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50th Birthday Party Ideas

Posted By Laurie Grant


Throw a fabulous 50th birthday party that people will talk about for the next half a century!  Get inspired with some of these Fab 50th birthday party ideas that are perfectly suited for your favorite Quinquagenarian (pronounced kwing-kwuh-juhnair-ee-uhn), more affectionately known as a Quintastic!

Hawaii Five-O

Most 50-year-olds remember the original Hawaii Five-O television series where the handsome McGarrett often tells his sidekick to “Book ’em, Danno”.   Add a twist to the traditional luau theme and recreate a tropical Hawaiian setting.  Invite your guests to dress as their favorite Hawaii Five-O character.  Welcome each guest with a traditional lei and offer them a Blue Hawaiian made with blue curacao, rum, pineapple juice and sweet-and-sour mix.  Shake it all up with ice in a martini shaker, pour into a martini glass and decorate it with a colorful drink umbrella.  Serve your younger guests a non-alcoholic version by mixing blue Koolaid with fruit juices.  Make the cake in the shape of a Hawaiian shirt and decorate it with vibrantly-colored flowers.  For a real ice-breaker, play a detective game during the party.  Secretly pre-assign a “bad guy or gal” and hide hints around the area to help solve the mystery.  After this much fun, being 50 will feel fantastic!

Who am I?

Here’s a fun idea that is sure to get everyone interacting with each other.  Write the names of famous people (or infamous — the funnier the better!) on note cards.  Choose well-known people who are relevant to your guest of honor’s era.  When each guest arrives, pin a note card to the back of their clothing.  Have them circulate the room while asking everyone questions about who they “are”.  Only YES or NO answers should be allowed.  Provide some accessories that are relevant to your famous people so that when the identities are discovered they can dress more like them and take photos.  Make a Hollywood style backdrop on a large wall for photo ops.  Print the photos so that each guest can take home a memento of the best 50th birthday party ever!


Disco Party

Bring back the music and the fashion of the 1970s.  The gals wore low-cut pants and high-cut boots while the guys wore bell bottoms and platform shoes.  Invite your guests to dress in their favorite 70’s attire and spend the evening doing the Hustle to disco music under a spinning disco ball.    Welcome each guest with a set of beads, a peace sign necklace or a head band.    Everyone is sure to boogie all night long!

50 Reasons

If you’re looking for a sentimental 50th birthday idea ask each friend and family member to write down several reasons why they love your guest of honor.   Better yet, send a blank sheet of paper or card along with the invitation.  Complete enough pages to create a 50-page book or bind together 50 individual cards.   For decorations, use photos of the birthday person through the years (childhood, high school, wedding, birthday parties from years past).  Everyone will enjoy the display.  Have some tissues on hand for the waterworks that are sure to erupt when you present this touching gift.

Over the Hill

First,  make sure that your guest of honor has a good sense of humor and will enjoy an “Over the Hill” party.  Decorations for this type of party are readily available at party supply stores, and most people have black clothing they can wear for the “somber” event.  Ask guests to bring “Over the Hill” gag gifts such as laxatives, a cane, reading glasses or adult diapers.   Party supply stores also carry an assortment of these types of gag gifts.  Continue the theme by making an “Old as Dirt” cake.  You can easily find dirt cake recipes on the internet.  Your birthday honoree will coast into another happy year now that he/she is over the hill!

Air Guitar Concert

Transform into one of your favorite guitar heroes with a little bit of imagination and a lot of passion! Even if you’ve never had a single music lesson, you and your birthday party guests can rock out to classic tunes by artists such as Tom Petty, Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Carlos Santana, or Stevie Ray Vaughan, to name a few. Use your imagination when it comes to costumes and props— get creative by turning a tennis racket or hockey stick into your very own axe! Play the part and dress like a rock star as you strut across an imaginary stage. Invite your guests to arrive dressed as rock stars or as dedicated groupies. Have an air guitar contest and award the winner his/her very own inflatable guitar. Your fans will be screaming for an encore after this rocking birthday party!

50’s Party

Relive the happy days with a 1950’s theme birthday party.  From juke boxes to drive-ins you can set the scene for good old-fashioned fun.  Have your guests wear bobby socks, poodle skirts, rolled-up jeans and leather jackets.  Play 50’s music and have a sock hop.  Serve ice cream in parfait glasses and don’t forget the whipped cream with a cherry on top!  For your tables, layer a checkered and clear table cover.  In between the two, put a bunch of back to the fifties cutouts. Guests will love the themed diner-style tables, and the clear tablecloth keeps everything from getting messy!  Jukebox pinatas make great centerpieces at a 50s theme party!  Just add some metallic music note balloons to each one.  This rock and roll party is sure to get a big thumbs up!

Wine and Cheese Please!

If you’re on a budget assign a particular region to each guest and ask them to bring a bottle of wine from that region and a suitable type of cheese that pairs well with it.  You supply the venue, wine glasses, breads and fruit.  You can also serve crackers that go well with the cheese and wine you’re having.  Choose either a casual buffet or a more formal table setting by placing the cheese and wine on separate tables that are dressed in elegant linen.  Give each guest a unique wine glass charm when they arrive.  Don’t forget to give your guests an elegant “thank you” gift as a token that will remind them of this special birthday.  Some options are a cheese spreader, personalized wine glass, wine charm, mini cheese grater or wine stopper.  Remind your Quintastic that they are only getting better with age — just like a fine wine!


Everyone loves an outdoor cook-out especially during the warm-weather months.  Make your barbecue stand out by choosing a theme such as Hawaiian luau, a clambake, surf and turf or even just deciding on a color scheme.  Choosing a theme will also help you to design your invitations and narrow down menu options.  Digital “E-vites” make it easy for guests to respond.  Include the basic details like time and place, but also whether kids are welcome and if guests should bring a side dish, dessert or beverage. This is your opportunity to ask about food allergies or restrictions, too.  As the sun goes down, you’ll want to add lighting such as Citronella candles and/or strings of lights draped over the party area.  Sure, you can throw some beers in a cooler and call it a day. But to make your barbecue memorable, select a special drink to serve guests.  Consider spiking up the classic lemonade or making a batch of refreshing sangria that you can make the night before the party.  Create a playlist the night before so your guests can listen to good music. Classic backyard games like horseshoes or badminton, corn hole or even trivia can liven up your party and keep guests entertained.  If there will be children at your party, offer activities that will keep them busy such as a slip and slide, water balloons or inexpensive water guns.  An arts and crafts table will also serve as a memento for the kids to take home.

Around the World Potluck

Celebrate and enjoy the best cuisine from different countries around the world.  Assign a country or region to each guest as part of their invitation.  You can ask them to bring a main dish while you provide the venue, side dishes and drinks.  Turn it up a notch by asking each guest to wear clothing related to their specific country.  Make a display with interesting facts about all of the countries featured.  Play some worldly trivia games or have a geography “bee” for a fun way to learn something new about international cultures.  Play a variety of music from around the world and do a little research to learn a few native dances to have fun learning with your party guests.  Print and bind the recipes featured and give everyone a copy to take home.  This 50th birthday party will be a global success!

Cooking with Class

If you’ve got access to a large enough kitchen and cooking space, plan a night to prepare and enjoy a gourmet meal.  Some cooking schools offer private cooking parties as another option.  Choose a cooking style as your focus.  There are many options ranging from “how to grill” to “mastering French sauces”.  Or you can simply have a pizza party where everyone brings the toppings and you provide the sauce and the pizza dough.  Creating a meal together is a great way to engage everyone, have fun and enjoy your creation together.  This idea is perfect for your 50-year-old “foodie”!

Laurie is a busy mother of four who loves travelling and spending time anywhere outdoors from the Blue Ridge mountains to the sandy white beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.

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