I LOOOOVE Halloween, and every year we throw a big neighborhood Halloween party. This year I decided to mix it up a bit. We thought it would be fun to have an adult-only murder mystery party! I’ve never been to one, and I was really excited to try it because we have a fantastic group of friends, and I knew they would act their parts really well. I found a great online murder mystery game from the Dinner and a Murder website, called Murder at the Four Deuces. It’s set in a 1920’s speakeasy – perfect for a Halloween costume party! I had a lot of fun researching and coming up with ideas for 1920’s party decorations. The 1920’s is a great theme for a party any time of year, so I thought it would be fun to share these ideas with you all. Here are some ways to turn your house into a 1920’s speakeasy
Front & Side Door Entrance
Decorate your front door by “boarding” it up and posting a “Closed for Violation of Prohibition” sign. I didn’t take a picture of our front door, but here is the sign I made using examples I found on the internet. We used some scrap wood we had laying around the house and leaned it up against the door in a criss-cross pattern to create a boarded-up look.
Many speakeasies had a side or secret entrance and you had to know a special password to get in. We used our garage side door entrance, ad printed out a 1920’s era peephole that we pasted on the outside of the door.
This was a very easy and inexpensive decorating idea that really set a great mood for the party. We used cardboard boxes and printed out fun signs that we pasted on the boxes to look like liquor crates had been shipped to the speakeasy. We filled the boxes with shredded paper (those shredded bills finally came in handy!) and some extra liquor bottles we had on hand. To use our free printable labels, click here.
OK, not everyone thinks about decorating their bathroom for a party, but it’s a room that everyone is guaranteed to visit during the party at some point. So, why not dress it up? I thought it would be fun to put some items out on a tray that the guests could take with them as part of their costume. I set out some fake candy cigarettes, strings of pearls, fake mustaches, and feather boas. Lots of people commented about how much they loved the decorations in the bathroom – so there you go, decorate the bathroom, people! It will be noticed.
People didn’t come to the speakeasies to play cards, folks…they came to drink! Remember, it was illegal back then in the good ole US of A. So, it’s important that you have a fully stocked bar for your 1920’s party. Some speakeasies had signature drinks, so I came up with several “house” drinks from the era and made sure I had all the ingredients and condiments on hand. I printed up a drink menu with recipes that the guests could use to make our house cocktails. I think folks may have been a little nervous to play their parts for the murder mystery and needed some “liquid courage,” because we had a lot of alcohol consumed within the first hour!! This party marked the inaugural use of our new dining room buffet, too.
Setting the Mood
How do you make your house feel like a speakeasy? Here are a few tips.
- Dim the lights – a speakeasy was a dark, smoky lounge. To set the right mood, you’ll need to bust out the candles, and turn off the lights.
- Signed photographs – bars/lounges often have celebrities visit, and the 1920’s speakeasies were no exception. I printed out some pictures of famous gangsters from the 1920’s and signed them as if they had visited our “juice joint.”
- Music – this is key! I downloaded music from the 1920’s and it played all night long. Music goes such a long way when setting the mood for a party.
- Seating areas – bars and lounges have lots of small seating areas surrounding cocktail tables. I used a small round side table from our living room, and covered it with a white tablecloth (I think it was actually an old sheet) and a black sheer spiderweb fabric I bought at the fabric store. With a little votive candle in the middle, and dim lighting, it felt just like we were in a classy speakeasy.
Playing off the Murder Mystery Theme
Because it was a 1920’s Halloween murder mystery party, I couldn’t resist adding some spooky flair to the party. I put a skeleton on a chair in the corner of our dining/bar room with fake cobwebs draped over him, and a plastic knife sticking out of his chest. I also added some fake cobwebs to the chandelier above the dining room table (where all the food was). These easy additions made it feel like we were in a haunted speakeasy, which was just the look I was going for.
And check out the panne cotta brain-shaped dessert I made with raspberry “blood” sauce oozing from it. You can buy the plastic jello brain mold on Amazon. I think I got mine from Oriental Trading. I LOVE the way it turned out, and it tasted great, too.
Well, I hope that gives you some ideas for your own roaring 1920’s Halloween party, or for that matter any 1920’s party occasion. It’s a fabulous party theme!!