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Surprise Birthday Party for All Ages

You know those people who say they don’t like surprises? Forget it! Deep down, they’d secretly love for someone to throw them a surprise party. There’s no doubt that the big SURPRISE goes over well with kids, but throwing one for adults can require a bit more finesse. Follow our lead and sneaky tips, and you can pull off the surprise of a lifetime.

Keeping the Secret

  • Be sure to state SURPRISE PARTY clearly on the invitations. If you’re emailing invites, include the phrase in the subject line. And don’t send the Evite to a family address!
  • Make a fake date with the surprise and get it on her electronic calendar so she doesn’t accidentally get double-booked.
  • Consider your event space when doing the head count for invites. Will there be enough room for everyone to hide? Is there a good place to park cars so it isn’t obvious there’s a crowd inside

Get Creative

If you want to go beyond the traditional pop-out-from-behind-the-sofa route, think outside the box:

  • Book an entire small restaurant or bar. Have everyone there act like normal patrons, busy with their own conversations. When you walk in for your “date,” see how long it takes for the surprise to realize she knows the people at the next table, and the next, and finally the whole place!
  • Reserve a movie theater for the party. Arrive just a little late so that it’s dark when you find a spot to sit down. Arrange to have a home movie or a special story about the surprisee shown. When the lights go up, she’ll be shocked to see she knows everyone in the theater.
  • Consider doing a scavenger hunt that leads the surprise to party guests. At each stop is another clue and another set of friends, with the whole crew ending up at someone’s backyard or a park for the celebration.

The Eats

  • A sandwich spread is ideal for a surprise party because it can easily be assembled ahead of time and doesn’t need to be kept warm. Plus, sandwiches can sit out longer than other dishes in the event that the guest of honor is running late.
  • Surprise Cupcake Cones, a throwback to the parties you had as a kid, make for a nostalgic surprise at the end of the night.
  • If you need to hide the food from the guest of honor, pack everything in coolers and store it at your neighbor’s house.