Last spring I attended one of those murder mystery dinner parties. If you’ve never been to one, here’s how they work: the host orders a kit that pre-assigns characters to all the guests, provides each of them with certain actions/phrases they will have to bring about throughout the night, and basically sets up a fake murder scene. The guests must use all of their given information to gather clues and figure out “whodunit” at the end of the evening. Although everyone receives information about their characters ahead of time, no one knows who the victim or murderer are except for the victim and murder themselves (and even they don’t know until they arrive at the party).
The party guests were some friends of mine from one of my student organizations. My friend, Linsey, has a beautiful lake house, which was where the event took place. We were all supposed to arrive completely in costume and in character and we were not supposed to break character until the murder was “solved.”
I received my “dinner invitation” about a week before the party, and it included the theme for the evening: 80’s. I also received my character information: Alligator Dundee. You see, every character was based on an 80’s fictional character, singer, or movie star, but the murder mystery kit could not risk copyright infringement. So, everyone’s name was slightly changed.
I threw together a costume: a vest (with no shirt underneath), a leather hat, slim jeans, boots, leather armbands, and a necklace with two crocodile teeth. You can find anything at Hobby Lobby.
Little did I know that all of the males—except for one—who were supposed to come to the party backed out at the last minute. It was fine. I was not going to miss it. This high ratio of ladies did not affect me until I arrived a little late to the party.
Linsey’s lake house sits right next to another lake house that shares the same driveway. The owners of said neighboring lake house were out on their porch roasting marshmallows. So, I had to walk past them to get to Linsey’s. I noticed them snicker as I strolled by.
“Whatever,” I thought. “I’m dressed like Crocodile Dundee. Yeah, I look weird.” I, then, noticed that a couple of them were sporting open mouths of disbelief.
I also heard one say, “Oh my gosh. Do you think…”
“He is dressed like one,” another one said.
I had know idea what they were talking about until it dawned on me that these people had already seen a slew of college girls walk into the house. There was loud music playing, so it was obviously a party. I was wearing a vest with no shirt and tight jeans.
They thought I was a stripper, ladies and gentlemen. A stripper.
Oh well. Instead of clarifying, I thought it was more fun to let them ponder.
Anyway, I proceeded through dinner while donning a terrible Australian accent and throwing in an occasional phrase that I was supposed to say based on my instructions. I danced to Michael Jackson and Pat Benatar. I laughed at the ridiculous impersonations of people like Cindi Lauper and Pee Wee Herman.
The game involved the host giving each player envelopes with talking points every few minutes to add more to their conversations. I eventually received an envelope that told me to silently go to the bathroom and look under the sink. I did so, and there they were: Halloween makeup, a tube of fake blood, the murder weapon, and precise instructions for how to die. Wouldn’t you know it—I came to a party as a rugged icon, transitioned into a stripper, and ended up a victim of homicide.
Per request of the instructions, I used the makeup to place a gash on my forehead and squeezed some fake blood on it. I grabbed the murder weapon, which just happened to be a Rubik’s Cube. So 80’s.
I flung the bathroom door open, flopped onto the floor, and tossed the Rubik’s Cube out of my hand as I went down. I opened my mouth and tried to roll my eyes back in my head for dramatic effect.
Everyone screamed, which probably confirmed the neighbors’ stripper suspicions.
I spent the next few minutes lying as still as possible while concerned 80’s stars examined my surroundings. I couldn’t help but chuckle when a Paula Abdul look-alike came barreling towards me, wailing and mourning my passing.
Then, I listened to friends blame each other for my death and try to piece together the fake motives their characters possessed. It was one of the most entertaining things I’ve ever experienced. When they eventually figured it out, the murderer confessed, and we were finally able to break character and discuss how ridiculous, but “totally tubular” we looked. It was a good night.
So, I have only these two things left to say about the matter:
- I would wholeheartedly recommend doing a murder mystery party.
- To that Debbie Gibson wannabe, I’ll get you back for killing me. Consider it Dundee.