Six 1920s Murder Mystery Party Games

A 1920s murder mystery is by far the most popular murder mystery party theme – that’s why we’ve created a complete guide to make your party number 1!

Dive into an era of social and artistic splendor, with wild new trends in fashion and lifestyle. And, most notoriously, a time of prohibition, mobsters, and glitzy speakeasies!

A roaring ‘20s party is right for you if:

  • Love dressing up
  • Are fascinated by gangster and flapper characters and agree that it’s super fun to play a mobster or a jazz star!
  • Enjoy a naughty slice of history pie

This article takes you through the 4 most important steps for hosting (ahem) a killer 1920s murder mystery. Turn your party into a night to remember with heaps of information and ideas, including:

Food, drinks, catering! Decadent dishes and devilish delights!

The following food ideas are an ideal match for a 1920s murder mystery party.

Note: We also wrote a whole article about murder mystery party menus. Don’t ruin your party by choosing the wrong food!

Here’s the perfect pairing of food and drinks to ace that 1920s feel for your murder mystery party menu.

1920s Drinks ideas:

  • Champagne or champagne cocktails (or both!)
  • Mint julep
  • Absinthe
  • Gin fizz
  • Iced tea

’20s Buffet ideas:

  • Filled eggs (use caviar, if really want to get decadent!)
  • Stuffed tomatoes
  • Shrimped cocktail
  • Cheese platter with olives
  • Sausages, salami, crackers, relish, butter, and cheese
  • Baguettes with goat cheese and honey
  • Ceasar salad (this was actually invented in the 1920s)
  • Caprese skewers
  • Smoked Salmon canapes
  • Marinaded artichoke hearts

Jazz Age sit down meal ideas:

  • Roast beef tenderloin
  • Lobster mac ‘n cheese
  • Feta romaine salad
  • Creamy soup

Roaring Twenties dessert ideas:

  • Lemon sponge cake
  • Yorkshire pudding
  • Ice-cream snowballs
  • Raspberry ice with whipped cream

You’ve probably noticed that a lot of these food suggestions are not that different from a modern menu. So, how do you give your meal that authentic ‘20s spin? My favorite move is:

Create your own 1920s labels for wine, beer, and juice bottles. Serve sauces, olive oils, salad dressings, and relishes in jars and bottles and paste glitzy labels on those too! But the MAGIC touch is this: make the labels obvious fakes – during Prohibition, alcohol was banned. So label your booze as “olive oil” or “juice”!

Decoration ideas. A feast for the eyes!

How do you transform your murder mystery party venue into a 1920s setting? Try the following neat ideas:

  • Black and gold banting and balloons and drapes, glitter everywhere, big black and white feathers in martini glasses.
  • A touch of class: try sparkling clear wine glasses, crisp white tablecloths, flowing white drapes, fake plastic pearls and diamonds scattered across every surface.
  • Wrap the wine bottles in gold foil or wrapping paper, hang glitzy beads from the table of glasses and tumblers and vases.
  • Hang, drape, and cascade white cloth all over the show – then change the entire vibe by replacing your light bulbs with colored bulbs: try purple or blue! The white cloth will be magically, moodily transformed.
  • Even some simple paper garlands can radically transform your space!
  • Watch The Great Gatsby and shamelessly copy the set decorations.

Costume ideas. Slip into character with the perfect outfit!

We once co-hosted a murder mystery party with a friend who owns a 1920s costume store. We went all out; everyone was perfectly dressed from head to toe. What’s that? Two days of stubble? Unacceptable! Clean-shaven only! We even threw our polypropylene feather boas back into the cupboard (the cheap kind you can nab online). Instead, we used real ones because polypropylene wasn’t used until decades later.

The attention to detail and effort we put in made this an unforgettable experience.

But the next time we were playing in small group, somewhat impromptu, and we didn’t take the costumes seriously at all – back to the old polypropylene feather boas!

We learned you can still look good by paying attention to a few small details.

Here are some top prop tips and costume suggestions to transport yourself back into the 1920s:

  • The classic feather boa
  • A flapper headband
  • A glitzy flapper dress
  • A 1920s gangster/mafioso hat: a fedora or a trilby
  • Suspenders, bowtie, and beret
  • A striped jacket
  • A vest
  • Fake (or real!) cigars
  • Playing the bouncer? Try a tattoo sleeve
  • You don’t have to be a glamorous socialite: try dressing like Bonnie and Clyde, or don an Amelia Earhart outfit, or even a raunchy saloon guy or gal getup!
  • Toy guns
  • Money bag prop stuffed full of fake cash

1920s murder mystery party music ideas. Bop along to these great beats!

The Roaring Twenties aren’t just known for fashion trends – the Jazz Age also featured some iconic music styles, including:

  • Jazz (Louis Armstrong and Duke Wellington)
  • Blues (Mamie Smith and Ma Rainey)
  • Big band style performances of swing, foxtrot, ragtime, and Charleston tunes

Don’t have time to craft a killer playlist? We’ve got you covered! Simply throw on one the following Spotify playlists. Be sure to keep the music low—everyone should be able to easily hear each other and hold a conversation over your 1920s beats.

13 top tips for hosting an unforgettable 1920s Murder Mystery

Try any or all these pro tips to make your party a night to remember:

  1. Avoid: T-shirts, tops, or other clothing with large, branded logos.
  2. Avoid: Playing modern pop music. Instead, try one of our suggested Roaring 20s playlists (see above)!
  3. Keep the use of mobile phones, headphones, and any other “high-tech” device to a minimum. Believe it or not, for most of human history, these things existed only as crazy sci-fi ideas!
  4. Get in the mood by watching a 1920s movie like The Great Gatsby.
  5. Serve a classy welcome drink as your guests enter the door: highballs, champagne, a cocktail, perhaps?
  6. Why not serve your drinks in old-fashioned glasses?
  7. Create and paste your own 1920s-style labels over all your drinks bottles.
  8. While you wait for your entire guest list to arrive, have some 1920s board games Parchesi and Backgammon ready for your first arrivals to play!
  9. Project a 1920s black and white silent movie on the wall.
  10. Run a costume contest and award prizes to your best-dressed guests!
  11. Have a 1920s dance contest: challenge your guests to show their foxtrot, Charleston, or swing moves—or to entertain everyone with a wild freestyle!
  12. Have a “Flapper Makeup Booth” where folks can touch up or modify their look.
  13. Set up a “Selfie Booth” with an ideal backdrop where your guests can snap pics of their stunning outfits. Ideally, have a polaroid camera, string lines, and glitter-covered pegs to hang up your infamous mugshots!

Six 1920s murder mystery party game recommendations

Don’t have time to scour the internet? Simply choose one of our favorites.

Please note: We love Murder Mystery Parties. Besides giving advice we also write and sell games. In this article we feature our own games from our company Mysterando as well as games from different companies.

Gatsby’s Last Secret
New York City, 1925—smack bang in the middle of the Roaring Twenties! In the smoky interior of the legendary Flying Flapper speakeasy, it’s another Jazz Age wild weekend. Glittering guests dance to the riveting house band and business at the bar is booming—thanks to mafia connections and the chief of police turning a blind eye! Midnight comes and goes. But then a piercing scream freezes the dancers. Frank Fitz, the infamous owner, has just been found dead!

Notes: The host can play along.
5-9From $19.90
Murder at the Juice Joint
Prohibition and organized crime can’t stop The Juice Joint! The owner, Rosie Marie, plans a celebration bash – and you’re invited! What you don’t know is that someone on the guest list is on somebody else’s hit list. With a rambunctious cast of characters, this will be a night to remember!

Notes: Virtual version available.

From $55.00
1928: Bohemian Berlin
Did you know that Berlin was in constant flux, dancing on a seething volcano of freedom between two wars? On the surface, life was vibrant and luxurious—but bribery, dark secrets, and tension lurked beneath.11-20From $39,90
A Speakeasy Murder
Fat Stan’s Speakeasy is packed full of the city’s biggest names tonight. Al’s band belts out the hottest numbers and barman Tony can’t serve Stan’s Specials fast enough! But fate interrupts and poor Scabface Martins is gunned down by a mysterious intruder.

Note: This game is a more complex than others by this company.
15-32From $49.99
Tracy Gang 1920s
Aiden Abet and his Tracy Gang run a successful scam – and made a cool million dollars. But now his victims are hot on his trail! When the hidden money surfaces at the Tracy Speakeasy, murder soon follows.

Notes: Guests don’t have to dress as their character – you only assign characters on game night. So if someone can’t make it (or if extra people join you) the game still runs smoothly!

From $55.00
A Flapper Murder at the 1920’s Speakeasy
It’s the Roaring 20’s! The Jazz Age is here, the war is over, and flappers rub shoulders with gangsters in the Half Moon Club. But when a flapper is shot to death right outside the club’s front door, everyone helps catch the killer before the police can shut down their favorite watering hole!

Note: The interactive “Mingle Mystery” format keeps guests on their toes (quite literally).
6-18From $39.99

Perhaps you’ve decided the 1920s isn’t your thing after all. Why not try something else, like one of the games on our mega list: 10 classic, 10 fun, and 10 expert games?

Disclaimer: We haven’t played every single one of the games discussed. However, after being murder mystery party fans, players, and hosts for many years, we’ve gathered heaps of helpful advice and tips on how to play. In writing this article, we’ve conducted internet research to put together our top choices. We use affiliate links to Amazon, etc. This is how we help fund the site.