Everybody loves a good party. What could be more fun than a festive gathering of friends and family? Landmark birthdays are often the times when adults choose to have a party. If someone you know is about to turn 50 and you want to throw a terrific bash, here are a few tips for how to come up with ideas and themes:
- Start the fun with the invitations. Do a little research on events of 50 years ago and include them on the invitation. For example, "In 1956 Eisenhower was in the White House, The Wizard of Oz was shown on TV for the very first time, folks stood in line to see The King and I at the movies, Elvis Presley was all over the radio, you could mail a letter for three little pennies and in Chicago, Illinois, the Walker family welcomed baby Thomas James."
- Oftentimes, adults would prefer not to have gifts at parties. If this is your preference, be sure to let invitees know. Include a line on the invitation that says, "Please, no gifts. Your presence will be your present."
- If the party is to be a surprise, be sure to advise all guests to keep the secret. Additionally, if you live in the same house as the birthday girl, ask people to RSVP via email so that they don't accidentally ruin the surprise by calling at the wrong time.
- Play "This is Your Life." Ask a few guests to relate stories about the guest of honor. It can be part of the toast for a 50th birthday party. The best stories are humorous or touching, not too lengthy, and paint the birthday boy in a positive light.
- Be respectful of the guest of honor's personality and preferences. If she's the type to enjoy a little good-natured ribbing about her age, then okay. But if you know that she is sensitive about it, avoid teasing.
- Decorations add a festive touch. It is quite popular to choose an "over the hill" theme for 50th birthday parties with lots of black balloons and streamers, but there are other terrific options, too. Consider a retro theme, with decorations reminiscent of 50 years ago, such as a sock hop.
- Make a time line for the past 50 years and post it along one wall of the party room. Include world events, discoveries, popular music, Oscar winning movies and other fun bits of trivia from the last five decades.
- Host a "roast." Ask friends and family members to prepare short speeches poking a little fun at the guest of honor. If there will be guests of assorted ages in attendance, remind folks to keep it clean!
- Show how the world has changed during the birthday boy's lifetime. Research historical events for the past 50 years and prepare a few index cards that you can read during the party. If you are shy about speaking in front of a crowd, simply write the information of colorful sheets of paper and post them on the walls for guests to read. Here are a few ideas: "When Thomas was in kindergarten, Harper Lee won a Pulitzer Prize for To Kill a Mockingbird." or "When Thomas stood on the stage to get his high school diploma, Penelope Cruz was a newborn baby."
- Play music that was popular 50 years ago. If you prefer, you can choose music that the guest of honor enjoyed during her high school years.
If you think it's too stressful to come up with a 50th birthday theme and plan the bash, feel free to hire a professional to handle the party planning so you can relax and enjoy the day.