50th Birthday Surprise Party Ideas


Ease the pain of turning 50 by throwing a loved one a surprise party. While planning a surprise birthday party is a great deal of fun, making sure it remains a surprise for the birthday person can be a bit tricky. Keep the birthday person in the dark by doing the party planning away from home and by not leaving any evidence laying about.


If the party is for your spouse or partner than it probably will be pretty easy for you to know who to invite. But if it’s for a friend, then make sure to talk to his or her partner, friend, co-worker, to make sure you don’t leave anyone off the list. If the birthday person has children or teenagers, keep the children in the dark about the party, until the day of. As much as they swear they can keep a secret, it most likely will slip out.

Choosing a Theme

Pick a theme that has some relevance to the person turning 50. For instance, plan the party using the year she was born as the theme. Play music from that year. Plan activities and games from the time period. You may also want somehow to incorporate the excuse you gave the birthday person into the theme of the party. For instance, if you told her you were taking her out to a special birthday dinner, you should serve dinner at the party. If you were going to get your nails done, hire a manicurist to give party guests manicures and pedicures.

Selecting a Location

If you don’t live with the birthday person, throw the party at your home. That way you can decorate without having to get her out of the house. Instruct the guests to arrive 30 minutes to an hour before the party so they can hide. Ask them to carpool and to park several blocks away from your house so that the birthday person does not get suspicious. You can also arrange to meet the birthday person at a restaurant and hold the surprise party there. Be sure to let the restaurant staff know you’re throwing a surprise party.

A Time for Memories

Set up a table with name tags on it. Have all the guests put on name tags – it sounds cheesy, but it’s a great way for guests to learn each other’s names and also to recognize people that they’ve been hearing about. “Oh, you’re Bob! Suzie talks about you all the time at work.” Definitely have a memory book or our favorite, Flatterbox, available for guests to write down a special memory of their friend, a good wish or a dedication.  With a Flatterbox, each guest writes a note on a small note card and then the Birthday girl can keep all the special sentiments in the clear gift box. It’s a wonderful momento from the party.

You can also turn the party into an open-mike event, where any guest who wants to may say a few words about the birthday girl. Kick things off yourself by sharing a special memory and by explaining why you wanted to give her a surprise party. Hire a photographer or recruit a teenager to go around snapping pictures of all the guests. After the party, make a photo album to give your friend to remember her party by.

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