Birthday Party Ideas
Balloons and streamers in the guest of honor's favorite color is the old-school approach to decorating birthday-style. But this year, instead of balloons, try inexpensive (and reusable) paper lanterns for a more sophisticated look. And instead of hanging streamers, hang a collage of photos of the birthday person. Don't have time to put one together beforehand? Create one during the party by taking a Polaroid of the birthday boy or girl with each guest as they arrive and post them on a bulletin board or poster paper.
Let the cake do double duty as dessert and decoration by putting it in a prominent place so guests can admire it before devouring it. If you baked it yourself, make an icing from confectioner's sugar, a little water and a drop of food coloring, snip one corner from a plastic bag, fill the bag with icing and squeeze to decorate the cake with "Happy Birthday!"
Incorporating a birthday party theme makes birthday party planning easy. Check out these party ideas for decorations, activities, menus and more.
Birthday party themes:
- Decades: 60's birthday party, 70's birthday party, 80's birthday party
- costume birthday party
- bowling birthday party
- luau birthday party
- karaoke birthday party
- beach birthday party
- birthday casino party
- birthday party BBQ
- birthday tiki party
- cocktail birthday party
Kids' birthday party themes:
- animal theme birthday party
- arts and crafts birthday party
- character theme birthday party
- pirate/treasure hunt birthday party
- kids' birthday party — general
- bowling birthday party
- western birthday party
- birthday party picnic
Bring out the boy or girl in the birthday adult with a kid's birthday theme. Play musical chairs featuring the guest of honor's favorite band (extra points for contrast if it's heavy metal) or bash a piñata and dive for the candy. If you want serious retro cred, you could even host the party at your neighborhood roller rink or bowling alley.
No matter what the theme, remember, it's the birthday person's special day, so make them feel special: Celebrate the center of attention with a toast. If it's a milestone birthday marking a new decade, turn up the spotlight by asking guests to name the craziest adventure they've ever had with the guest of honor or the quality they've always most admired in that person — or recite a poem or sing a song you've written for the occasion.
You could also play Two Truths and a Lie by asking each guest to write down two things that are true and one thing that's not about the birthday boy or girl. They then recite them to the group and other guests guess which are true and which are false; whoever gets the most right wins the biggest piece of birthday cake.
Serve the guest of honor's favorite foods. If you're embracing the kid angle, order in pizza — then give it an unexpected twist by serving it with champagne.
Top off the occasion with a cake in the birthday boy or girl's favorite flavor. This is one time it pays to do it yourself — after all, nothing says love like homemade cake. Want to surprise them? Nonchalantly ask what kind their mom made for them as a kid and bake that.
Let the guest of honor relive their childhood with a Shirley Temple — or make a pitcher of the alcoholic version, named after Shirley Temple's married moniker.
Shirley Temple Black (serves 6)
- 4 cups ginger ale
- 1/2 cup grenadine
- 1 cup Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch whiskey
Mix in a pitcher just before serving. Serve over ice and garnish with a lemon slice and a maraschino cherry.
Non-Alcoholic — Lemonade with lots of ice and thin, decorative slices of lemon and lime.