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How to run a murder mystery dinner party

At Red Herring Games we sell murder mystery games in several different formats – this information page describes how to run a murder mystery dinner party at home for between 6 and 20 guests.

We provide detailed instructions with all our games to make planning and running the games as easy as possible and we are always available for customer support and don’t mind answering any questions, no matter how silly you may think they are!

If this is your first time, and you have never hosted a murder mystery dinner party before then don’t worry – in most cases no one actually gets murdered!


First and foremost make sure you begin your preparations well ahead of time. It sounds obvious, but make sure you have a good look through your game and if you need to print things off, or do any advance preparations with the clues etc, then get these done well ahead of time.

If you buy a printed kit – still have a good riffle through the set when it arrives – it always helps to know what all the elements are and the instructions and making the most of your theme booklets will give you loads of ideas.

Assigning Guests:

One of the first steps in hosting a small group murder mystery is to assign your guests to a character.

Read the character descriptions provided and where possible try and fit the guests you plan to invite to the characters themselves.

You might want more information before you allocate guests e.g. you might have some friends who you definitely DON’T want to be dating. In which case, read the character description in the front of each booklet too – as that will give you more ideas about the character and help you allocate them to a part whcih will suit them best.

Sending Invitations:

Send the invitations several weeks in advance where possible to allow your guests time to find suitable dress for the occasion.

Alternatively host the murder mystery as a surprise event! This also works well. For small group games you will need to have a selection of fancy dress / costume props for your guests to choose from on arrival at the party.

If you want to make your party special, then consider customising your invitations yourself. A little bit of crafty know how is all that you need to do something really special. We provide further information on how to customise your game in our game packages.


Where you hold the murder mystery party sets the stage for the party. Often a few minor alterations in your home can add some simple ambiance to help get your guests in the mood. Use your game materials to help you decide how to decorate. All our games come with decoration ideas.

Don’t forget the music – music can add a lot to the event. Pick something in keeping with your theme.


By the time you get to this point you should have the game materials organised and sitting somewhere safe, a decorated room and some ambient music, as well as a simple menu that is set to go as soon as all your guests arrive.

You may want to keep a copy of the game instructions to hand during your event. The instructions help guide you through the mystery and let you know when you should be hearing from the inspector.

As the guests arrive they should be given any information they require for the game. This consists of a booklet and just occasionally other clues.

As you give it to them explain what is inside, and tell them anything important that they should know about how to play.

You may want to introduce your guests to everyone as they arrive, you may want to use name badges to help people to remember, though usually the costumes give it away!

When everyone has arrived give them all time to read their information before you begin.


As host it is your job to make sure everyone is comfortable with what they are being asked to do. If you notice someone hasn’t asked any questions then ask them directly do you have anything to ask anyone? It’s usually all about nerves, and the more comfortable they feel the better.

REMEMBER – this information page is very basic – more detail instructions of how to host our murder mystery games are provided as standard with all our games.

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