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90th Birthday Party Ideas

Posted By Laurie Grant


Nine decades — only one decade less than a century — is truly a reason to celebrate!  Browse this list of 90th birthday party ideas and add a spin or two of your own to plan the perfect celebration of such a momentous milestone.

1940’s Party

The decade of the 1940’s represents one of the most extreme decades to date.  From the end of the Great Depression and the entirety of World War II to the great advancements in technology, film, music, literature and fashion. Recreate this era by choosing a venue such as a museum filled with 1940’s relics.  Or, if your 90-year-old would prefer a less extravagant location or stay home, have your guests wear vintage 1940’s attire and decorate the room with 1940’s memorabilia.  With everyone all gussied up make sure to set up a place to take pictures.  The easiest way to create a photo booth is to drape a sheet up on a wall and then have some 1940’s props on a table.  Enjoy playing 1940’s vinyl albums on a vintage turntable — everyone will enjoy hearing crooners Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra or dancing the Swing to Benny Goodman or Glenn Miller.  Hang vintage Casablanca movie posters or WWII “I Want You” posters around the room and make centerpieces with with war items (model airplanes, trench helmets, camouflage, etc.), glitzy candle holders, trumpets, piano sheet music, strings of pearls, mason jars, party blowers, and vintage radios.  Serve ice cream cones, glass bottles of Coca-Cola, rock candy, candy buttons and party favors in bags or jars tied with twine.  Your “Bobbysox Brigade” is sure to have a swell time celebrating this special 90th birthday party!

Family Tree

Get everyone involved in your family’s history and either use a family tree template or make one yourself.  Cover a large blank wall with thick paper or poster board and draw the base and branches of a large tree on it.  Or, if your 90th birthday party will be outdoors use a partition or standing board and paint the tree trunk and branches.  Have each family bring pictures and names to serve as the leaves on the tree and place them on each branch.  For some extra fun have each guest research a little family history trivia to share with everyone at the party.  You are sure to discover fun and interesting family facts that you’d have never known otherwise.  Prepare and serve your family’s favorite dishes or have each guest bring a family dish.  For an extra-special keepsake compile a booklet of favorite family recipes and hand them out to each guest.

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 honoree 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 90th 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!

90 Reasons

If you’re looking for a sentimental 90th 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 90-page book or bind together 90 individual cards.  Or, fill a decorative keepsake box or any other kind of container with these heartfelt notes.  Your birthday honoree will enjoy reading them over and over again.  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.

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!

1950’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 90th birthday party will be a global success!

Casino Night

Bring your own little Las Vegas to life and create a casino in your home or at a rented facility.  Ask friends or family who are familiar with casino games to be the card dealers and print the basic rules of each game for all of the guests.  Consider renting casino equipment and then spend some time deciding what you can afford and what games you want to feature.  Blackjack and poker tables are relatively inexpensive, whereas a craps table or a roulette wheel may cost a little more. But while poker and blackjack tables will only fit six to eight players at once, a craps table can accommodate as many as 12 to 15 players at a time.  For a well-rounded party, try to offer at least three to four different game options.  Consider decorating your gaming room like Caesar’s Palace, one of the most famous casinos, with lots of ancient Rome decor.  Place playing dice in the bottom of a clear vase of flowers to make table centerpieces while adding an elegant casino touch.  A simple food idea is to shape cream cheese into a rectangle and dot it to look like a domino with blueberries.  Decorate the birthday cake to look like a playing card and set out a large bowl of 100 Grand candy bars to add a festive flair.

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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