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80th Birthday Party Ideas

Posted By Laurie Grant

Turning 80 is truly a milestone to celebrate!  Whether your honoree would prefer a smaller gathering or a huge blow-out, you’re sure to find some great 80th birthday party ideas here.


A lively game of Bingo suits people of all ages.  You can either design and make your own Bingo birthday party invitations or buy a kit from a party supply store.  If you make your own invitations you can feature the birthday honoree’s name as letters on the front of the invitation.  To make Bingo party decorations cut large circles of poster board (use a plate as a stencil) and write bingo letters and numbers on them.  Paint, color and decorate the cut-outs and hang them around the party area. You can also buy white mylar balloons and write bingo letters and numbers on both sides with a black permanent markers.  Hand out colorful bingo daubers to each guest when they arrive at the party.  You might want to order these online ahead of time as they can be hard to find in stores.   A sheet cake provides the perfect bingo-card shape and you (or your baker) will have fun decorating it with columns, letters and numbers.  If your prefer cupcakes then write bingo numbers and letters on ping pong balls to crown each cupcake.  Everyone loves prizes so set up a prize table from which each winner can choose their prize.  This Bingo birthday party is sure to be a grand-prize winner!

Fishing Party

If your 80-year-old birthday honoree simply LOVES to fish but might not be able to get out on the water as easily these days then plan a fishing trip with him (or her) and a group of his (or her) favorite fishing buddies.  Plan ahead to make sure that he/she’s up for it and prepared for the adventure.  Enlist the help of the other guests to choose an easily accessible fishing hole or body of water.  Provide comfortable transportation and plenty of sunscreen and shade for everyone.  Plan to grill the catch of the day when you all return from your fishing adventure.  Make a cake in the form of a tackle box with lots of colorful lures and fishing bait such as gummy worms Swedish fish.  This fishing party is sure to be a “reel” success!

80 Years Ago Today

Step back in time to when your birthday king or queen was born.  Do a little research to find the most popular trends back then as well as popular music, dance and dress.  Feature the winning sports teams, the politics and the news headlines of the era.  Make a poster that lists pertinent facts such as the cost of a half gallon of milk, who was President, the most popular song, dance and the size of the average American family.  Everyone will have so much fun and gain a little history lesson at the same time.  To take this a step further, ask everyone to dress in vintage attire and recreate the atmosphere of 80 years ago with the food, music and dancing.  Touch everyone’s hear by putting together a slide show featuring the birthday honoree that spans his/her lifetime.

Time for a Tea Party!

While this idea might be best suited for your birthday lady, you can substitute coffee or favorite libation for your male birthday honoree.  Create a cozy environment by keeping the guest list to around 10 or less guests so that the birthday lady can easily mingle with each of her guests.  Cover a large table with a white linen tablecloth. Place the tea at one end of the table and make sure to leave plenty of room for yourself.   Or you can set up several smaller tables that will seat up to four guests each.  Place lemon, milk, honey and sugar next to the tea, and the rest of the food at the other end of the table. It is normal at tea parties for the guests to serve the food themselves while the hostess serves the tea.  Tea parties are semi-casual affairs, but don’t be afraid to get a bit dressier than you would for a normal gathering with friends.  Wear a pretty hat that you’d wear to racing carnivals, summer festivals, or any elegant event such as a wedding or anniversary party.  Choose a variety of teas, such as orange rind, lemon, green, chamomile, peppermint, berry, peach, or other fruit teas.  Typical foods include mini-sandwiches, scones, crumpets, biscuits, cookies, fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, or quiches.   Decorate with fresh flowers in pretty vases and lots of ornate doilies.  Whether you choose to have an “afternoon” between the hours of 3 pm — 5 pm or a “high tea” between the hours of 5 pm — 7 pm your birthday birthday honoree and guests will be delighted!

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 birthday guy or gal that they are getting better with age — just like a fine wine!

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 80th birthday party ever!

Movie Night

If you or someone you know has a home movie theater with enough room for all of your guests then you’ve got the perfect venue for this special movie night.  Or, you might be able to find a small local theater that will allow you to rent their space by the hour.  Another option is to rent a projector and show your movie on a large wall or outdoors on the side of your house.  Find as much video footage, photos or slides of your birthday person and create a personal movie with highlights throughout their life.  No one can resist this sentimental option that will serve as a piece of family history for future generations.  Decorate your space like a real cinema and add some red carpet to welcome everyone.  Serve traditional movie food:  pop corn, sodas, chili dogs and boxed movie theater candy.  Your birthday star will never forget this wonderful event!

80 Reasons

If you’re looking for a sentimental 80th 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 an 80-page book or bind together 80 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.

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!


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 80th birthday party will be a global success!

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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