expected to walk around and interact throughout the evening. You'll need to see what the specific requirements are for your kit when you purchase it. If you have a definite idea of how you would like your dinner to run, I recommend asking around to find the mystery that suits your plan.
Many of these plots take place in a specific country or time period. That makes decorating and menu planning for the dinner fairly simple if you stick to the theme. For example, some of the plots I've seen are set in Paris, the Old West and Rome.
If your mystery does not come with a built-in theme, use this "deadly" menu to add a little extra excitement.
Murder Mystery Dinner Menu
Red Death Cocktail - They'll never see it coming after this drink.
Hannah Storm's Mystery Soup - Keep them guessing with this sportscaster's recipe.
Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole - Make this with Northern Spy apples!
Death by Chocolate Cake - Have you picked up on the subtle theme yet?