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40 Unforgettable 40th Birthday Party Ideas

Updated on: Apr 30, 2023

40 Unforgettable 40th Birthday Party Ideas

The time to celebrate your 40th birthday party is here! Life is beautiful indeed. This is a time to reflect on your successes, but also on your mistakes, and to be thankful for all of them. You deserve to enjoy your life. Gather your closest companions on this beautiful journey, and let's get started with planning the big event with these 40th birthday ideas!

It's your 40th birthday, and now is the moment to concentrate solely on yourself. This is a time for celebration, the way you want to or if you are planning a party for someone else, a party that best suits their personality and interests. If you feel like trying something adventurous, go for it! It's also great if you only want to chill and have dinner with your closest companions. This is the perfect time to do something new if you want to try something different and wild!

If you are here and it’s not your birthday, you are in the right place! You can use the advice below to give them a surprise birthday party! Consider thoroughly what the needs of your loved one are, and determine what sort of group to plan in that manner. At that point, make sure that the person is free, and don't forget to invite any of his or her other friends and relatives. Whether you plan a surprise party or not, have a great time with these 40th birthday party ideas! We can also help you with party decorations, favors, planning the party with your budget, and gift ideas too.

40th Birthday Party Ideas: Outdoor Activities

Outdoor activities, perhaps depending on the weather, can be a fun and active way to celebrate the special day. There are many options for 40th Birthday Party ideas that involve spending time in the beautiful outdoors. Find one you like!

1. BBQ

If you remain in a state of mind to easily unwind as well as delight in the attractive weather condition with your friends and family, then what better option than the good old barbecue. Preparing scrumptious food with a wonderful family around you sounds like a promising birthday party idea for adults. Consider adding 80s music by the legends while enjoying the food and your company. You might like to join in on some good ole' sing-alongs to those classics.

Grill up some hotdogs and burgers, and pair with chips and a cold beer. Decorate with some red and white checkered plates or tablecloths. Set up the lawn games such as bean bag toss, croquet, and horseshoes to keep yourself and your guests entertained. Chill out and enjoy your special day spent with family and friends. There's so much fun to be had!

2. Picnic

Are you interested in an outdoor event that consists of delicious food, yet the grill is simply not your forte? You can organize a barbecue where you bring some homemade food and drinks and just delight in nature on a picnic. If you have a buddy that is musically talented (or if you are that close friend!) they can bring a guitar as well as play some of your preferred songs. Some picnic blankets are reusable and waterproof so you can use one again and again!

3. Hiking

If you feel energetic, hiking is one of the healthiest ways to spend your birthday. Not only will hiking reduce stress and anxiety, but you will also get to explore nature. When hiking, be sure to be prepared and don't go empty-handed. Large reusable water bottles for refilling are a must, but also consider a hiking backpack or even a walking stick.

4. Beach

If you are lucky to have your birthday in the summer, then you can go to the beach hotel. You get to enjoy the beach and will enjoy your stay in a hotel. What else can you ask for? You can even bring the BBQ to the beach in some places or pack food for everyone to enjoy on the beach. Listen to local music or head to the beach shops downtown for gifts! Don't forget to get some beach towels so everyone has a place to sit, tan, eat, read, and enjoy each other's company!

5. Concert

Now with the comfort of your home, most concerts can be seen online. Stay with your friend and have a movie night to go to a concert virtually! Listening to live music with special effects digitally will be a blast. Or head to a live show! Get comfortable on the couch with lots of snacks, maybe some takeaway, and of course, a music blanket to snuggle under.

6. Fishing

If your happy place is on a boat or enjoying a nice day fishing, this theme will be sure to get you excited about your birthday party. Set up a sign that says “Gone Fishin,’” and decorate with plenty of fish and hook decorations and red and white buoy balloons. Set up a snack bar with Swedish fish, goldfish, and beef jerky. Prepare your favorite seafood dish and your cake of choice. Make sure you have your best fishing pole as well - you'll need it!

7. Golf

If the golf course is your happy place, this is the perfect theme to celebrate your special day. Set up green tablecloths and fill golf buckets with plenty of golf balls as centerpieces. Set up a banner that says “Welcome to the Par-Tee!”. Easily make a golf cake by decorating your cake with green frosting and inserting a flag toothpick on top. How nice!

40th Birthday Party Ideas: Indoor Activities

8. Spa Day

It is finally your birthday celebration as well as you just desire to unwind and also pamper yourself. Maybe you could have a massage, face, manicure, pedicure, or all of it! Well, you deserve it. Many medical spa facilities use birthday packages, so you can bring a few of your good friends with you. This is the perfect way to feel 40 and fabulous! You could also pay someone to come to your home for your at-home spa with friends. Or buy supplies for a pamper party.

9. Wine and Cheese Tasting

Cheese as well as red wine complement each other and also develop the best harmony. Your detects are, for sure, most likely thanks for this experience. You can find a place in your city or nearby where they organize this type of tastings or you could also organize it at your own house with a lovely charcuterie board. Create your own with cheese, grapes, crackers, deli meats, and other fruit arranged artfully. It's a lot of fun creating them and guests can eat from a variety to help you celebrate your 40th bday!

10. Movie Marathon

Would you take up the challenge of viewing your preferred flicks for hours? Even better, with your favored people around - that's a hard thing to pass up! Add some delicious pizza to it, whether you make it or order it, and you are ready. The last thing left to do is to select your films. Check out movie night boxes or kits to be completely prepared!

11. Make Your Own Pizza

What's goes well with a movie marathon? Pizzas? Go ahead and buy pre-made pizza dough or make it yourself. Add some ingredients for your guests. Don't be afraid of adding some wild ingredients like pineapple to the choices. Everyone will love to make their own pizzas while enjoying the company of everyone and their stories. With any leftover dough, make a dessert pizza. After making the dessert pizza, enjoy it while watching a movie. This is a perfect add-on for a movie marathon. For mini pizzas, use English muffins or bagels for smaller-sized pizzas to serve.

12. Escape Room

This set is also fantastic for some synergy skills. It will educate you to think outside the box. You'll need to locate secrets, tips, and places as well as various other types of clues in order to escape. If you are into mystery-solving you are going to have great fun. Call in advance to get the perfect day with friends going, as well as later excitement too. You can check out the Escape Room in a Box family game or watch the movie for Escape Room if you'd like as well.

13. Arcade

Remember back in your childhood when you were playing in the arcade? Do you want to feel like a kid again? If so, this is the place for you! Celebrate your 40th birthday with a trip back to childhood! If you have to set up the arcade at your house, get into the gaming spirit, and your guests are sure to feel the competition running through their veins!

14. Bowling

This theme is fun and simple. Set up card stock paper cutouts of bowling pins and use them on your food display table. Create fun centerpieces with black marbles and bowling pictures. Use red and white pinstripe straws and bowling ball plates. If you’re not celebrating at a bowling alley, bring the fun to your home with a lawn bowling set. Serve up pizza and soda for the classic bowling alley experience. Whoever wins gets a trophy for their accomplishment!

15. Rent a Limo

Do you ever want to try riding a limo through town? Here is the chance especially on your 40th birthday! Pop a bottle of champagne, and have a girls' or guys' night with you and your best friends on the town at some fun nightclubs.

16. Sleepover

Who set an age limit on sleepovers? Enjoy a night in with the girls. Watch some movies, eat tons of ice cream, gossip, and do each other's nails. Such an affordable way to spend time with your gals. Having an ice cream bar with tons of sodas, alcohol, ice cream, and endless toppings will add a fun touch to the girls' bday night. Grab some favorite movies, and make popcorn, and talk throughout it; the BEST way to enjoy a movie with your friends.

40th Birthday Party Ideas: You're 40! Party Themes

17. Cheers and Beers to 40

If you want to have a fun and relaxing celebration, this theme is perfect for you. You can either keep this theme simple and chill with beers, games, and sports or choose to go all out. Print out or buy stickers with the number 40 on them, and wrap them around each bottle to personalize them. If you’d like a more classy party, serve plenty of champagne and your favorite seafood dishes. Decorate your party with wine or beer decor and sparkling balloons.

18. May the Forties Be With You

For this fun play on words, host an incredible Star Wars-themed party for the big day. Print or order a large banner with the theme title and hang it up in the middle of your party. Grey and blue balloons are sure to set the tone as well. Choose different colored paper lanterns to hang up, and they will look like different floating planets! Get creative with the menu and serve up your favorite dishes. To make things extra fun, ask your guests to dress up as their favorite star wars character (or they can wear Star Wars clothing in honor of the birthday). This is a great theme for a 40-year-old birthday party because Star Wars is loved by people of all ages. Use Star Wars decor and the motif of 40 throughout.

19. Year of Birth

Host an 80’s party with this fun theme. Choose either the exact year you were born, or go with the whole decade theme to reminisce on your early childhood memories. Figure out the most popular music, fashion, toys, and foods from that year, and transform your party into a blast from the past! Decorate with Rubik's cubes, action suits, and Pink Floyd. Serve up some wine coolers, loaded potato skins, and jello. Wow! This is a great theme for all ages really.

20. 40 Rocks

If you are a big rock ‘n’ roll fan, celebrate with this fun theme. Set up guitar cutouts and balloons as decorations. Place red and orange flame decorations and music notes as accents. Make sure to set up your favorite rock playlist and jam the night away. Enjoy mini sliders, chili cheese dogs, and drinks of your choice. 

40th Birthday Party Ideas: Celebrate the Oldies Birthday Themes

21. The Silver Fox

Is your hair starting to turn grey or silver? Embrace that new look with a Silver Fox adult birthday theme party. Decorate with plenty of silver or white balloons and tableware to give your party the cool atmosphere you’re looking for. Set up shiny silver decor to accompany the silver fox cookies and sparkling champagne served on the food display.

22. Vintage

For this vintage party theme, decorate in plenty of black and white. Set up black and white pictures of yourself, your friends, and family, and arrange them around your party space. For a pop of color, add red accents on either the tableware, backdrop or with balloons. If you have any vintage items such as a typewriter or film camera, display them as table decorations.

23. 80s Arcade

Bring your youth back with a fun arcade theme birthday party. Rent out an arcade for a few hours to host your party, or bring the games to your own place by setting up your favorite board or video games for entertainment. Set up typical 80s decorations, and set up glow lights for the ultimate arcade setting. French fries, burgers, and pizza are easy options to serve to your guests. 

24. Retro

This rockin' theme is sure to get the party going on your fortieth birthday. Choose a specific theme to base your party on such as a retro 70’s party, or simply decorate with lots of fun colors and memories such as jukeboxes, disco balls, and cassette tapes. Play lots of your favorite funky music and encourage your guests to dress up for ultimate fun. Make fruit and cheese cubes, deviled eggs, and pineapple upside-down cake. If you’d like, set up a make-your-own ice cream float bar with different sodas and ice cream flavors to mix together. 

40th Birthday Party Ideas: Classic Party Themes

25. Las Vegas

This classic party is sure to be a hit for you and your friends. Bring Sin City to your party by bringing out the poker sets and playing the night away with friends and family. Decorate with plenty of dice and red and black tablecloths and banners. Serve up a classic casino buffet with all your favorite dishes and snacks, and don’t forget the unlimited drink bar. Be as flashy as you’d like! You'll definitely need a spot for your guests to take pictures in front of with a backdrop!

26. I Love New York

For a fun and cheesy party theme, have an I Love New York Party. If New York is your favorite destination, decorate the party in plenty of bold I Heart NY napkins, plates, decor and other party supplies. Set up posters of New York City, and make sure the birthday boy or girl wears a Statue of Liberty crown. Serve up typical New York City street food such as hotdogs, soft pretzels, and donuts and coffee for dessert. If you like the show Friends, you could incorporate that here as well.

27. Balloons

Who doesn’t love balloons? If you prefer to keep your party low-key and not over-the-top, keep it simple with a balloon theme. Get plenty of balloons in your favorite colors and let them serve as the basis of your decorations. Coordinate the color of the balloons with your tableware and food items to match the theme well. Serve up some bubbly, grapes, and round cookies to keep your guests satisfied. Many balloon theme party decorations are sold too.

28. Murder Mystery

If you’re the type of guy who loves games and puzzles, hosting your own murder mystery party is sure to be the most interesting way to celebrate your big 40th. There are plenty of downloadable murder mystery party games to help you run the fun show. Encourage your guests to dress according to the theme, whether it's the classic 1920s or modern dressy attire. Serve up simple hors d'oeuvres and drinks of your choice to keep your guests fueled and focused on solving the puzzle at hand. You can also buy a physical kit to give it that real detective-on-the-case feel. Who will win?

40th Birthday Party Ideas: Alcohol Party Themes

29. Jack Daniels

If you are a whiskey lover, this Jack Daniels theme party is sure to be a hit. Print out Jack Daniel labels with your name on them instead of Jack Daniels’, and wrap them around your drink cups. Hang up a banner that says “Aged to Perfection." Provide cheese and fruit platters, grilled steaks or smoked salmon, and a dark chocolate cake or classic apple pie and enjoy. Give out mini bottles of whiskey as favors to ensure that your guests will remember your night. 

30. Margaritaville

Celebrate the big day with this exciting theme. Serve up a bunch of your favorite margaritas for you and your guest to enjoy all day (and possibly night)! Accompany the drinks with a taco bar, with plenty of chips, dips, and toppings. Decorate your space with palm trees and Toucan decorations that are sure to make the space feel like Margaritaville. Set up a tiki bar by hanging brown palm leaves above and around your drink station. All that’s left to do is kick your feet back and enjoy alongside some great friends and family with delicious food to share. Maybe a Margarita or a margaritaville themed party outfit too!

31. Brewery Tour

Who doesn't love a good Brewery tour and a tasting? Oftentimes, you just want a reason to drink during the day with your friends. Why not mix the two, and add on some good food as well. Each brewery has different beers, so why not widen your horizons and try different beers? Add some brawts to the mix and have an awesome birthday party. Try a new brewery in your area, make it a weekend trip and go to the nearest brewery, or sample some drinks at home.

32. Cigar Bar

Similar to the Jack Daniel’s theme, have a cigar bar theme birthday party. Set up a cigar bar along with a whisky bar. Set the theme with plenty of brown, black, and white decorations with dimmed lights to mimic a cigar lounge. Set up white accent flowers for centerpieces. Slow-roasted meats and potatoes will perfectly complement the party. Finish the day with dark chocolate or almond cake. If you host it at a cigar bar, they may sell cigars right at the establishment too.

40th Birthday Party Ideas: Dress Up Party Themes

33. Lumberjack Party

Looking for a unique theme for the outdoor lover or manly man? This lumberjack party will suit them perfectly. Lay out red and black flannel tablecloths or wall hangings, along with cutout pickaxes and suspenders for fun. Use wooden blocks or large wooden stumps for elevating your food display. Serve up some delicious barbecue sliders and finish with some rich chocolate cake. Don't forget to have guests and yourself dress up in your best lumberjack look.

34. Camouflage

You can really go all out with this simple theme. Get camouflage tableware and wall decoration, or just print out camouflage paper and cover cups and displays with the cool print. Make bunches of light, medium, and dark shades of green balloons. Arrange an array of multicolored green foods such as green cupcakes, green tortilla sandwich pinwheels, or chips, and guacamole. There is so much you can do with this simple yet wonderful camo theme party!

35. Geek

If you secretly have a geeky side, you'll love this theme party. Decorate with your favorite comic books, video games, or technology theme decorations. If you and your guests want extra entertainment, set up those games and challenge them to tournaments. Choose your focus and print out posters, and coordinate streamers and balloons to match. Wear your favorite plaid shirt and hang out plastic glasses for all your guests to wear. Serve your favorite guilty pleasure snacks and a theme cake. You can also have video games to play, comics to read, or old superhero films to watch.

36. Superheroes

Who says you're too old for superheroes? Choose your favorite superhero, and bring that world to your party. Decorate in red and black for Spiderman. For Superman, decorate in bright red, yellow, and blue. Get superhero word cutouts to display around the venue. Serve up popcorn, sandwiches, and a nice bright cake. Provide superhero masks or capes to all your friends and family for an all-out marvelous superhero party that everyone is sure to love.

40th Birthday Party Ideas: Sports Party Themes

37. Nascar

Are you a car fanatic? Celebrate this iconic birthday with a cool car theme party. Make sure to hang plenty of black and white checkered finish line flags around the party, and maybe even display a few tires as decor. Hang up signs that say “Route 40” or “Yield for Party”. Set up your food pit stop and provide a make-your-own-loaded nacho bar, with plenty of tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, and jalapeños. Another classic option is pizza, or go with any other food you want to fuel up with.

38. Sports

Is sports your favorite thing ever? If so, no theme could be more perfect than a sports theme party. If your birthday falls around a big sports event, make your party a fun watch party and invite all your friends and family for the perfect day. Decorate with your favorite team’s colors and logos. Serve typical Super Bowl snacks like a seven-layer bean dip, hot wings, and spicy queso, and finish off with decorated cookies or a cake shaped into a football or basketball. 

39. Football

If you and your guests are football super fans, consider making your party football-themed! Your guests can come dressed in their favorite team jerseys, bringing their team spirit along with them. Set up football-themed banners and backdrops that will be perfect for pictures! You will obviously need some football playing on the TV, but as for which team you play will have to be up to the guests: whichever team the guests support the most will be played on the big screen; it's only fair! Serve food that you would typically find at the Superbowl parties you love going to or hosting.

40. Movie Theme Party

What better way to celebrate the big 40 than by having movie-related fun? People of all ages love movies and perhaps you do too! This theme is so versatile as you can include party favors like popcorn buckets, movie reel decor, movie posters, and dress fancy for the red carpet! You could have guests dress as their favorite movie characters or pick your favorite film! 


Be it a family gathering with an awesome BBQ night or an exhilarating trip through the mountains, the perfect celebration is when you or your loved one feels accomplished. The 40th birthday is a milestone everyone wishes to receive with a big celebration. However, your definition of big is what you make of it, so we hope you found your next great event in this list of 40th birthday party ideas. Need more ideas? Check out more adult birthday ideas or just birthday ideas in general for even more options to choose from! Now, go on and celebrate the special day as you will!

Written by Aaron He; Contributors: Sydney Pattison, Alexis Tavares

Aaron (Zhi) He

University At Buffalo

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Alexis Tavares

Bridgewater State University

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Sydney Pattison

Louisiana State University

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