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Planning and hosting a Mystery Dinner with menu

Updated on January 27, 2011

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.


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    • profile image

      Shelly P 

      7 days ago

      Love this! Would love a menu sent :)

      slpowell_2000@yahoo.com

      Thank you!

    • profile image

      Linda T 

      12 days ago

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

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      4 weeks ago from Michigan

      Sent! Enjoy

    • profile image

      Jennifer 

      4 weeks ago

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

      Youngstah@hotmail.com

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      2 months ago from Michigan

      Sent!

    • profile image

      snarkiana@yahoo.com 

      2 months ago

      May I have copies of your menu and answers?

      Diana

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      2 months ago from Michigan

      Sent! enjoy!

    • profile image

      ivanday32@msn.com 

      2 months ago

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

      Thank you

    • profile image

      luannsdaycare@aol.com 

      3 months ago

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

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      3 months ago from Michigan

      sent and sent - enjoy!

    • profile image

      Laurie 

      3 months ago

      May I get a copy of your full menu ideas?

      Thank you.

      Laurel.joslyn@ahschools.us

    • profile image

      Becky 

      3 months ago

      Forgot my address

      al.von@hotmail.com

    • profile image

      Becky 

      3 months ago

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

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      10 months ago from Michigan

      Sent and sent - enjoy!

    • profile image

      Deanna Deck 

      10 months ago

      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!

    • profile image

      PaulaS 

      11 months ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      13 months ago from Michigan

      I need an e-mail to send it to.

    • profile image

      Rachel Villalobos 

      13 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Mickey 

      15 months ago

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

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      17 months ago from Michigan

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

    • profile image

      Dee 

      17 months ago

      do u have the menu and what they stand for?

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      23 months ago from Michigan

      Sent

    • profile image

      Karen Miller 

      23 months ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      23 months ago from Michigan

      I'm gonna need your email Barbara.

    • profile image

      Barbara 

      23 months ago

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

      Went to a Mystery dinner years ago was such fun

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      23 months ago from Michigan

      Sent!

    • profile image

      ginfaith44@yahoo.com 

      23 months ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      2 years ago from Michigan

      Sent!

    • profile image

      Ashley 

      2 years ago

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

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      2 years ago from Michigan

      Sent

    • profile image

      Debbie D 

      2 years ago

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

      Debbied12758@aol.com

      Thank you

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      2 years ago from Michigan

      Sent

    • profile image

      Julie 

      2 years ago

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

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      2 years ago from Michigan

      I need an email!

    • profile image

      Nanct 

      2 years ago

      Please send me a copy of your menu!

    • profile image

      T1dunlap@aol.com 

      2 years ago

      Please send me the menu. Thank you.

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      2 years ago from Michigan

      Menu sent! With a few instructions.

    • profile image

      Sue Dunaway 

      2 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      2 years ago from Michigan

      Sent!

    • profile image

      barb.allen85@gmail.com 

      2 years ago

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

      Many thanks!

      Barbara

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      2 years ago from Michigan

      Both have been sent!! Enjoy!

    • profile image

      Natalie 

      2 years ago

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

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      3 years ago from Michigan

      Sent! I hope you enjoy!

    • profile image

      Tammy Edwards 

      3 years ago

      I am planning a Mystery Dinner for our Church Youth Group. Could you please email me your menu asap? Thanks! tammy_edwards@yahoo.com

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      3 years ago from Michigan

      Sent. enjoy!

    • profile image

      vicki 

      3 years ago

      could you please email me the menu ASAP.

      vickiwhitford22@gmail.com

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      3 years ago from Michigan

      Sent

    • profile image

      Kathi Rogers 

      3 years ago

      thinking of doing this for Ladies Night Out. Would you email me the menu. Krogers47@mtcnow.net.

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      3 years ago from Michigan

      sent

    • profile image

      Devon 

      3 years ago

      I have been looking for something like this...I went to a mystery dinner given by my girl scout leader 15+ years ago and now I am a leader and want to do this with my girls...can you send me a copy? devonrem@hotmail.com

    • profile image

      Jenell Mercer 

      4 years ago

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

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      It's been sent! Enjoy!!

    • profile image

      Pamela Maupin 

      5 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Sent!

    • sweethearts2 profile image

      sweethearts2 

      5 years ago from Northwest Indiana

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

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      I need your email address please.

    • profile image

      Rachel 

      5 years ago

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

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      On it's way!!

    • profile image

      Linda 

      5 years ago

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

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      On it's way!!

    • profile image

      carolee 

      5 years ago

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

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      It's been sent!

    • profile image

      Monica 

      5 years ago

      I would love to see your menu. Thanks!

      rmcolvin@surfbest.net

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      5 years ago from Michigan

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

    • profile image

      Judy Miller 

      5 years ago

      Would you please send me a copy of your menu?

      gjmiller@telusplanet.net

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      You are very welcome! Hope you enjoy the fun!

    • profile image

      Chris 

      5 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      On it's way!!

    • profile image

      dblycker 

      5 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      6 years ago from Michigan

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

    • profile image

      Michele 

      6 years ago

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

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      on it's way!

    • Sandy Gardner profile image

      Sandy Gardner 

      6 years ago from Grand Rapids, Michigan

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

      loveqltng@sbcglobal.net

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      On it's way!!

    • profile image

      Jeanmarie 

      6 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Sure thing!

    • profile image

      Kristi Van 

      6 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      6 years ago from Michigan

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

    • profile image

      Dottie Whittington 

      6 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      There ya go!! On it's way!

    • profile image

      KimberA 

      6 years ago

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

      Kimberlya916@gmail.com

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      It's on it's way!!

    • profile image

      Amber 

      6 years ago

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

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      On it's way!!

    • profile image

      TiffanyMead 

      6 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      @ Julie - It's been sent!!

      @ marilyn - On it's way!

      Hope you have fun with it!!

    • profile image

      marilyn 

      6 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Julie 

      6 years ago

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

      thanks

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      6 years ago from Michigan

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

    • profile image

      Oreo 

      6 years ago

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

      Thanks :),

      nadinef98@gmail.com

    • profile image

      Abby 

      6 years ago

      Please send a copy of your menu's. My 9 year old is having a mystery birthday party.

      Thanks,

      abbysink@yahoo.com

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      I hope you got it ok! Enjoy

    • profile image

      Edie Draper 

      6 years ago

      Could you please send a copy of your menu and clues? This is a perfect activity for the youth. drapers007@gmail.com

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      It's on it's way!! Enjoy

    • profile image

      Abby 

      6 years ago

      please send menu and clues to vdmabby@gmail.com

      Thanks

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      It's been sent.. enjoy!

    • profile image

      MaryDW 

      6 years ago

      I am planning an engagement party for my daughter. She gave a party to my husband for his 65th, now we are turning the tables.

      dmdcas@premieronline.net

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      On it's way!! Enjoy!

    • profile image

      Wieska 

      6 years ago

      Could you please send me a copy of your menu? Thank you!

      mwoverduin@shaw.ca

    • Sweetsusieg profile imageAUTHOR

      Sweetsusieg 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      It's on it's way!!

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