How to Party Like Gatsby

the great Gatsby Leonardo di Capri cheers champagne

The New Roaring 20s are just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate 100 years of this transformational era than to throw a Roaring Twenties party? Murder mystery parties are a great excuse to get all “dolled” up and dance the Charleston, and we have plenty of 20s Murder mystery games to get you and your guests sleuthing prohibition-style!

We have A Flapper Murder at the 1920s Speakeasy, A Gangster Murder at the 1920s Speakeasy and many others, but our nod to The Great Gatsby includes The Sly Mr. Foxx and its sequel, The Sly Mrs Foxx (with an all-female suspect list), and they are our top recommendations to help you gather your friends, dress up and party like Gatsby! 

But, just how does one party like Gatsby? It’s a lot more than just throwing on a Flapper dress and cranking Sing Sing Sing (although you should definitely do that too). In order to throw a party like Gatsby, you first have to THINK like Gatsby. 

James Gatz’ motivation for everything he did was Daisy. He bought the mansion across the bay from where she lived and spent his huge (maybe smuggling?) profits doing nothing but trying to entice her to come by so he could impress her with his wealth and ultimately, he hoped, win back her heart. The grandeur of his mansion, his life and even his name – Gatsby – was designed to be so over-the-top that she couldn’t help but hear about him. Remember, she had to hear the laughter and music across the bay, so it all had to be loud and boisterous!


Art Deco frame with the word "music" insdie

Music Music Music

We have a Roaring 1920s ElectroSwing Spotify playlist designed especially for your raucous twenties party. While it’s not authentic to the 20s era, like the modern movie we picked songs that will sound as lively to modern ears as the big band music did to those in the 20s. It’s called ElectroSwing, and it’s a fantastic choice to up the vibe at your party and get your modern guests tapping their toes to the beat the way those in the 20s would have with the music of the time.

How To Do It

Make sure it’s going when your guests arrive. Crank it as loud as your neighbours will allow (bonus points for inviting your neighbours so they won’t complain!). Your guests will hear the music as they arrive and get in the spirit.

How Gatsby Would Do It

“By seven o’clock the orchestra has arrived, no thin five-piece affair, but a whole pitful of oboes and trombones and saxophones and viols and cornets and piccolos, and low and high drums.”

Hire a live band and make sure there’s plenty of room for people to dance.

Art Deco Border with the word Champagne in the middle


It was the era of prohibition, but Gatsby’s guests never would have known it, with the amount of booze being passed around. If champagne isn’t in your budget, go for sparkling wine, Prosecco or even sparkling water, if your guests are more the sort who would have supported prohibition rather than rebelled against it.

How To Do It

Designate someone (perhaps even you) to  make a spectacle of a champagne tower. This is a great visual for your guests to enjoy (and photograph and video!) and will put everyone in the 20s mood. Make sure no one’s glass is ever empty. The prohibition-era champagne glasses are iconic, and can be purchased from a few places, like here on Amazon.

How Gatsby Would Do It

“The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other’s names.”

“…champagne was served in glasses bigger than finger-bowls.”

Hire a bartender for the evening to do all of the above for you so you can enjoy the party!



Gatsby was all about excess and having the finest, most cutting edge things, from yellow Rolls Royce to his oranges and lemons from a fruiterer in New York (and the juicer that could juice 200 oranges in a half hour!) Gatsby’s food was a spectacle in and of itself. “Glistening hors d’oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against a sea of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold.” Yup, now I’m really hungry.

How To Do It

First, decide how you want your guests to eat. Our murder mystery party format is designed as a cocktail party-style format, so that your guests are up and mingling, questioning each other one-on-one. A cocktail party calls for hors d’oeuvres – delicate finger foods that wow in a single bite – or maybe two at most.

Do you want a sit-down affair? Request our format that brings any of our mysteries down around a table for three courses of murder mystery investigation. This is where you can roll out three courses of your finest culinary creations (tried and tested – this is not the time for attempting a new dish!). 

Don’t want to do the cooking yourself? Services like Uber Eats give us the chance to have extremely high quality food delivered to our doors relatively easily. Failing that, call your favourite local restaurant and see if they have a service.

How Gatsby Would Do It

“At least once a fortnight a corpse of caterers came down…”

Yup, hire a caterer. We recommend a local restaurant for this one, preferably one that uses locally sourced, incredibly fresh ingredients. Another option for this is a private chef. Private chefs are easily hired for the evening, and will often stick around to do the serving, and explain the dishes as they are served, making this not only a fantastic 20s party, but also one worthy of Gatsby’s most honoured guests.



Lighting is crucial to a party, but in Gatsby’s case, he extended his lighting to the whole grounds. This is so easy nowadays with the availability of small strings of lights. These can go around your house or venue, and even extend outside for people to see as they arrive.

Also, one of the best ways I have ever found to make an unforgettable impact is to have spotlights. Guests see them as they approach the venue and everyone who isn’t invited wonders what is going on that is so special!

How To Do It

These lights can be rented from most party places, or smaller ones purchase with less range (find source of these). Set them up outside your house or venue to create an approach no one will ever forget! 

How Gatsby Would Do It

“At least once a fortnight a corps of caterers came down with several hundred feet of canvas and enough colored lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby’s enormous garden.”

“The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun…”

Gatsby’s hired help would come in to turn his mansion and grounds into a glowing paradise. These set ups can be done by qualified party companies – for a price!



Okay, there are no actual references in The Great Gatsby to say that Gatsby had fireworks, but in the modern movie, they were included – and why not! Surely, Gatsby’s fireworks were so grand they could be seen from across the water. This sort of visual will add an air of decadence to your party!

How To Do It

If fireworks are allowed in your area, then it’s pretty simple, although you will need someone who knows how to set them off! Safety first, always! But you don’t have to have actual fireworks for this effect. Nowadays there are plenty of alternatives that can give the same effect, like THESE. 

Alternatively, set up a screen and projector and run video, inside and out, all night long of fireworks. Easy!

How Gatsby Would Do It

Hire a pyrotechnics person to put on an entire fireworks show for you and your guests! 

Art Deco border with the word dress inside


Gatsby parties brought in people dressed ‘to the nines’. Gatsby’s Mansion was grand, but those who came from far and wide to his parties were largely from well-to-do families in the area. The dress of those attending a Gatsby party would have been much higher class than in – say – a speakeasy. 

How To Do It

Set a dress code for your guests of, at the very least, 20s Flapper/Gangster or high-class 20s dress. We have some fantastic ideas on our Pinterest boards to help spark your guests’ creativity!

How Gatsby Would Do It

As Jordan and Nick circulate a party, they speak with a young woman about her first time at Gatsby’s. “When I was here last I tore my gown on a chair, and he asked me my name and address — inside of a week I got a package from Croirier’s with a new evening gown in it.”

When Daisy finally arrived at Gatsby’s Mansion, Gatsby was ready for her. He had closets full of clothes, and specifically focused on how he is send so many clothing items from overseas. Surprise your guests with outfits for each of them – in their exact size, of course! Bonus points for having a hair and make-up crew on site when they arrive, to make sure your gals the perfect smoky eye and finger wave. 

And Finally…

Remember, the ultimate way to Party Like Gatsby is about extremes, and about surprising and delighting your guests. Remember, Gatsby’s entire motivation was to impress everyone in Daisy’s circle so much that she couldn’t help but walk through his door. To recreate this for your party, aim to dazzle and delight your guests and you’ll surely create an unforgettable party that would impress even The Great Gatsby.