Plan a fun mystery dinner party menu that will keep guests guessing. At one of these parties, the fun is built around the food.
About Mystery Dinner Parties
A mystery dinner party can also be called a hidden or surprise dinner party. The surprise is not the party itself, but rather which foods the guests will be eating. Traditional dinner parties sometimes have a full menu on each place setting, or the cook offers up the courses without any special fanfare. At a mystery party, the dinner is a secret.
Often, the cook or host asks guests to place an order off a menu made up of silly names or clues about what each item is. Next, the host will serve the guests each item they chose. Most parties have several dinner courses; some allow guests to have utensils right away, while others need to order those items off the menu.
A variation on this is to turn the mystery dinner party menu into a dinner party game. List all of the foods you plan to serve on a sheet and ask guests to write down their predictions for the food. The person with the most foods or courses right wins a small prize.
This is a fun thing to do at a dinner party that does not otherwise have a theme. Alternatively, you can also choose foods that fit into a dinner party theme, such as luau foods or finger foods.
Mystery Dinner Party Menu Examples
To make things easy for your guests, have separate sheets made up for each course. Allow the guests to circle two to four items for each course. If you want, you can separate each course into their own categories so guests know they will be eating salad first and dessert last. On the other hand, you can let them order what they wish and eat it in whichever order it arrives, even if this means eating ice cream followed by a pasta salad.
Example 1: General Menu
Use names for each food that give a little hint about what they might be so guests can have fun guessing. A general menu with three courses may have the following items on the list:
- Rabbit's Food = Mixed green salad
- Sickly Slurps = Chicken noodle soup
- Puffy Jackets = Stuffed baked potatoes
- Red Wheels = Tomato slices with seasoning
- The Old Man's Foe = Fish
- Bones to Pick = Barbeque ribs
- Brown Cow = Chocolate ice cream
- Thimbles = Red raspberries
- Fat Chance = Pound cake
Instead of simply listing silly names for each mystery food, you can also make the menu fill-in-the-blank. For example, a drink list could include _____ and cookies (milk) or _____ battered (beer).
Example 2: Tropical Theme Menu
Combine the mystery dinner party with a themed celebration. Just because you're doing one doesn't mean you can't do the other at the same time. Try this tropical themed party menu:
- Sunshine = Fruit slices
- Sailing in Choppy Waters = Mango salsa with triangle tortilla chips
- Limbo Sticks = Kebabs (vegetable, meat or combo)
- Comic Relief = Glazed ham
- Seashells = Oysters on the half-shell
- Sand Castles = Crown pork roast
- Under the Umbrella = Pina colada
- Surfboards = Popsicles
Example 3: Birthday Menu
When planning a mystery dinner for a birthday, try to incorporate birthday party supplies, decorations and other celebratory items in the menu choices. Give these options a try:
- Party Favors = Appetizers of any kind
- Wrapped Gifts = Bacon wrapped turkey or steak
- Streamers and Balloons = Spaghetti with meatballs
- Birthday Candles = Green beans
- Party Hats = Ice cream cones
- Finger Licking Fun = Slice of birthday cake
Hosting the Mystery Dinner
Hosting the mystery dinner takes a little extra planning. You need to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you are finalizing the food preparations, so be sure to have plenty of games on hand to keep everyone busy. Also, you need to be sure that your guests understand how the mystery dinner works. This is easily done by standing at the front of the table and explaining it. However, if you think some people may object to this style of dinner, it may be best to give everyone a heads' up in the dinner party invitation wording.