Turning 40 is a special milestone that should be celebrated by an all-out birthday bash–unless the birthday guest of honor would rather have a quiet, intimate gathering. Whichever he chooses, make sure the party is fun for everyone by planning some special activities. In most cases, it’s a good idea to forgo the tacky, “over-the-hill” theme. Instead, create a party that truly celebrates the life of the guest of honor in a classy manner.
It’s a misconception that all 40th birthday parties have to be about roasting the birthday guest of honor. Turning 40 is difficult enough without your friends and family constantly teasing you about how old you are now. Instead of reminding the guest of honor that it’s all “downhill” from here, choose activities that celebrate how far she’s come and everything positive that she has to look forward to.
Consider the preferences of the guest of honor before you plan the activities. Some people enjoy a loud, raucous party, complete with hilarious games. Others might prefer a more subdued gathering, perhaps with some individual sharing or quiet conversations, instead of group games.
Think about what types of activities the birthday guest of honor likes as well. For example, if you are going to play some games, note that many adults prefer activities that have an element of competition or strategy. On the other hand, some adults might prefer games that involve little skill and lots of luck. If you are not going to play games, choose activities that the birthday guest of honor will be comfortable participating in. A group sharing activity, where everyone shares a fond memory of the now 40-year-old, may be preferable to some, but uncomfortably intimate for others. Or, the guest of honor might not want to have home party activities at all. He might rather go to a specific venue and enjoy a performance of some kind, such as a live musical or a baseball game.
Play a fun guessing game by asking each person to bring in a photo of themselves from 40 years ago. If the guests are younger than 40, ask them to bring in a baby photo. Let the birthday guest of honor see how many he can guess correctly. Or, rent a karaoke machine, slip in a CD of songs from the 1960s and 1970s and have a singing contest. Large groups can have fun doing a scavenger hunt. Divide the guests into teams and send each team off with a digital camera (for items that can’t be collected), and a list of items. For added fun, choose “old people” items for the list, such as a toupee, a bottle of antacid, bifocals, a hearing aid and other similar objects.
Create a theme for your party, and ask the guests to adhere to the theme. Certain themes lend themselves well to certain activities. A casino night theme, for example, will feature gambling and games of chance. Give each guest $40 in chips to get started with, and let them trade their chips for prizes at the end of the game. Or, choose a theme from the decade in which the birthday guest of honor was born. A 1970s party, for example, could feature a dancing contest set to disco music, and a costume contest as well. Roasts are always popular at 40th birthday parties, but make sure the guest of honor won’t be offended.
- Over the Hill image by Kathy D from Fotolia.com