I’ve known about mystery dinner’s for all of my adult life.  I remember celebrating my 16th (or maybe 17th) birthday with a mystery dinner.  So I’m always kinda surprised when I mention it and people stare blankly at me not having a clue what I’m talking about.  So I thought I would tell you.

Mystery dinners are FUN!  It’s a fabulous way to celebrate the holidays, or any occasion really.  With a little planning, they are a way to make any party a memorable event.

Basically, you create a menu of 16 items (you can really use any number…but 16 works well).  You then give all the items on the menu a “code word.”  To optimize the fun, you give drinks, dessert and even cutlery a code word.

Break the dinner down into four courses, with four items per course (16 items for the math challenged).

You will need to create the menu for your guests.  I used photoshop, but it can be done with Word and printed out on pretty paper.  At the top, have a place for the guest’s name and list all of the menu items (the code words).  At the bottom, create a space for each course so your guests can fill it in.  Here is a link to one that I made so you can see what I mean.

Once seated for dinner, instruct your guests to complete their menu using the code words.

This is where the fun starts!

Your guests won’t know what food item “Reindeer Poop” might be, or even “Snowball Soup.”  So it is very possible that a guest could choose for a course:  Fork, water, napkin and toothpick.  Or:  Main course, desert, wine and appetizer.  There is no way to know what you are getting at any particular course (unless they are married to the hostess and sneak a peak at the master menu!).

Don’t forget to have designated servers.  Our party that is coming up next weekend has a plan of 4 tables, with a server for each table (it’s a BIG party).  The server will collect menu’s and serve the courses to the guests.  A mystery dinner doesn’t have to be reserved for big parties either, small dinners can be made special by adding in a little mystery, too.

The menu is only limited by your imagination!  Take stock of your guests to be sure you don’t have anyone who might get upset at eating a casserole with their hands.  A mystery dinner can be done for just about any occasion using any assortment of code words.

Have fun making memories!