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The first step is to decide where you’d like to have this shindig. Ideally, select somewhere that is grandiose and also secluded, so that when you decide to put on this production, it is apparent that the only possible suspects are the ones who attended the weekend. Suitable locations include a seaside, veranda-wrapped Victorian, a snow-topped ski chalet, or a plain old mansion.

Decide how involved you want this murder mystery event to be.

Is it a full weekend affair? Will you take inspiration from Clue and be a Mr. Body, or is it obvious why your guests are coming, a la Knives Out?

Next, be sure to invite the guests with a mailed invitation.

Make sure the invites are fancy, but not like, over the top. It needs to be somewhat mysterious as to why they’re being sent. Be sure that all the guests have some connection to you, the host, as well as the “victim.”

The first night of your getaway sets the tone for your guests, so the party is of critical importance. This would actually be an acceptable way to throw a real “Gatsby Party,” with a mysterious host and all. Though a long, pining romance for one of the guests is not actually required.

If you don’t want a full night of drunken debauchery and re-examining the American Dream, there’s always the dinner party route. Of course, you’re then charged with the menu and any dietary restrictions your guests might have. Pick your poison, I suppose.

After all of that fanfare, mingling and small talk, it’s time for someone to “die.”

There are a variety of ways that you can stage this, but it also depends on where exactly you’re hosting this event. It wouldn’t make sense for your victim to drown in a pool if it’s at a winter ski resort. Though this option could work if you really wanted to confuse your guests or make the murder a little bit more difficult to solve.

Upon discovering the body, be sure to quickly reveal the first several clues.

It could be as obvious as the murder weapon, or subtle, such as threads under the finger nails or a missing accessory.

Then decide how quickly you want your guests to solve this mystery. Will it be an hour? Will it be the whole weekend? This could also determine how obvious you want your clues to be, depending on how observant your guests are.

No good mystery goes without at least two victims, so be sure to get someone in on the joke.

Wait, two victims? You didn’t plan for this. Shit. You were so preoccupied with having the perfect murder mystery weekend, you didn’t realize it would actually be the perfect cover for a real murderer.

Call the cops.

Jessica Lulka

Jess Lulka is a Boston-based creative. When she's not writing or editing, you'll find her at any bookstore, art museum, or looking at cat pictures.

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