Organize a surprise birthday party

Birthdays are special and should always be celebrated with at least a little fanfare. But every once in a while it’s fun to throw a surprise birthday bash for someone you love.

Birthdays are special and should always be celebrated with at least a little fanfare.

But every once in a while it’s fun to throw a surprise birthday bash for someone you love.

The trick to pulling off a truly memorable surprise is simply a little planning. So if you’ve got someone special you’d like to surprise, here are some ideas.

Sarah on “The Benefits of Meticulous Planning”

A very good family friend of ours turned 75. She and her husband have been married for 52 years, and in all that time, he’d never thrown her a surprise party. In fact, in the hustle and bustle of raising six rambunctious boys, the grownups’ birthdays were sort of an afterthought.

Her husband wanted to change all that on her 75th. So, in late March, he started planning for not just one, but two big surprises. First, he wanted to surprise her with a big family barbecue at the house with all of the children and grandchildren present. Then, later that same evening, he wanted to surprise her again with an elegant sit-down dinner with their grown children and their spouses so all could toast and roast her properly.

With enough advance warning, all of the boys were able to co-ordinate schedules and travel arrangements.

The arrivals to the barbecue were carefully co-ordinated for maximum impact. The look on her face when her sons who had moved away showed up on her doorstep looking for a barbecue was priceless. Then, promptly at 4:30 p.m., everybody took off, citing previous engagements.

At 7:30 p.m., the grownups reassembled at a restaurant and greeted her with a rousing “Surprise!” the moment she walked through the door. She thought she was going out for a quiet dinner with her husband. Instead, she walked into a room decorated with pictures of her throughout the years, balloons and beautiful peonies, her favourite flower. Her husband had planned every detail meticulously, and the results were truly unforgettable.

Alicia on “Non-Big Birthdays Are Great for Surprises, Too”

You don’t have to wait until someone hits a major milestone, like the 30th or 50th, to arrange a surprise party. In fact, some of the most incredible parties I’ve been to were surprises on “odd” years — like someone’s 37th. The person being feted often has no expectation of a special celebration and is completely taken aback, which makes it all the more fun for everyone.

Here are a few ideas for planning a surprise party that will knock the socks off someone you love.

1. Pick a Date Carefully — and Well in Advance

Plan way in advance! If you try to pull off a surprise at the last minute, things are bound to go wrong. Important friends may have scheduling conflicts that they can’t get out of or, worse, the person you’re celebrating may, too. The ideal time to throw a surprise party is a few days before or after the birthday. Otherwise, you might be spoiling a quiet dinner, or the birthday person might guess. Once you have the date locked and loaded, send out e-vites to guests — they’re quick to assemble and easy for others to lock into their electronic calendars so they don’t forget.

2. Enlist the Help of Others

The more creative brains you can put toward the big event, the more special it will be. For example, without help, Sarah’s family friend wouldn’t have thought to rent a bouncy castle for the family barbecue to entertain the little kids; it turned out to be the hit of the party.

From selecting the food to decorating the joint, you’ll be glad to have people on hand to help pull it all together and they’ll be glad they get to help do something special to celebrate a friend.

3. Get Creative about Ways to Surprise the Guest of Honor

There are many ways to do this well. All it takes is a little brainstorming, which always goes better if you have others brainstorming with you.

Some ideas to consider: Have a friend invite the guest of honor over for tea or to watch a game, and then surprise her when she shows up.

Another trick is to have one person take the birthday boy or girl out for an errand, and have others set up the house so that upon the person’s returning, the party is ready to go. No matter the ruse, the birthday boy or girl will love being celebrated.

The writers are co-founders of Buttoned Up, a company dedicated to helping stressed women get organized. Send ideas and questions to yourlife@getbuttonedup.com. For more columns, go to scrippsnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Olds RCMP bust nets guns, drugs and copper wire

Three people from Olds and a Calgary man facing numerous charges

Opposition promises new info on Trans Mountain costs

OTTAWA — Federal opposition parties are promising new information about the price… Continue reading

Bed Bath & Beyond rises as retailer unveils turnaround plan

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond are moving sharply higher before the… Continue reading

Inflation rises again, hitting 2.4 per cent in January, Statistics Canada says

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the annual pace of inflation in Canada… Continue reading

Hereditary chiefs say they’ll meet with ministers if RCMP get out

VANCOUVER — A small, mobile RCMP detachment in a remote area of… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

New highway to B.C. proposed

The Howse Pass shortcut to British Columbia is worth taking another look… Continue reading

Stolen car provides opportunity to try out public transit

I had my car stolen on Jan. 10, just as our one… Continue reading

Any other protesters would be sitting in jail by now

I’d really like to know why the current Indigenous pipeline blockades aren’t… Continue reading

Wolfpack hooker James Cunningham out for six months after hamstring surgery

The Toronto Wolfpack’s depleted squad has taken another hit with James Cunningham… Continue reading

Virologist: Tokyo Olympics probably couldn’t be held now

TOKYO — A respected Japanese virologist on Wednesday said if the Tokyo… Continue reading

Bong happy ‘Parasite’ succeeded despite disparity it showed

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Oscar-winning “Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho said Wednesday… Continue reading

Vancouver-raised Kenneth Lum among winners of $25K Governor General’s art awards

OTTAWA — Vancouver-bred contemporary artist Kenneth Lum, whose works have challenged notions… Continue reading

Most Read