Ever since I can remember I’ve loved a good mystery. Whether it was the volumes of Nancy Drew and Mary Higgins Clark books, TV shows running the gambit from Murder She Wrote to The Mentalist, or a good Thriller on the Big Screen, I have always been drawn to the Whodunits.
In college I had attended a couple of Murder Mystery Dinner Parties that were a blast, and had even thrown one of my own for a birthday party. With Halloween on a Friday this year it wasn’t a stretch for me to figure out what I wanted to do! Here are steps on how to make it happen:
STEP ONE – Invite some fun people. Or people who are open to having fun :). Thankfully I have both in my life!
STEP TWO – Find a game. You can buy boxed games, but I stumbled upon Shot In The Dark Mysteries, which is a site where you can not only pick and download which game you want, but you can even buy a version depending on how many people are playing! There is also an extension pack for when unexpected guests show up. I highly recommend this site! The games are less scripted than the earlier times I have played, but that also added an element of fun. Mail or email your guests their character ahead of time. I didn’t have a chance to go over mine, but it helps the game go smoother if you at least know your name!
STEP THREE – Pick a Theme. This goes hand in hand with Step Two because usually the game will decide your theme. If not, make one! It was Halloween so I picked a fairly easy theme. Murder at a Halloween Party! Guests would dress up as they would if they were going to a party, and I could decorate accordingly. The theme is center to the planning process because it can determine everything from clothing to food choices. You know how I love a good themed event ;).
STEP FOUR – Decorate!
One of the first things I do when I am throwing a party or hosting is to brainstorm on Pinterest. It’s actually a little dangerous because my eyes are bigger than my stomach, and I usually plan on doing way more than time or money allows. Which is exactly what happened for this party but oh well, lesson learned! :). Here is what I did for decorations:
DIY Halloween Poison Bottles. These actually turned out well and were fun to make! The glass stain used for the inside however did not easily roll around to coat the inside like the link implied. I had to use a paintbrush, but that only worked if the mouth was wide enough. Not sure how to thin the staining liquid. I tried warming it up but that didn’t help.
Glittered Pumpkins- and mine were not nearly as dazzling as I hoped!
“Blood” dripped candles (fun to make).
Eyeball flower inspired by this pic
Halloween Luminaries. These did not turn out as well as I’d wanted, but I love the idea. Mine went awry because I held the spray paint too close so it smudged, and my letters weren’t adhering so they did not turn out very clear. I think I’ll try again next year though, because they are super cute!
The Murder Scene. Roped off with Caution tape, I also TRIED to outline the shape of the body (in the closest thing I have to a mud room, which is where the murder happened). Don’t laugh now.
So maybe the victim had a really little head? You don’t know! 🙂
A cheap styrofoam skull over the faucet in the bathroom.
For the tablescape, I used a cool lace covered skull I actually found at Nordstrom (see, they really have it all lol) and a creepy hourglass I found at Target (see pic above). Add some black gauzy material, a DIY poison bottle, wine with spooky labels, spiders to sprinkle and you are good to go. I already had some gold accent plates, and then I found some cheap black ones at Hobby Lobby that I was able to incorporate to pull it all together.
A Halloween Backdrop. This was to serve double duty as a photo booth, but things got so hectic that I neglected to take many pictures! That was my biggest fail of the night. You can find backdrops like these through Amazon or Ebay (where I got mine a little cheaper).
Then of course, all the usual Halloweeny things like cobwebs, more black gauzy cloth, and the normal Halloween decorations that I use from year to year.
Here are some links to some fun decorations I meant to do. If only I had more time…
Foam Marquee Letters. These are SO cute, and I am determined to make them next year (especially since I bought half the stuff)!
Halloween yarn votives. I thought thick thread would work too. I was wrong :(.
STEP FIVE –Dress up
I was Maleficent this year, but I wasn’t the only one who dressed up!
STEP SIX – Plan your menu
This is where things went crazy. I was going to make these Mummy Calzones, and from scratch, of course, because I’m
smart crazy like that. Aren’t they perfect?
I did not give myself enough time, and the dough was a disaster with an hour until the party so I ended up ordering calzones from a nearby Italian eatery. Still good, but not a mummy :(.
The only part of my food planning that DID go right was the Shrunken Heads in Cider, a fruit salad that I threw together with orange slices and blackberries, and the caramel apples. Even those did not turn out as pictured, but they were ok in the end.
The list of what went wrong is a lot longer, but I’m going to put some of the links down because they are great Halloween food ideas for those that plan right! My dough disaster prevented me from making them happen, even if all the groceries were stacked in the fridge 🙁
Purple Cabbage Salad. The purple and green look striking, and carrot pumpkin cutouts and potato ghosts! Yes!
Eyeball Caprese Appetizers. These got half assembled! Ha!
Spider Tea Eggs, which I attempted but did not look good. I couldn’t peel the shell without egg chunks coming off and the “black” looked more brown. These went into the garbage can. Let me know if you are able to make them look good!
Pumpkin Melting Pot. For the fondue of course. Just ran out of time to hollow out the pumpkin…
Cupcake Spiders. The Cupcake Spiders ended up just being..well…cupcakes.
STEP SEVEN – Try to enjoy!
Now you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Don’t worry about looking stupid, it’s the horrible fake accents and cheesy questions that make the game fun and memorable! (SPOILER ALERT IF YOU ARE GOING TO BUY THIS GAME) As the host, I wanted to play along and not know the murderer, and it ended up being me! Only one person in our group correctly picked the actual murderer. You think I would have known haha. I guess all those sleuthing stories didn’t pay off after all :).
A prize for the person who guessed correctly would have been a good idea. I’ll remember that for the next one…..
Top Three Tips for future games:
Take pictures of all the guests, and decorations at the beginning. Especially if you spent money on a photo wall ;).
Make all your decorations well before the party so you can focus on the food.
Study your character beforehand (even slightly)
Here’s a slideshow on some of the fun (apologize for poor photo quality).
Hope all your detective dreams come true!
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