How to Host A Murder Mystery Party Part 2: The Costumes

This is Part Two of How to Host a Murder Mystery Party. Click here for Part One.

Once upon a time, in October, I hosted a Murder Mystery Party. I hoped for nothing more than a good time and amazing costumes. Oh, and I also wanted to pretend I was actually in a 1920’s speakeasy. I was able to create a space that made me feel that way through obsessive decorating, but I was dependent on my friends to deliver amazing costumes. I may have haunted them via text and facebook, giving everyone ideas and literally doing a tap dance when I learned someone was going to wear plus fours.
I made my dress by googling “Drop waist dresses” and finding one for sale at Old Navy for 20 dollars. Then I had my friend attach antique lace in the front as a bib and add sheer cap sleeves and a satin ribbon along the waist. If you find a drop waist dress, you are pretty much golden for the 1920s.
my embellished old navy dress.  You can’t see but I added purple tights for color. My friend made my turban, which I insisted on having, because HELLO?! TURBANS!
 If you want to buy an amazing dress (and I totally did but I couldn’t justify the expense) check out these websites for ideas (these are not affiliate links, I’m just trying to be helpful):

Modcloth (sometimes they have stuff, sometimes not)
Thank you friends, you delivered costume awesomeness, and I loved every second of it.
Behold, the 1920’s finery:

My friend Polly made her cigarette and holder by painting a chopstick.

Inspector Nutella designed his own hilarious badge. 

For Big Jim Ravioli’s costume we purchased suspenders, realized we didn’t have buttons for them on the pants, so we used safety pins.

Penny Cheatum became notorious for grabbing wads of money out of people’s hands…and decolletage. You just couldn’t trust anyone.

Despite all the glamour, people still died. And they died often. I followed the instructions on the Murder Mystery website and I told my guests to just follow the rules in the character packets I had made for them. I told them those were the only rules and they could embellish their characters as they saw fit. This caused a crime spree.
In order to murder someone, you needed to draw a playing card with a murder weapon on it. I think there were four weapons total, so there was the possibility of four murders. The weapons were things like, “a brick in a purse” and “poison”. Imagine my surprise when I found someone murdered by an AK47…did they even HAVE those in the 20’s? Further adding to my puzzlement, the card had been written in a scrawling, mannish hand. I didn’t have time to do anything because a second later I heard screams of murder in another room. 
So it continued throughout the night. People were dropping like flies. The inspector gave up and joined forces with gangsters. There was no law…
Because a certain Mr. Cash Steal had started up a lucrative forgery business.
Mr. and Mrs. Cash Steal

Cash was making his own weapons cards and selling them to people. I think he actually told people they were forgeries, but he sold it as his character’s job and so people thought it was part of the game and gave him money for his fake weapons. Then they used them on people who didn’t know they were fake. Soon there was a murder every minute or so. It was deadly.

And hilarious.

The evening was one to remember…if you could survive it.

(photos by Candi Lapa)

p. s. Here’s the playlist I used for the evening:

Black Bottom Stomp- New Orleans’ Own The Dukes of Dixieland

Puttin’ On The Ritz – Fred Astaire

Goody Goody -Billy Randolph & The High Hatters

Ain’t She Sweet (No Es Ella Dulce?)(Charleston) -The Charleston All Stars

Black Strap Molasses- Danny Kaye, Groucho Marx, Jane Wyman & Jimmie Durante

Darktown Strutters Ball- Vince Giordano And The Nighthawks

That’s a Plenty- The New Paul Whiteman Orchestra

Hot Feet – Paul Specht

Livery Stable Blues – Vince Giordano And The Nighthawks

Chew Tobacco Rag- Lucky Millinder

(It’s Too Darned Hot For A Tune) -Sid Peltyn & His Orchestra

Ain’t Misbehavin’- Fats Waller & His Rhythm

Mournin’ Blues -Vince Giordano And The Nighthawks

All By Myself – Martha Wainwright

Varsity Rag – Billy Randolph & The High Hatters

West End Blues – Louis Armstrong

The Mooche – Duke Ellington

My Man – Regina Spektor

Some of These Days – Kathy Brier

Wild Romantic Blues -Nellie McKay

Creole Love Call -Duke Ellington

St. James Infirmary Blues – The White Stripes

Nightmare – Artie Shaw

What A Little Moonlight Can Do – Billie Holiday

La Conga Blicoti (From “Midnight in Paris”) – Josephine Baker

The Sheik of Araby – Leon Redbone

Crazy Blues – Catherine Russell

Nero – Fats Waller

Margie -Vince Giordano And The Nighthawks

Hot Piano Stomp -Henry Lange & His Orchestra

Ma, He’s Making Eyes At Me- Billy Randolph & The High Hatters

Swingin’ on Nothin’ -Tommy Dorsey

Sugarfoot Stomp – Fletcher Henderson

Crazy Quilt – The Tennessee Tooters

And I Still Do – Ina Ray Hutton & Her Melodears & Ruth Bradley

Charleston – Louis Prima

Diga Diga Doo – Benny Goodman

3 thoughts on “How to Host A Murder Mystery Party Part 2: The Costumes

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