5 Tips for Throwing a Surprise Birthday Party

Is someone you love approaching an important birthday? Want to surprise them with a party they’ll never forget? Need a little inspiration and advice before you get started?

Let the party planning begin!

We know the biggest struggle in planning a surprise party is keeping your party a secret from the guest of honor. This is where some serious party-espionage comes in handy. To help you pull off your big reveal, here are five tips for throwing a memorable and fun surprise celebration!

#1 Make Sure Guests Know It’s a Surprise

“It was great seeing you, Sally! Oh, and we’re so excited for your party on Saturday! Okay, bye!”

[Insert sad trumpet noise here]. There’s nothing worse than that person getting ahead of themselves and spilling the beans—but you can’t blame them if they didn’t know there were beans to be spilled in the first place.

To avoid a messy, bean-filled encounter, make sure it’s abundantly clear on the birthday party invitations that it’s a surprise. Use a bold font. Size 72. All caps and underlined, if you have to.

Additionally, you should be prepared to have guests arrive at least thirty minutes early to the surprise location. This way, everyone will be ready and waiting when the guest of honor arrives.

Quick tip: If you want guests to hide ahead of time, make sure you’ve selected a location with conveniently placed hidey-holes aplenty!

#2 Have an Accomplice

Party-espionage part two: select a worthy accomplice to help pull this party off.

You don’t want the guest of honor to have any inclination that something is afoot behind the scenes. To avoid suspicion (and to make sure they actually make it to their own party) have your accomplice make fake plans with the royal invitee.

This way, your guest of honor will think they’re out for a low-key dinner or movie when in reality they’re headed straight for your carefully laid birthday trap—the best kind there is!

#3 Choose Your Location Wisely

If you live with the birthday guy or gal, you might not want to keep it close to home. This means you need to think about a sneaky, third-party location:

  • Their favorite place to eat – Choose a restaurant or bar that the guest of honor loves! Call ahead to make a reservation and tell the staff you’re hosting a surprise party so they can prepare for your group.
  • A friend’s house – Ask a friend if they would be willing to host the shindig at their house. This way, if you’re decorating, it’s easy to get started ahead of time.
  • The park – If the weather is warm, throw a picnic-style party in the park. Just make sure you have a backup plan in case it rains!

#4 Plan a Theme and Decorate

If you’re really going all out, consider throwing a themed birthday party. This is a fun way to involve the whole crowd!

Whether your theme is outer space, ancient Rome, or the roaring ‘20s (again), make sure you have extra accessories for your guest of honor once they arrive. You don’t want to spoil the surprise by asking them to dress like an astronaut ahead of time!

Decorate your location to fit your theme. Choose streamers, balloons, and banners for some birthday-flare. Accents like happy birthday flowers add cheerful splashes of color, while confetti brings a bit of sparkle to the table.

#5 Decide on Food and Drinks

If you’re hosting the party at a restaurant, then the food won’t be a problem. If not, then you need to come up with a menu that works for all your guests:

  • Snacks – Provide easy to grab finger foods and snacks for guests to nibble on while they wait for the party to really get going.
  • A signature cocktail – If guests are imbibing, create a signature cocktail dedicated to the guest of honor. Incorporate their favorite ingredients and give it a pun-tastic title using their name!
  • Dietary accommodations – Plan ahead for guests with various allergies or dietary restrictions. You want to make sure everyone feels included!

Of course, it goes without saying that your party will include cake. Order the cake ahead of time (or go home-made!) and designate someone as head of the Cake Transportation Committee.

Have a Fantastic Time!

No matter what theme you decide on or where you hold the party, you’re sure to have a fabulous time. Once your plan is set, all you need to do is keep the party under wraps.

And don’t worry, we won’t say a thing!


Susan B. Anthony: Suffragist, Abolitionist and Renegade

Susan B. Anthony (left) worked tirelessly with Elizabeth Cady Stanton (right) to fight for women’s [...]

‘Nanocapsules’ provide new solution for efficient cancer chemodynamic therapy

Schematic illustration of HCONC-catalyzed cascade reaction for chemodynamic oncotherapy. Credit: Wang Hui In a paper [...]

How to Buy Treasury Bonds

The government began phasing out all paper bonds, like these Series EE Savings Bonds, in [...]

Newly developed nano-thermometers enable real-time temperature detection in transmission electron microscopy

Schematic illustration of the cathodoluminescence (CL) nanothermometry. Credit: UNIST A method for measuring the temperature [...]

Invasion of the Lionfish

Unknown in the Americas 30 years ago, lionfish have multiplied at a rate that is [...]

Early Apes Lived on Savannas, Not in Forests

In an open woodland, Morotopithecus bishopi climbs a tree with an infant on its back [...]

‘Worrisome and even frightening’: Ancient ecosystem of Lake Baikal at risk of regime change from warming

Lake Baikal, the largest and most ancient of freshwater ancient lakes, had its start in [...]