If you’re looking for a spook-tacular idea for a Halloween event this year, Murder Mystery parties are a guaranteed hit! They're a fun way to enjoy an evening with friends, have some drinks, put on your sleuth hat, and get to the bottom of a case! Specifically, the case of why your writing sucks so damn bad!

Step 1: Invite Your Guests

The first step to any great murder mystery party is to invite your guests! As with any soiree, the invitations should allude to the theme of the evening. For this night, you could write your invitations on a spreadsheet from work, or some unpaid medical bills. For an even greater effect, the invitations could be completely blank! Blank like the pages you stare at, desperately praying for inspiration, while silently screaming into the void that your father-in-law was right, that you’ll definitely “never make it as a writer.”

Step 2: Decorate Accordingly

Remember, this evening is about the murder of your creative spirit, the death of a muse, the extinguishing of that candle that used to flicker so vibrantly inside your soul. Whoa, that’s all pretty fucking depressing, right? The décor should be equally as sad! In a doorway, hang a banner with a recent rejection from an editor. Pick a particularly harsh one to so your guests don’t forget what a gruesome crime they're solving!

Step 3: Plan a Menu

This part takes creativity, which if you remember, is quite deceased. To showcase just how tragically uninspired you are, order a few plain pizzas—no toppings, no ranch, no nothing. Order it the day before, serve it cold.

Step 4: Pass Out Character Cards

When all the guests have arrived, you’re ready to pass out your character cards. Your boss will play himself, your wife will play herself, your college English professor will play herself, your wife’s male physical trainer will play himself, and your concerned dermatologist will play himself. Okay so I guess these aren’t character cards so much as name tags, which is perfect because that total lack of creativity is right on theme!

Step 5: Have an Existential Breakdown

As every is standing around not eating the day-old pizza you purchased for the party, realize that it isn't one thing that killed your creativity, but lots of things. In fact, everything in your adult life has contributed to a slow, death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts murder of your creative spark. Begin to question it all. Maybe those poems you had published a few years ago were a fluke. And all this “writing” you do in your spare time is just a waste, hopelessly spinning your wheels in a giant mud-puddle of stupid pipe dreams, and at this point, you’ve mostly just become recklessly irresponsible to yourself and your family in pursuit of those silly fantasies.

Slink off into the corner of the room and cry, just a little. Consider burning your Moleskin and deleting all the saved drafts from your MacBook. As you use your sleeve to wipe the snot off your face, that’s when it hits you! In an “aha!” moment like Sherlock Holmes himself, you've cracked the case! Your creativity wasn’t murdered! It never even existed to begin with!

Step 6: Thank Everyone For Coming

As your guests leave, thank everyone for coming, especially your boss, who keeps you gainfully employed. Once you clean up the house, throw out all your writing materials and be grateful to have beautiful kids and a loving wife!

Then you can start planning your next murder mystery party: Who Killed Your Wife's Sex Drive?!