A birthday at 30, 40, 50, and beyond is essential to commemorate. The birthday person may not feel as young as he/she used to and will welcome the good cheer. Consider incorporating memorabilia from childhood through adulthood is throughout the entire party. And surprise parties are always an option – provided the birthday person likes surprises!
This theme is great for people that were teenagers in the 1950's… or wished they had been - it is not only simple, but easy to arrange, decorate and organize. Send invitations out shaped in the old black 45 record styles, with "Side One" listing the information and "Side 2" listing the directions to the party. Decorate with jukebox style decorations, 45 records, photos of poodle skirts, hula hoops, hot rods. Games can include Bazooka Bubble Blowing Contest, Hula Hoop and Limbo contests, dancing to the Twist and doing the Stroll.
Plan a "50 days until 50" party (or "30 Days Until 30", etc.). Set up a calendar and mark certain days with funny quotes about aging, or words of wisdom. Mail the invitations/announcements out 50 days ahead of time and use the calendar as the invitation (easy to make on computers). Be sure to follow up with a "25 days left" announcement so the guests won't forget. The day of the party, hang the 50 days calendar up for everyone to see. Decorate with a variety of colored balloons and streamers or decorate according to the birthday person’s hobbies.
Make invitations using a castle, a moat, knight in armor, ladies in waiting, etc. Ask the guests to come in costume. Ask the male guest of honor to dress as the Knight in Shining Armor or the female guest of honor to dress as a Lady In Waiting for the party. Decorate the area with paper swords, shields, castle backgrounds, gold, and black tableware, streamers and balloons. Serve finger foods since silverware wasn't invented until the 17th Century. Set the table with plastic goblets for serving drinks and serve red wine (or cranberry juice) for the toast. Lace doilies, elaborate settings, and plenty of candles will give the room a dramatic effect.
Ask the birthday person whether or not they want gifts and if not, note it on the invitation. If yes, gift ideas include:
• Ask everyone bring at least one small gag gift.
• Ask guests to bring gifts in the milestone birthday quantities such as 30 coins, 50 pens, etc.
• Ask everyone to chip in a certain amount for one big present.
• Donate money to the birthday person’s favorite charity.
Buffet style is the easiest way to serve food at a party. Serve large trays of food that can be prepared ahead of time for at home parties (Italian dishes, prepared meats, salads, etc). Snacks are important to provide for guests to munch on until dinner is served. And of course, a cake is a must and can be made a day ahead of time to cut down on last-minute preparations.
Capture the special moments
Have a camera ready for those "spur of the moment" shots that will not only create lasting memories but can later be used at upcoming milestone birthday parties in scrapbooks, photo albums, or even invitations. Consider handing out disposable cameras as party favors and let the guests do their own picture taking.