Murder Mystery Thanksgiving Game

Thanksgiving is the holiday to gather around with those loudmouth, picky eating relatives who seem to cause more anxiety than not; yet, we’re still told to be thankful for them. What if this Thanksgiving was to be a little different though? What if that one relative—you know that one who comes early to snag all the appetizers, stuffs himself full during dinner, and is the first to pack up the leftovers to take home—Uncle Stuffs-Himself-Full, simply doesn’t show up? What if he was murdered? Which of the other stinky relatives sitting around the table would be the culprit? What weapon did they use? In which room of the house was the crime committed?

The Suspects:

  • Most suspicious is that wife of Uncle Stuffs-Himself-Full, Aunt Nags-A-Lot. She’s always nagging him for the latest fashions and accessories. She argues, with batting eyelashes, that she’ll leave him if he doesn’t buy her the latest trends.
  • Possibly, their daughter, Cousin Picky-Eater-Vegetarian, is the culprit. She never did like hearing her parents argue. Maybe to keep the peace she finally did away with her father.
  • Of course, then there is that other relative, Uncle Has-To-Be-In-Control, who may have done it. There was that rumor last week that Uncle Has-To-Be-In-Control and Uncle Stuffs-Himself-Full had a huge argument over what time Thanksgiving dinner would be served.
  • Don’t be fooled by Cousin Quiet-As-A-Mouse though. He may have grown up to be quiet under Uncle Has-To-Be-In-Control’s reign, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a hidden temper.
  • Or his brother, Cousin Pulls-Too-Many-Pranks, could also be responsible. He always tries to keep conversations light, but he would do anything that Uncle Has-To-Be-In-Control told him to do.
  • Quite possibly, it could be Grandma Cheek-Pincher. She always did play favorites and someone once mentioned that Uncle Stuffs-Himself-Full was her least favorite.
  • Great Grandma Smells-Of-Mothballs was always old fashioned. She’s the kind to always do everything by the books and still believes that women should be wearing skirts that are ankle length and that men should be bread-winners.
  • Don’t forget about Father Negative-Neil. He loves his family, but he knows all too well how much of a handful they can be, especially when they’re all together.
  • Then again, there’s always Mother Bites-Her-Tongue. She loathes being around Father Negative-Neil’s family for more than a few minutes. Who knows when she’ll finally explode.
  • Last, but not least, there’s Sister Queen-Of-Selfies. She has hundreds of followers on every social media site you can think of and loves nothing more than to take photos of herself with the dog filter.  

The Weapons:

  • Turkey carving knife
  • Poisoned wine
  • Table candlestick
  • Autumn scarf
  • Giant salad fork
  • Oven

The Rooms:

  • Kitchen
  • Dining Room
  • Family Room
  • Living Room
  • Backyard
  • Bathroom
  • Bedroom

If your family gatherings have characters such as these, you may have thought about strangling your own relatives. This year, try to start a new tradition of turning Thanksgiving dinner into a murder mystery game.

Set up: Make one set of cards each for the rooms, the weapons, and the suspects. Without looking, have someone draw one card from each set, place them in a separate envelope, and set it aside. These cards contain the evidence. Distribute the rest of the cards evenly among the players.

(Note: For extra fun, try assigning each player a character to be. If there are more players than relatives, make them up!)

Instructions: Take turns going around the table asking questions. On a player’s turn, they may ask any other player about a room, a suspect, and a weapon. If the player that is asked has any one of those cards, they must show the asking player ONE of the cards. If they asked player has none, then they just say so. The game continues until one player thinks that they have the answers. When this happens, they are to say their findings out loud on their next turn and read the envelope containing the evidence to themselves. If what they said matches the cards, then that player wins. If it does not match, then that player is out of game but may continue to answer questions when asked.


If I were an inanimate object, I'd be a HB pencil because I leave my mark wherever I go.