While our family really enjoy celebrating and instilling family traditions, we are not the best at our own birthday parties. Kids parties we kick ass at (did you see the weather change for the most gorgeous bike park party as if it was controlled by my very own hand?), but when it comes to the hub and I, our birthdays seem to pass us by without much intention…
But this year – oh this year.
An old friend of mine, Lisa, has recently revived her passion for Murder Mystery Dinners (more-so helping others create them), and while I’d heard of them I didn’t know much about them. Hidden somewhere in the ice cream tubs of memories from our early 20’s (shoved to the back of the study) there are pics of my hubby at a Murder Mystery Dinner with our Durban crew (obviously before I arrived on the scene). This year, Theran’s birthday was conveniently timed with the release of Lisa’s Murder Mystery DIY ebook. I immediately downloaded the ebook and said to the hub – “Let’s do THIS for your birthday!”. Fuuuuuun (and finally I get to participate in one this time). Sold!
We settled on a few close friends (following the suggested best number of guests the ebook had mentioned), saved the date and immediately anticipation began building. Stoked!
3 weeks, winter school holidays, work deadlines, a weekend away, and a Good Food Club complete, it was suddenly the Monday before the dinner. Knowing it was screaming its urgency on my mental to-do list, in a flat panic I messaged Lisa. Something along the lines of “ummmmm hi there, so finally got down to the Murder Mystery Dinner and, well ummm, I’m a little confused, and I think I need to know more than I do and fumble fumble fumble, waffle waffle waffle, HELP!”. A few voice notes back and forth (Lisa must have heard the panic in my voice) she offered to come over to chat to both Theran and I about how to host a stellar Murder Mystery. With the kids in bed and chocolate croissants in the oven, Lisa arrived, armed with EVERY-THING we needed (enthusiasm to match) for our very first Murder Mystery Dinner.
Premise explained, printables provided, characters developed – we were SET UP (let’s not joke around, if you’re hosting one of these things, you gotta be on the ball). We received from her – her flagship Print-and-Play game (avail from her for R299), menu suggestions, name cards, tips and tricks, props – everything we needed, not only to make it look gorgeous, but also professional and something you can’t help but buy into.
Hold up! What exactly is a Murder Mystery dinner you may be asking?
Well… in the simplest terms a murder mystery dinner is a themed dinner party that involves dressing up, acting and detecting which guest is the killer by the close of the game. Someone (not present at the party… duh!) has been killed, and someone attending the party did it (ahhh, gasp, shock, horror!). No one but the host knows who the murderer is, and secrets are revealed throughout the night with clues as to who it is. Props give away clues, guesses are made, crazy confessions come to light, and the murderer is finally revealed!
I’ll be honest, some friends were nervous. So was I – my character was French and I’m the worst accents person ever. Ever. But that’s all part of the fun – wangling my way through an evening where while being born in France, my nomadic parents travelled when I was young and my accent was misplaced by our numerous international adventures and and and (all made up – you get the idea).
And we had a BALL. What a fun, bizarre, hysterical, and unforgettable evening. My mom helped with the food so that it was less pressure for us to do that, and set up, and be in character (we have 3 small kids remember, nothing happens ‘easily’).
I was totally blown away by how incredibly well some friends embraced their characters and chirps were flowing (as was the wine and homemade Whisky cream liqueur)… It can be trying for some to get into character, and the best way to do that is for the evening itself to be well organised, create a legit environment and have your guests know this is for REAL. (Once the murderer is revealed, you can then break character).
If you’re at ALL interested in hosting a Murder Mystery Dinner, OR trying one out at a corporate function (oh my hat sooooo much fun!), I really would recommend you contact Lisa Aspeling.
I’d encourage you to firstly, download the ebook, take a peek at the website, join her closed group on Facebook – The Murder Mystery Guide Dinner Club – or you can contact her directly:
Possible ways of getting started:
- Download the ebook and follow the tips to developing your own story.
- Purchase Lisa’s Print-and-Play game (R299).
- Contact Lisa about a Weekend Workshop where she will help you put your own custom-made murder mystery together, as well as the opportunity to experience one yourself (R1500, includes private dining restaurant dinner for murder mystery (cash bar) Places are limited.)
Contact Lisa Aspeling: 072 372 8620 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisa has over 10 years’ experience playing murder mystery dinner games she’s written herself, games she’s co-written and dinners where she’s been just an ordinary guest.
GO FOR IT! It really is such a fun experience and something so different to your usual sit down dinner! You won’t regret it.