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Invited as Dinner

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Shenzi: Don't be silly. We'd love you to stick around for lunch.
Sora: Um? We didn't bring anything to eat.
Banzai: That's not gonna be a problem!
Goofy: Garwsh, Sora. I think we're the lunch!

An instance where a character thinks they are invited as a guest, but are actually intended as the main course. May include dialogue like "We'd like to have you for dinner" "Where's the dish?" (cue beat) "You are!" (Cue eating).

Tends to occur in Let's Meet the Meat/Carnivore Confusion situations, or else with monsters doing this to humans. Also known to overlap with Black Comedy Cannibalism and/or Stewed Alive. Compare with Inn of No Return and To Serve Man. Inverted examples, in which the unwitting prey invites the predator instead of the other way around, can occur with vampires who Must Be Invited.


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  • A Chips Ahoy commercial has an anthropomorphic cookie attending a birthday party.
    Cookie: So, uh, where's the cake?
    Girl: (giggles) We're not having cake. (Kids gather close)
    Cookie: ...Uh-oh.
  • In a M&M's TV ad, the two anthropomorphic candies are invited to a party, and find out too late that they're intended to be snacks.
    • Another recent one has the two at a supermarket, and Yellow comments on what he thinks is a guest list. Red informs him that it's a menu.

    Anime and Manga 

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • The humorous Thor story 'Elephants Galore' (written by AntaresTheEighthPleiade) consists of Odin and Frigga having the Jotun king and queen for dinner. Thor takes this literally. Frigga yells at him for considering cannibalism.

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island, the dinosaurs are invited to dinner by their friend Chomper, a T. rex. Chomper actually did mean the invitation to be a friendly get-together, but the main cast is understandably a little freaked out. A song ensues. ("Friends for dinner / Don't want to be friends for dinner...")
  • The Lion King (1994):
    Zazu: My, my, my. Oh, look at the sun! It's time to go!
    Shenzi: What's the hurry? We'd love you to stick around for dinner.
    Banzai: Yeah, we could have whatever's lion around!

    Films — Live-Action 

  • An Ivan Turgenev story "Bubnoff and the Devil" has the title character meeting Satan one night, and being invited as an honored guest to the Devil's home and even proposed as a match for the Devil's grand-daughter. The demons like him so much, they decide to eat him for dinner.
  • Galaxy of Fear has the Enzeen, friendly natives to newly-discovered D'vouran, eagerly inviting people to visit and live on their planet, feeding and boarding them without thought to cost. Their one town has a banner saying that they live to serve, and when one character asks an Enzeen if he's worried about the world becoming overrun by offworlders, the Enzeen says of course not, they could never have their fill! Though this all sounds like the lead-up to a reverse To Serve Man (rather than invading for food, they have the food come to them) it's a little more complicated. One by one visitors get swallowed by the ground, a living organism, and the Enzeen feed from it.
  • The novel Practical Demon Keeping.
  • In Kenji Miyazawa's short story The Restaurant of Many Orders, two game hunters get lost in a forest, but they suddenly find a restaurant in the middle of the woods, which lures them in. The hunters later find out that the restaurant's "many orders" is actually for them (i.e. orders to prepare themselves to be cooked). Here is a fan translation, if you're curious.
  • In The Silver Chair, one of The Chronicles of Narnia, the Lady of the Green Kirtle sends Eustace, Jill and Puddleglum to Harfang, the home of the so-called Gentle Giants, for their Autumn Feast. The children and Puddleglum find out that they are intended to be the Autumn Feast. Although the giants are a little perplexed on how to cook Puddleglum.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the "Dracula" episode of Gilligan's Island, Ginger, as Dracula's (Gilligan's) wife, tells a couple of weary travelers (the Howells) that "my husband would love to have you for dinner." Later, Gilligan says, "You're my type of people; you're type A, you're type O."
  • In the Goosebumps episode "The Girl Who Cried Monster", the parents invite the main character's teacher to dinner and when they find that he is indeed a monster, they promptly eat him.
  • An episode of The IT Crowd had Moss go to a German cannibal, mistaking the classified ad as being for a cooking class instead of for a volunteer meal. "I want to cook with you...Oh, you want to cook using me."
  • Played with in an episode of Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire. The team is sent to kill an alleged man-eating cyclops. They arrive, and the cyclops complains that nobody will socialize with him because everyone thinks he's a monster like his father. Then, once he has all his guests in the hot tub, a cage descends from the ceiling and he reveals that he's going to eat them after all... after having sex with them.
  • The Muppet Show Christmas Special had the Swedish Chef inviting a turkey (from Dorchest, MA), planning to kill and cook him. The turkey points out Big Bird, who actually was invited as a guest, and the Chef decides to cook him instead before being guilted by the Power of Friendship.
  • The Tales from the Darkside episode "Anniversary Dinner" features an elderly couple taking in a local teenage girl and cooking her in their hot tub as the main ingredient of a soup.
  • In The Twilight Zone (1959)'s episode "To Serve Man", friendly aliens come to Earth, stating that they are there with entirely positive intentions, as outlined in their book To Serve Man. But a human gets ahold of the book and finds, to his horror, that it's a cookbook!
  • In The Walking Dead (2010), the cast spend the second half of season 4 following signs to a place called Terminus only to discover the inhabitants are cannibals.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In one Herman panel, a tribal chieftain is cheerily telling a man in an Adventurer Outfit that he and his fellow tribesmen were trying to figure out how to spell the adventurer's name. The chieftain has one arm chummily draped over the adventurer's shoulder and a (presumably incomplete) restaurant menu discreetly tucked under the other.
  • In the comic strip Pogo:
    • Pogo, a possum, is invited to a dinner of "parsnip and possum pie."
    • There's a World Series arc that includes a team of ptarmigans who are accidentally cooked and eaten. They are though.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons module B2, Keep on the Borderlands. The hobgoblin lair has a sign outside: "Come in - we'd like to have you for dinner!". The player characters may assume that this is a cordial invitation to eat dinner with them. It isn't.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: Played completely serious in the back story of Clan Cappadocian. Their Antediluvian invited all the scrubs of the clan to a feast at Kaymakli, pretending to honor them—then locked them all inside. A very few eventually escaped.
  • The Villainous Glutton Macellarius clan from Vampire: The Requiem are known for their love of feasts and parties. Many of them are arranged to honor a specific individual. A handful of those are designed to end with that individual as the main course. Needless to say, under those circumstances, the guest of honor is not told this will be the case, right up until the moment every Macellarius at the party lunges for him.

  • In the musical Annie, the last verse of the song "We'd Like to Thank You, Herbert Hoover" invites President Hoover to join the starving residents of Hooverville for Christmas dinner.
    Come down and share some Christmas dinner
    Be sure to bring the missus too
    We got no turkey for our stuffing
    Why don't we stuff you!
  • This is part of the Cat's plan in HONK!, even having a whole song — "Play With Your Food" — devoted to the before actions.

    Video Games 
  • In Animal Crossing, Franklin gets an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner by the village each year. Franklin is a Turkey. He realizes this and hides from the villagers, though it's really only Mayor Tortimer who actually does seem to want to eat him.
  • Both Breath of Fire II and Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure both contain dungeons recreating "The Restaurant of Many Orders," under Literature. The Breath of Fire II one even has nearly the same name.
  • In Crusader Kings II, if a character with the "Cannibal" and "Lunatic" or "Possessed" traits invites your character to their manor for dinner, maaaybe you should politely decline.
  • In PSP remake of Disgaea 2, Axel is anonymously offered a job to provide entertainment at a "dinner hotel", which he all too eagerly accepts. He remains completely oblivious to the fact that he was meant to be eaten for the entire chapter, despite it being clearly stated to him on multiple occasions, and gets beaten up by his companions for it.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind uses this in one of its many in-game short stories. A thief is mistaken for "Lady Tressed" at a masquerade dinner party where everyone has weird names. Her partner is already there (asleep at the end of the table), being called "Esruoc Tsrif" by the guests. She eventually realizes that everyone is pronouncing their names backwards, but she waits until the vampires jump her to figure out who "Lady Tressed" is.
    • It's part of an actual quest in Skyrim—to complete The Taste Of Death, you (yes, you) must trick Brother Verulus into coming to a cannibal den for a meal. You then kill him and eat of him to successfully complete the quest and get the reward.
    • A quest added in the Anniversary Edition of the game actually has the name "Guests For Dinner". The player character is invited to a feast in a lavish mansion and handed a menu as they enter, and there are two ways it plays out. Either it's a normal menu and the party is ambushed... or the menu lists the other guests and the player character is a vampire. Either way, the first course consists of the other invitees.
  • Played for horror in Kingdom Hearts II when Sora, Donald and Goofy accidentally wind up in the grotto of the hyenas, who all attempt to eat them, as the trio are now animals. They nearly succeed with Sora... only to be interrupted by Scar's roar.
  • Landlord of the Woods, has you do tasks to help the various tenants, and at the end you are invited to dinner. The final scene is to add ingredients to the stew in order, thus providing a scrap of paper to complete the recipe that was shown.

  • The Hare's Bride: The hare calls out to the girl that the wedding guests are "hungry", baring his teeth on the last word before barging in to attack. Whether she is intended to be the main course at the wedding is ambiguous, but the implications at least are there.

    Western Animation 
  • Played with on an episode of Bob's Burgers. In the Thanksgiving episode “The Quirk-ducers,” Tina Belcher’s play The Quirky Turkey is about a group of turkeys who isolate a less desirable, “quirky” turkey and brag about how they were invited to dinner, only to discover that they are dinner.
  • Looney Tunes: At least two of Bugs Bunny's encounters with Wile E. Coyote started off with his being invited over to become the main course.
  • On an episode of Rocko's Modern Life, Heffer is told to bring home an elk for dinner as a Rite of Passage. (He is literally Raised by Wolves.) He goes to the Elk's Club (in this case, a bar specifically for elk) by donning a pair of twigs as "antlers." There he meets a female elk, and the two of them fall in love. He's under the impression that he simply has to bring an elk home; his family was expecting a dead elk ready to be cooked and eaten. When Heffer finds out the truth, he sticks up for his date. Although she breaks up with him anyway because he's not really an elk. Meanwhile, the pack finds a way to resolve the issue of Hef's rite of passage: soy-based elk substitute.
  • The Simpsons: In the Treehouse of Horror IV segment, "Bart Simpsons Dracula'', the family get invited to Mr. Burns manor in Pennsylvania for dinner. However Burns in this one is really a vampire and it becomes obvious he intends to feed on them no sooner then they reach the front door.
    Burn: (Upon the family arriving, over the intercom) Welcome, come in. (Whispered) Ah fresh victims for my ever-growing army of the undead.
    Smithers: Sir, you have to let go of the button.
    Burns: Oh, son of a bi... (The doors to the manor open)
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: In How I Spent My Vaction, Buster and Babs end up on a steamboat where the boss of such ask them to be entertainment for the dinner show in exchange for passage. They agree and a do a few bit skits before requesting to turn on the lights to properly see their audience. When they do, they find it full of predators, a few of which they've met along their river journey (the possums and the gator family) before it dawns on them that they're the dinner.
  • One episode of Wishfart has Puffin wish from Dez to be invited as a special guest to a dinner party. Said dinner party ends up being one held by the King of the Underworld, with Puffin being the main course.

    Real Life