Throwing a special milestone birthday party for a friend or family member is an event that should be fun for both the planner, the celebrant, and all the guests. By coming up with a really special theme, you can make an important day that much more memorable and fun. Check out some of these ideas that can be tweaked and customized based on the milestone year.
- Throw a theme party based on the year the person was born or a significant decade in their life. This is a fun way to make everyone feel nostalgic, which is always enjoyable. Some ideas might include a hippie 60s party (perhaps Woodstock themed, if that’s something they’re into), a hair metal or Michael Jackson 80s party, a grungy 90s party, etc. Have guests come dressed the part and request that they bring something to use as a decoration that reminds them of that era. You’ll end up with some pretty funny decorations that will be really memorable. If you have access to old photos of the guest of honor, make them a photo album reminiscent of that time period of their life.
- Arrange for something really unique as an activity. For the 50s themed party, hire an antique car collector to bring some really sharp vintage cars for guests to pose in. Throw a tropical party and hire a hula instructor to attend and serve refreshing beverages. Throw a carnival themed party, maybe modeled after the classic boardwalk fairs from back in the day, and set up homemade versions of classic fair games. Rent a cotton candy machine and popcorn machine for quick snacks. Hire a fortune teller to read palms and tarot cards. Get a karaoke machine for the 90s music party, and hold a karaoke contest with unique party favors as prizes.
- If you’re the one organizing the party, you’re probably off the hook for a gift, but if you do want to give a gift, it might be a good idea to choose something that everyone at the party can enjoy. For example, order something edible like a really huge chocolate fruit arrangement and get it delivered during the party. Or for a 50s themed party, gift a fancy vintage-style cocktail bar set and break it out to make guests classic cocktails at the party.
- Arrange in advance for a grown-up scavenger hunt. Think of riddles, questions, and clues that will lead people around the house or around town looking for the next piece of the puzzle. It will probably make sense to have the themes and questions represent the celebrant, so this might be a good situation where you should get them in on the planning rather than the playing. For example, you could have a question like “where did John take his first girlfriend on a first date?” Guests might have to solve a riddle to figure out the answer, which might be “the movie theater on Main Street.” Guests then need to go to the movie theater to find the next clue. You can also keep the scavenger hunt limited to the house by placing clues around the house. For example, hang a framed picture somewhere in the house of the Main Street movie theater and tape the next clue to the back of the frame, or cut out the door to the movie theater picture and hide the next clue inside. Something like this will obviously take a lot of planning but be absolutely memorable.
- Find some sweet ways to reflect on the celebrant’s life. For a birthday party for an elderly person, it might be a nice gesture to do something like make a slideshow of major events in their life and have this playing on a loop throughout the party. Alternatively, you could retouch and enlarge special photos like their wedding picture, their graduation picture, etc. and hang these up all around the house as decorations. A more low-key game for this crowd might be a trivia game about lots of funny and odd events in the person’s life. If the guest of honor is the type who loves to tell stories, there’s probably lots of great material for a trivia quiz where everyone has a shot at knowing the answers.
Throwing a really special milestone birthday is all about figuring out what is really going to appeal to the guest of honor. Think about their interests, the major events in their life, or their definitive early years to come up with some really fun, special, and nostalgic party ideas that everyone will remember for years to come.
What’s the best birthday party you ever threw?