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Birthday Party Ideas for All Ages

Posted By Laurie Grant


Matt's Birthday

Birthdays are the perfect opportunity to tell your friend or family member how dear they are to you. And throwing a birthday party is a great way to show them! Focus on your birthday honoree’s favorite things and activities and go from there with a little inspiration from this list of birthday party ideas.

Traditional Birthday Party

With so much focus on trends and pop culture these days traditional birthday parties seem to have fallen by the wayside. Bring back your childhood by asking your parents for their input to recreate the more simple parties from the past. Start with handwritten invitations mailed the old-fashioned way, complete with a date, time, location and RSVP information. Make your birthday person’s favorite cake either from scratch or with the help of a mix. Adorn the cake with 1 candle for each year and don’t worry about setting the house on fire— the more candles the brighter the glow! Play a few traditional birthday party games to get everyone involved in the fun. Pin the Tail on the Donkey is an old-time favorite that will amuse guests of all ages. Some other ideas are Musical Chairs, Bean Bag Toss, and Pass the Parcel— where you wrap a gift in layers of paper and pass it around while playing music. When the music stops the person holding the gift unwraps a layer of paper. Start the music again and repeat until the final layer is unwrapped— the gift goes to who opens the last layer of wrapping paper.

Un-Birthday Party

Take a cue from Lewis Carroll and throw an “Un-Birthday” Party that works best for those born during significant holidays where their birthday gets kind of lost amid all of the holiday activities. If your birthday king or queen was born close to Christmas or New Year’s, throw them an un-birthday party in July. Enjoy all of the warm-weather fun that normally would not be possible in the winter months. Or, have a classic “Alice Style” tea un-birthday party complete with unusual decorations such as flowers in rainbow hues, oddly shaped teapots and teacups, and a whimsically beautiful tablecloth. Serve tea of course, or drop colored ice cubes into lemonade. Cut fun sandwiches into a variety of different shapes. Serve brightly-colored sweets and treats in an eclectic variety of ornate bowls and dishes. Stop by your local vintage store or antique shop for some great finds to make this un-birthday tea party a great success.

Birthday Cruise

Destination Birthday

Imagine the excitement of gathering your favorite friends and family to celebrate a birthday party away from home. You’ll need plenty of time to plan in advance, so be sure to start early! Consider your birthday person’s favorite destination or one that’s on their bucket list. Whether you borrow a friend’s cabin in the mountains or cruise the Mediterranean, just being together in a new and different place will enhance the experience. A destination birthday is also a great way to choose a central location for folks that live in different areas. Remember to take plenty of pictures— you can use them to create a special memory book for all of the attendees.

Charity Party

My son recently attended his buddy’s 13th birthday party at the roller skating rink. His friend asked that instead of bringing birthday gifts, each guest bring pet food or pet supplies for the local animal shelter. This sparked a conversation between my son and I about the shelter and the dire need they have for donations. We love animals, so my son was thrilled to know that he was helping the little furry fellows out. Everyone had a blast at the party and we were thrilled to see the mountain of pet food and supplies! They all wanted to participate in the delivery of the goods, and some have even started volunteering at the shelter as a result. Charity birthday parties are for all ages and all causes. Pay it forward, have fun, and take pride in knowing that you have made a positive difference in the world!

Surprise Birthday Party

First of all, make sure that your birthday honoree truly likes to be surprised and will enjoy being the center of attention. Also consider the extent of the surprise they might most enjoy— he/she might appreciate an intimate surprise, a surprise trip with a few good friends, or a special one-on-one dinner. If you’ve come to the conclusion that the birthday person would LOVE to be surprised, follow these steps to pull off your secret mission. When coming up with surprise party ideas, think about their hobbies, the music they like, the food they like, the things they are sentimental about— anything that may lead you to a specific theme they would enjoy. Contact someone who lives with them (husband, wife, neighbor, etc.) to get information about them. Call just to say hi, and towards the end of the conversation ask what their plans are for a specific day/week, etc. This is an important part— you want to make sure that the surprise-e doesn’t make plans on the day of the party! Another important person is the assistant (the one who brings the Surprisee to the Surprise party). This needs to be a person who is highly reliable and trustworthy, is on time, can be spontaneous and improvise, has been very much involved with planning the party— and most importantly, can keep a secret with a very straight face! To really throw the guest of honor of your trail, have the party a few days earlier than their actual birthday!

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 guests 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 birthday party will be a global success!

Holiday Party

Birthdays that fall near a significant holiday can get lost in the shuffle. It takes a little creative planning to pull off an amazing holiday birthday party, but it’s definitely possible if you follow these tips! First of all, plan in advance. Holidays usually coincide with vacations, so you want to make sure people will be around for the party. Before booking the date, send out a quick email to friends and family to find out if they’ll be in town. If not, consider moving the party to a few days before or after the real birthdate. Choose a non-holiday theme— something completely opposite of the season! Make sure the menu is different than common food choices for the holiday. Avoid “combo gifts’ that cover both the birthday and the holiday at all costs. If the birthday falls directly on a gift-giving holiday, carve out some special time when only he/she will be opening their birthday presents. If the main part of your house is already decorated for the holiday, then decorate a different room with birthday banners and balloons!

Office Party

Whoever said that mixing business with pleasure is not a good idea never knew the bonds of friendship that form in today’s workplace. Packing a lot of dedicated coworkers into small working spaces not only promotes collaboration but also helps form forever friends. It’s only fitting that you would want to celebrate your work teammate’s birthday. Whether you simply present them with a decorated cupcake during lunch break or take the whole department out to lunch, it will mean a lot to your birthday honoree. Celebrating birthdays also helps to ease the stress on especially intense days in the office or on the job site. If you decide to celebrate the birthday in the office, take special care to include everyone on your team or in your department.

Pajama Party

If your young birthday honoree enjoys sleepovers, or if your older birthday person wants to throw back to the younger days, a pajama party is the way to go! Ask that everyone wear their pajamas (of course!) and bring sleeping bags and pillows. Choose a large room in your home that has enough space for everyone to sleep. Transform the room into a cozy fort by making old-fashioned tents with sheets, twine, and clothes pins. Glue glitter to the bottom of balloons and hang them from the ceiling amid strings of white lights. For the younger girls, consider giving them each a matching set of pajamas as their guest gift when they arrive. Set up a photo booth with lots of fun props suitable for the age of the guests. Take a fun twist on scheduled events by writing each game or activity on a small piece of paper and inserting them into different balloons. Write the hour on each balloon and pop the balloon on the hour at which the game is to be played! Have your guests decorate and personalize plain pillowcases with colorful fabric paint and embellishments. Watch movies together complete with popcorn and theatre candy and wake up the next morning to homemade pancakes.

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 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 birthday party ever!

Dessert Party

Who says that you have to save the best for last? If your birthday honoree has a sweet tooth, cater to it with a delicious spread of irresistible desserts! You can keep it simple by focusing on variations of one item, such as “cookies only”, or you can lay out a spread of a variety of yummy delights ranging from pastries and cupcakes to frozen pies and handmade candies! Enlist the help of friends and family who are talented bakers— plan to get together beforehand for a fun day of prep and baking! Refrigerate or freeze your masterpieces ahead of time to avoid any last-minute stress. Choose a theme based on your birthday guy/gay’s favorite things or go with a color-scheme. Desserts lend themselves well to decorating with ornate serving dishes, footed platters, and doilies. Serve champagne and milk (especially if kids are invited) for the sweetest dessert party!

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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