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Planning and hosting a Mystery Dinner with menu

Dinner can be Fun!

How to host a Mystery Dinner

Mystery Dinners are probably the most rewarding type of meal that any person can plan. My motto is ‘The more the merrier’, this works well if you are having a lot of people for dinner. Having been the head of an organization for a short time, I wanted to reward my helpers with a fun night out. To this day it is still talked about and referred to as the most fun anyone has ever had at a dinner.

Let me explain what a Mystery Dinner is. It is a dinner that should have no less than 6 people (for the maximum amount of fun). The guests have no idea what they are going to eat, they are presented with a menu from which they have to ‘place’ their orders. A good menu should have no less than 4 courses, 5 is a good round number. It is also fun if you should include in your menu the ordering of utensils. Plates and bowls are a given, you need something to serve the food on.

The menu item will have different name from which the food truly is, such as; Jacob’s Well - which is water. Yes, they must order drinks too!

You must plan your menu, deciding what to have is the most fun. If you are known to be a good cook this makes the anticipation for what you have planned even greater. Ensure that you have enough time to prepare your food, so you can enjoy your company, and watch the expressions on their faces as their ’waiter’ brings them their orders.

You will need to enlist in co-conspirators for your venture, this is something you will not be able to do on your own. Teenagers make great helpers they are quick and light on their feet. Any left over food you have will be devoured by them, so you will have no waste!

If you are having as many as 30 people to your dinner party, I would suggest separating them as they enter. This way your guests get to meet new people and may be prone to having more fun. With 30 people you will need many tables, so having helpers is very important. I would suggest having at least 5 helpers/waiters for 30 people. Each helper will be responsible for 1 table of 6 guests.

As everyone is seated you then explain how the dinner will happen. Each helper will be standing at the head of each table, holding the menu’s. After your explanation your helper will then give each guest a menu with a pencil. Having them put their name on each menu will help the waiter remember what goes to who. They will be allowed to order 5 items each course. As the item is ordered it will be crossed off the list, so it cannot be ordered again. Using plain white paper for your menu is probably the least expensive and best, for these will most likely never be used again.

You will need several ‘master copy’ menu’s placed around the area where the food is to be served. A ‘Master Copy’ is telling your servers exactly what is what on the menu. It helps to avoid any confusion.

The types of food served and names given for each, is limited to your imagination!

Planning - If you are having 5 courses with 5 items in each course, you will need 25 items to go on your menu. Of these items, 5 should be utensils, such as fork, knife, spoon, napkin and toothpick. Each will have it’s own individual name ie; Fork - Divided Branches.

Your drinks will take up at least 3 items, coffee, iced tea and water. Coffee - Rocket Fuel.

You are left with 18 items that should be food items. Not so daunting is it? You can have meat, soup, potato, salad’s and desserts. Not necessarily a full salad, but items such as carrot/celery sticks or raisins. Your menu does not have to have any particular rhyme or reason, since each item will be ordered individually.

If you want to save on the later clean up, using disposable plates and bowls make it a lot easier.

Keep in mind this is meant to be fun, so have fun! Enjoy yourself. If after it’s over and you still have hungry guests (doubtful) by all means offer them more!

Front of double sided menu

Front of double sided menu

back side of menu

back side of menu

Master Copy of menu (just a few ideas)

Master Copy of menu (just a few ideas)

Menu

If you should like this idea and you like me to e-mail you a copy of my menu, feel free to write, I will get on it right away!

Why not make it a Murder Mystery Dinner?

If you are fairly creative, you might want to include a murder mystery skit into your dinner.  Complete with costumes and story line.  There are lots of fictional murder stories that can be found for your ‘actors’.  If you just can’t seem to think of any good mysteries, go to your local library and check out some Agatha Christy books to get an idea.  My personal favorite of hers, ‘Curtain’.  This could be written fairly easy into a murder mystery skit, with only a few people who need to rehearse their lines.  One never knows, if it’s very successful, you may be asked to perform this for pay.


Just a few more ideas and a couple recipes too boot!

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Comments

TJ Rosenvall on July 08, 2020:

Would it be possible to get your menu and the other papers that you have in the pictures? My email is mckennanica@yahoo.com

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on July 23, 2019:

I would need an email to send it to you.

Christine Huot on July 22, 2019:

I am having a dinner for 12 people and would really be grateful if you could email me a copy of a menu.

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on July 19, 2019:

Here is what I would do. Because there are 80 people you can't have them all up and wandering around. So turn it into a play of sorts. Pick out your favorite murder mystery book - check online to see if there happens to be a script already available if not, get to reading and writing. Get yourself some people to play the parts, perhaps you'll choose an Agatha Christie novel and will need a Hercule Poirot. Have them study the script but keep it 'hush-hush'. Go thru the book and select foods according to the book - rename them according to the story for your menu. Best of Luck!

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on July 03, 2019:

I'd need to know what types of food you'd like to serve before I could make any suggestions.

Cindy Bailey on July 03, 2019:

looking for menu ideas for an adult only mystery dinner-any suggestions

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on June 03, 2019:

This is a mystery dinner menu - but I will need an email to send that

Tina on June 02, 2019:

Please could you send me more easy ideas of how to host a crazy dinner party for adults.

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on May 25, 2019:

Sent

ceasterla@sbcglobal.net on May 24, 2019:

Planning a Sunday School class party and would love a copy of your menu. Thank you in advance. Carm

Dph3114@gmail.com on March 29, 2019:

Please send me your Mystery Dinner Menu's, we are planning a fund raiser for Relay for Life.

Thanks,

Deb

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on February 03, 2019:

Sent

Carol Carelse on February 03, 2019:

Would you please send me a copy of your menu please. Planning

a church fund raiser and this looks looks like so much fun.

Thank you.

carol.carelse1@gmail.com

Steph on January 09, 2019:

Would love a copy of your menu

Thank you :)

babie__t@hotmail.com

Shelly P on December 10, 2018:

Love this! Would love a menu sent :)

slpowell_2000@yahoo.com

Thank you!

Linda T on December 05, 2018:

Love this! Please email me a menu and anything else that would be helpful :~) lindascpt@bellsouth.net

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on November 18, 2018:

Sent! Enjoy

Jennifer on November 17, 2018:

Would you please email me a copy of your menu? Thank you.

Youngstah@hotmail.com

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on October 01, 2018:

Sent!

snarkiana@yahoo.com on October 01, 2018:

May I have copies of your menu and answers?

Diana

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on September 24, 2018:

Sent! enjoy!

ivanday32@msn.com on September 24, 2018:

I would like a copy of your menu. This activity would be fun to do with our older grandchildren.

Thank you

luannsdaycare@aol.com on September 18, 2018:

Could I get a copy of your menu please .My girl scout troop will love this .Thanks

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on August 27, 2018:

sent and sent - enjoy!

Laurie on August 26, 2018:

May I get a copy of your full menu ideas?

Thank you.

Laurel.joslyn@ahschools.us

Becky on August 25, 2018:

Forgot my address

al.von@hotmail.com

Becky on August 25, 2018:

Could I please have a copy of your menu? I would like to do this for a church function. Thanks!

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on January 22, 2018:

Sent and sent - enjoy!

Deanna Deck on January 22, 2018:

I would love to have a copy of your menu. I did one of these dinners many years ago. It was such a hit my daughter asked me to do another one. deanna_deck@hotmail.com Thank you!

PaulaS on January 21, 2018:

I would love your menu. My mom did one of these 40- some years ago. I know I have her menu soooomewhere in my keepsakes.

aheart4him2@yahoo.com

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on October 27, 2017:

I need an e-mail to send it to.

Rachel Villalobos on October 24, 2017:

Please send me a copy of your menu. My daughter wants to do it for her birthday.

Mickey on September 08, 2017:

Please send me your menu, am doing this for a church function, how fun. mickeywebb1998@gmail.com. Thank you

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on July 06, 2017:

Yes, the menu as your guests will see it and the master copy for your servers.

Dee on July 06, 2017:

do u have the menu and what they stand for?

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on January 25, 2017:

Sent

Karen Miller on January 25, 2017:

Please email your menu for the mystery dinner. I'm going to hostess my Red Hat group and I thought this would be fun. I did have a copy a couple years ago, but lost it when my home burned down.

Thank you in advance for your help. My email is

sundayquiltr@aol.com

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on January 13, 2017:

I'm gonna need your email Barbara.

Barbara on January 13, 2017:

Living in Adelaide Australia and would love you to email me the menu.

Went to a Mystery dinner years ago was such fun

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on January 09, 2017:

Sent!

ginfaith44@yahoo.com on January 09, 2017:

Hi Sweetsusieg, this sounds like it would be lots of fun as a combine mutual activity for the valentines next month. Can you please email me the menu?

Thank you,

Virginia

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on December 11, 2016:

Sent!

Ashley on December 11, 2016:

Hello! I would love a copy of your menu! Ashleyaanker@gmail.com

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on November 24, 2016:

Sent

Debbie D on November 24, 2016:

Please I would love to get a copy of your mystery dinner recipe.

Debbied12758@aol.com

Thank you

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on October 08, 2016:

Sent

Julie on October 07, 2016:

I would love you to e-mail me. My email is justjuliemo@yahoo.com

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on September 02, 2016:

I need an email!

Nanct on September 01, 2016:

Please send me a copy of your menu!

T1dunlap@aol.com on May 29, 2016:

Please send me the menu. Thank you.

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on February 29, 2016:

Menu sent! With a few instructions.

Sue Dunaway on February 29, 2016:

Would love to do a party for our ladies at the church. I need a menu and more instructions on how the party works!!!!

Thanks,

Sue

sgddu@bellsouth.net

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on January 28, 2016:

Sent!

barb.allen85@gmail.com on January 28, 2016:

Hi! I loved your planning ideas. Could you send your menu?

Many thanks!

Barbara

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on January 18, 2016:

Both have been sent!! Enjoy!

Natalie on January 17, 2016:

I would love to do this with our youth group. Could you please email me nahuffman@yahoo.com. Thank you

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on November 07, 2015:

Sent! I hope you enjoy!

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on November 02, 2015:

Sent. enjoy!

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on August 19, 2015:

Sent

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on May 12, 2015:

sent

Jenell Mercer on January 30, 2014:

Please send menue and coarse forms for your Mystery Dinner to j.mercer@live.con

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on December 05, 2013:

It's been sent! Enjoy!!

Pamela Maupin on December 04, 2013:

Please send me a copy of your menu. My email is pamthebaker@gmail.com

Looking forward to receiving it and then using it in my church here in Lincoln Ca. Thanks

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on May 17, 2013:

Sent!

sweethearts2 from Northwest Indiana on May 17, 2013:

This sounds great for a fellowship activity at church. Please send copy of menu - laflech@sbcglobal.net

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on March 14, 2013:

I need your email address please.

Rachel on March 07, 2013:

Could out send me a copy of your menu please? Appreciate it!

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on March 05, 2013:

On it's way!!

Linda on March 05, 2013:

Would love for you to send me the menu I'm planning on doing this with my bible study group. mamabell62@yahoo.com

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on February 16, 2013:

On it's way!!

carolee on February 16, 2013:

would you email me the menu.....thank you.......blakeann045@gmail.com

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on January 22, 2013:

It's been sent!

Monica on January 22, 2013:

I would love to see your menu. Thanks!

rmcolvin@surfbest.net

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on January 19, 2013:

There ya go, it's on it's way!!

Judy Miller on January 19, 2013:

Would you please send me a copy of your menu?

gjmiller@telusplanet.net

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on January 14, 2013:

You are very welcome! Hope you enjoy the fun!

Chris on January 13, 2013:

Thanks so much! Great tips. Looking forward to doing this for my daughter's 14th birthday. I would love for you to send me your menu! Thanks again.

Rosses5@yahoo.com

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on January 08, 2013:

On it's way!!

dblycker on January 08, 2013:

I would also love a copy of your menu. I hope to use this for our Jr/Sr. Highschool Friendship Banquet.

dblycker@gmail.com

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on December 14, 2012:

It's on it's way!! Enjoy!

Michele on December 13, 2012:

I would love a copy of your menu. Thanks. therealparkers@yahoo.com

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on November 12, 2012:

on it's way!

Sandy Gardner from Grand Rapids, Michigan on November 11, 2012:

Could you please send me a menu? We are doing this for our youth group in a couple of weeks.

loveqltng@sbcglobal.net

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on October 30, 2012:

On it's way!!

Jeanmarie on October 30, 2012:

We did this several years ago and it was great fun and would love to do again for friends who have never done it. I would love a ciopy of your menu if possible. Thanking you in advance.

jeanmariewentzel@comcast.net

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on October 21, 2012:

Sure thing!

Kristi Van on October 17, 2012:

Hi! I am planning a mystery dinner for our Family ministries group at church, with our youth group as servers! I would love a copy of your menu if it is still available. Thanks! kristivan@cam-umc.org

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on October 15, 2012:

Your menu is on it's way along with my interpretation of a name for Lasagna along with my reasoning behind ti!!

Dottie Whittington on October 15, 2012:

Thanks for printing your information. I wanted to have a mystery dinner from 35 year old memories. Would you please send your menu. Any ideas for what to call Lazonya?

Thanks, dorothy5141@att.net

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on October 11, 2012:

There ya go!! On it's way!

KimberA on October 10, 2012:

May I have a copy of your menu? This is awesome...

Kimberlya916@gmail.com

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on August 13, 2012:

It's on it's way!!

Amber on August 13, 2012:

Could you please send me a copy of your menu to Lp4h@ymail.com? I would surely appreciate it!!

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on July 07, 2012:

On it's way!!

TiffanyMead on July 06, 2012:

Could you please send me a menu, I went to a party years ago and have been looking ever since for idea's. Your's is perfect!!! Thank you so much in advance, I cant wait to have an awesome night with a bunch of friends :)

Sauers.tiffany@gmail.com or Mead.Tiffany90@gmail.com

Thanks again!

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on May 06, 2012:

@ Julie - It's been sent!!

@ marilyn - On it's way!

Hope you have fun with it!!

marilyn on May 05, 2012:

My sister and I hosted one of these over 30 years ago(yikes!!) would love to do another one..would so appreciate a copy of any and all ideas you would be willing to share!! Thanks so much!

stampgirl57@hotmail.com

Julie on May 05, 2012:

Could you also send me your menu maxdog@centurylink.net

thanks

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on April 29, 2012:

It's been sent - sorry it took so long. I will have to try and remedy that today!

Oreo on April 27, 2012:

Please Send me a copy of your menu!!!! Can't wait for the party to beginning!!

Thanks :),

nadinef98@gmail.com