My really good friend, Breanne, just threw a fabulous murder mystery dinner for Halloween and wanted to share with you all how she was able to throw a successful themed dinner party on a budget! Check out how she did it below!
I found a coupon for www.nightofmystery.com on www.livingsocial.com - and for $25 you get to spend $50 on a murder mystery party! I bought a party that accommodated 8-15 guests. It came with everything you need for the party - from character descriptions to decorations. I chose "Murder at the Juice Joint" a 1920's themed party. The package was a set of PDF files so I saved it to a disc so I can throw the party again or pass it along so a friend can throw their own party!
Guest list:I used an evite. It's free, easy to send, and you can see when your guests view and receive them! Then I assigned each guest a character and emailed their character description to them individually so they could prepare for their role. The character descriptions also had costume suggestions.
Menu:I wanted to keep the menu simple because I didn't have a lot of time to prep for the party. I made spinach dip and bruschetta for appetizers, a Parisian salad, a Lasagna, and Tiramisu cake and coffee for dessert (all from Costco.) I served champagne, wine, and beer. You can get more creative by serving food or cocktails from that era. Here are some cocktail ideas:Between The Sheets
3/4 oz. each of rum, brandy, Cointreau; a splash of lemon juice or sour mix; blend with ice, strain, and serve up in a chilled cocktail glassSidecar
Shake well with cracked ice:
1 1/4 oz cognac
1/2 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Strain into chilled, sugar-rimmed cocktail glassFun 1920's fact: The advent of cheaply-made illegal alcohol during Prohibition, they quickly became popular, often to cover the taste of the inferior alcohol.
Black and white was very popular in the 20's so I continued that theme throughout the party. I borrowed 2 6ft tables from a friend to create a long dining table and covered them with 2 white tablecloths that I purchased at TJ Maxx for $9.99 each. I rented 12 black chairs from Classic Party Rentals which cost about $40. I already had enough China to serve 12 people but I didn't have enough silver ware so I found plastic ones that looked like silver at Costco for 160 pieces it was about $10. For center pieces I had several small glass square vases I bought from the Dollar tree a while back and filled them with black marbles I already had from my wedding. Add some white roses and you have an elegant (and budget friendly center piece.) Costco is also a great place to buy flowers-especially roses. You can buy 2 dozen roses for $16.99!
The Game:As guests arrived I offered them a drink and handed them their first envelope with their dinner objectives. The first envelope also included $500 worth of play money. They would have to try to collect as much money throughout the night through bribery or extortion! The second envelope they received after the murder occurs. Each person had a name tag at their place setting so they would know who is who, and I let them mingle so they could "introduce" themselves and get into character. My friend Sarah's character was a cigarette girl. She found candy cigarettes to sell and make money.At the end of the evening you hand out "Who Done It" cards for everyone to guess the murderer, vote on who was "Best Dressed" and "Best Actor", and a place to total their money for the "Mr. Money Bags" award. The package included a tally sheet so you can quickly tally up the winners and award them with a prize. I gave the winners their certificate and a $5 Starbucks gift card. You could get more creative with the prizes if the budget permits for example, a costume fedora for best dressed, a trophy for best actor, and a money clip for the wealthiest player.Overall, it was a very successful party and everyone asked what the theme for next year will be! To throw a Murder Mystery dinner party for under $200 for 12 people, I thought it was a great way to celebrate Halloween! Murder mystery parties are also great for milestone birthdays, holidays, or just an excuse to get friends together for a dinner party.