Looking to plan a surprise party but don’t know where to start? We have got you covered! This article is filled with the best surprise party ideas. From the decorations to the invitations and everything in between, we have put together a list of ideas, tips, and suggestions on how to make the event special.
Surprise Party Ideas
The first step is deciding how and where to spend the party. Check out these fun and creative surprise party ideas on how to spend the day!
1. Make a Homemade Digital Video
A homemade video is perfect for someone who prefers wholesome gifts over extravagant ones. It’s a gift to cherish forever, literally, it’s a permanent space for all your memories! The best part is that it can be viewed whenever and wherever. Trust me, the person you’re throwing a party for will definitely appreciate all the love and hard work you put into this surprise. It’s easy and inexpensive to create a video.
There are so many free editing software that can be found on your phone or computer. You can easily share videos on websites like YouTube or Vimeo. To create the video, you will want to search through your digital and physical photo collections and pick out the most memorable and visually pleasing photos. You can include photos from previous birthday parties, vacations, holidays, and childhood photos.
If your editor allows it, you can also add some fun effects to make the video pop. To finalize the video, add in their favorite song or a fun, upbeat tune to throw everything together. Then, viola! You have an amazing birthday video.
2. Give Them a Shout-Out on Your Local Radio or Their Favorite Podcast
If you’re looking for a sweet surprise, you should definitely consider getting a shoutout from a local radio or podcast station. This idea is really straightforward but meaningful at the same time. It’s pretty simple and quick to contact local stations and ask them to mention your friend’s birthday or play their favorite song. A surprise like this is a unique way to acknowledge their birthday.
If you’re a planner then you will find it relieving to know that you can plan a specific date and time to have them listen to the radio. A shoutout can be a small surprise done at a birthday dinner, party, or even when they are on their lunch break.
It really is a convenient and cute idea and I bet they wouldn’t expect to hear their name on the radio. If you decide to do this, I’m sure they will remember your sweet and kind gesture. So go ahead and put a request in!
3. Invite All Your Friends For a Game Night
Do you know someone who’s introverted and isn’t big on grand gestures? Surprise them with an exciting game night with a couple of close friends! You might have an old monopoly board collecting dust on a shelf, or maybe you have a classic game like Mario Kart that everyone can play. You can make it festive by hanging a happy birthday banner and decorating the place with colorful balloons, party hats, streamers, and confetti.
Also, don’t forget the snacks! Pizza and cheese platters are classic and simple. And to spice it up, even more, throw in some karaoke. You can easily play songs on Spotify or YouTube.
This is a great, low-budget idea that is filled with fun and laughter. An introverted person or someone who doesn’t enjoy big celebrations will definitely appreciate this one!
4. Beach Party
Are you one of those people who love the beach and live near the ocean? Well, have I got some inspiration for you! A surprise party at the beach is an awesome idea for someone with a summer birthday. This type of party will be convenient and easy to plan. Not to mention a surprise drive to the beach can be exciting and requires minimal effort. All you need to do is trick the birthday person into thinking they are going somewhere else.
If you’re stuck on ideas, I’d suggest telling them you’re going to the store or the park. It will be a fun day where everybody can enjoy the beautiful weather and swim in the cool ocean. Maybe you can include surfing lessons or a boat ride? Whatever you decide, you can ditch the budget plan, as you most likely have sunscreen, a beach umbrella, towels, and a blanket already. Since it’s a party, of course, you’ll need music, gifts, and food!
If you don’t want to eat at the beach then you can go to a nice dinner afterward. I agree, it’s not always the most delightful place to eat but it is the best opportunity to surprise someone and soak up the sun!
5. Have a Potluck Dinner Party
When throwing a party, a pot luck can relieve a lot of stress off your shoulders. The obvious reason is that you can spend less time preparing food because everyone will bring their own. This type of event is perfect for any day, can be hosted at home, and easy to plan in limited time. Although, it does require some effort.
First, you’ll want to tidy up the place and hang up some decorations. You can consider reusing decorations you already have or set a color scheme like gold. After decorating you can pick out music and maybe plan another activity like karaoke or a movie night. A pot luck will be a nice change from the typical birthday dinner at a nice restaurant.
It’s even greater if the party is for a food lover. For a food lover, this can be a time to enjoy delish food and celebrate their birthday with friends and family. It’s a bit simple but you never know, this could be an ideal surprise for someone you know!
6. Host a Luau Party
A luau party would be a fantastic surprise idea if you live near a beautiful beach. If you don’t live near the beach then you can still host a party in your backyard. All you need is some fun decorations like inflatable balloons, garland, and tropical flower décor. You can consider purchasing a nice scenic backdrop as well.
If you’re opting for a backyard occasion then a BBQ luau can be a fun idea as well. Don’t forget the music! You can bring live entertainment or play luau music in the background. This party can take some effort but I’m sure it will turn out as a great surprise!
7. Rent a Limo Or Party Bus
It’s not every day that you can party in a limo and what a better time than your birthday? It’s a sweet surprise to go out with some friends and family and head somewhere fun. You can request the limo to take them to a lavish restaurant, a concert, the club, the beach, and so much more. The limo has to be decorated of course! You will want to add festive birthday decorations inside the limo. It can be pricey but it’s totally worth it to surprise someone you care about.
8. Take Them on a Helicopter Ride
Want to really catch someone off guard? Book a private helicopter ride that tours the city! This type of surprise is great for someone who is adventurous and likes to try new things. It’s expensive yet easy to plan. All you need to do is invite a small group of people. Then everybody can enjoy the beautiful scenery together. It’s definitely a wonderful and thrilling experience they will love!
9. Go To Disney World
This is perfect for big Disney enthusiasts and people who like amusement parks. I bet they would love to celebrate their birthday at Disney World or Disneyland. There is so much you can do at Disney World. You can eat at nice restaurants, go on rides, and explore the gift shops. All you need to do is buy tickets for some friends and family and have fun! It will be a memorable birthday filled with laughter and joy.
10. Plan a Spa Day
Some of us know someone who’s constantly busy and running around. The best surprise for someone like this is taking them to the spa. Plan a spa day for the two of you or bring along some pals. But you don’t want to invite too many people because this is supposed to be a day of relaxation and peacefulness. This would be a chill and lowkey birthday getaway.
11. Celebrate at an Ice Rink
The late fall and winter can limit some event options but don’t fear because ice skating would be an awesome surprise! It can take place indoors and outdoors in case you prefer one over the other.
The ice rink is great for people who like to be active and competitive as ice skating is a serious skill. It’s a fun place for everyone to enjoy and feel energized afterward. Then, after you’ve raced around the rink for a while you can all grab some hot cocoa or apple cider afterward!
12. Go Race Car Driving
Taking someone racecar driving for their birthday is a cool surprise. This idea will be extra special for someone who is interested in cars or maybe it’s a person who always wanted to learn how to drive a racecar.
Either way spending the day racing on the track is a wonderful experience. There’s the option of actually driving the car by yourself or going for a ride-along. If you want to experience the actual drive then you and the birthday person can learn together.
It can be an activity the two of you can bond over. You can take pictures of yourself in or near the car to really solidify the memory. If you’re interested then go ahead and search for local tracks in your area!
13. Go Indoor Skydiving
Indoor skydiving is definitely a surprise somebody wouldn’t expect on their birthday. This idea is best for someone who is all for thrilling adventures and would love to do something like this. Indoor skydiving might be less nerve-racking because you get to experience the free fall part without as much risk.
There is also the benefit of not dealing with weather and you won’t have a high altitude compared to outside skydiving. Paying for a session will most likely be the only expense you will have to worry about. You won’t have set up decorations or invite a huge group of people.
This would be an amazing surprise and experience that someone will appreciate you doing for them. You can guarantee that they’ll remember this birthday occasion for years to come!
Best Surprise Party Ideas: How to Plan
Once you have the idea, time to start planning! Surprise parties take a lot of effort that you may need some help. You can’t keep it a secret, pick a location, pay for food and drinks and decorations, arrange transportation, and get all the guests together by yourself! Follow these steps to keep your surprise party a surprise for your guest of honor as well as everyone else.
Planning a party is a lot of work and is usually a multi-person job. If you try to take that all onto yourself, odds are you are going to slip up. Maybe something will fall through the cracks or maybe the person you are trying to surprise will notice your unusual activity. You obviously don’t want that, so find a small cadre of trusted individuals who can assist you (and who, preferably, doesn’t see the guest of honor very often). Not only can they help you plan everything, but they can store decorations and other items for you. They can also make reservations for the party halls or birthday party locations you choose so they are not in your name.
Another way to use accomplices is to have them there with you when decorating. Make it hours before the party and show up with those who are helping you. Have the decorations and check-in already done. This way you can get in quick when it’s time and this leaves another task done. Have someone stay with your guest of honor. If you see your guest of honor often like living with them or in best friends they might call you to hang out that day. Have someone “babysit” them with a day of activities. Have them hang out at their house, out to eat, run extra long errands and any other way to stall them.
Don’t forget to give everyone a task. You should have people to help with decorations and watch over your guest of honor. Someone should bring the food and make sure to pick up the cake. The birthday cake is the next most important part! Someone should get extra stuff needed like coolers or ice boxes for drinks, candles, napkins, utensils, and anything else needed for the food.
15. Secret RSVP
You’ll want to know about how many people are coming, so send out invitations that ask guests to RSVP. Let them know that this is SECRET and request that, even if they are unable to make it to the party, they keep quiet. Make sure that they understand that this is a surprise party that you don’t want spoiled because someone only skimmed their invitation. There is another area where your accomplices can come in handy. Have one of them send out the invitations and receive the RSVPs to ensure that an inconvenient text message doesn’t ruin the fun.
Depending on when you came up with the idea of a surprise party you’ll want to make this part at least 3 weeks in advance. This gives people enough time for requesting off work, finding babysitters, and moving their calendar around their busy schedules so they know what’s to come. An efficient way to invite people is to use a group message so everyone is in one place and communication between you, the planner, and the guests, are all on the same page at all times.
Odds are that your relative or friend is expecting something, so you need to make sure that you time your party perfectly. Most people expect something in the evening, so even planning a brunch bash or afternoon fiesta is better than a nighttime party. You can also plan your event a day before or after. Make sure the guests also have the timing down by having them arrive at least fifteen minutes early. Nothing gives the game away like running into someone you know at the front doors.
If they miss the deadline, instruct the guest to wait until ten or so minutes after the party start time to come to avoid the scenario mentioned above. A good way to make sure nobody is late to make a meeting time an hour before the actual party. This ensures that everyone is there on time and if anything goes wrong someone can offer a quick fix before your guest of honor arrives.
You may need a decoy to throw your guest of honor off the scent. One way to do this is to just pick private party rooms or baby shower places that they already go to like a restaurant or the gym. You can even have a small gathering before the party that they believe is the true celebration hours or even days in advance. Don’t go overboard pretending like nothing is going to happen.
Don’t say weird things to bring up a surprise party or hint at it. It might be hard if you’re bad at keeping secrets. They most likely know there will be some sort of celebration at some point so acting weird all the time will only arouse their suspicion. It’s okay to even act like you forgot about their special day. They most likely won’t mention it if you don’t! They’ll hope you’ll remember on your own. This sounds a little mean but once they see how much work and effort you put in to making them feel special they’ll see why you never mentioned it.
Best Surprise Party Ideas: Decorations
Surprise parties are fun and thoughtful to throw for someone. Secretly plan the best surprise party by visiting your local craft or party store! Don’t worry about figuring out the right decor for the room. Take a look at some of these surprise party ideas for decorations we’ve put together to make your party planning that much easier.
18. Pick a Theme
Nothing gets a party going like a fun theme. A casino night theme, a Hollywood theme, or even a throwback to the ’80s could be perfect for this surprise party. Tell all your guests to dress up according to the theme and make sure you have clothing options for the guest of honor too. If you picked a casino night, make sure you add lots of flashing lights and casino chips. For a Hollywood theme party, incorporate glamorous colors such as silver and gold. If you went for the ’70s, 80’s, or 90’s theme, make sure to decorate with bright colors and loud music. Also providing a backdrop for photos is the perfect touch to round off the theme.
19. Light Show
Provide your guests with some exciting accessories that light up! Many party stores sell flashing LED eyeglasses, wine glasses, bracelets, and necklaces that you can hand out to guests. Set these on the tables and let them twinkle all night! Also incorporating string lights or candles could help add a little sparkle throughout the room.
Another idea for lighting is purchasing paper lanterns and hanging them around the room or setting them on tabletops. Be sure to choose lots of different colors or stick with one particular color if you have a color theme.
20. Paper Mache Piñata
You can make your own pinata with these simple steps. Purchase a mylar balloon in a fun shape then fill the balloon with pieces of candy before inflating it. Cover the balloon with glue and scraps of newspaper. After it dries, paint the balloon with fun colors and soon you will have made your own unique pinata! When the time comes to break it open, have a bandana ready, and start wacking!
21. Specialty Cake
A nice way to customize the party is to use food to spell out the guest of honor’s name. For instance, you can set cupcakes up to create letters or you can use alphabet shaped cake pans to create their initials. This little touch is thoughtful and sweet in more ways than one.
22. Balloon Bundle
If you’re looking for a fun display to accent the room, a balloon bundle is perfect. Grab some thick wire and twist it into your desired shape. This shape could be a heart or a spiral. Blow up colored balloons and tie them to the wire with ribbon. Once it’s filled, you will have a wonderful centerpiece for the party. It can be great for photo-ops too.
23. Decorative Paper Chains
Purchase construction paper in colors that match the theme. Slice the paper into one-inch strips. Intertwine the strips to create chain links and attach the ends with a stapler or tape. These make cute decorations for the entryway, down a staircase, on a mantel, or even around the edge of the table.
24. Colorful Balloon Arch
These elegant creations are actually quite simple to make. Simply blow up some balloons with helium and try to make them similar sizes. As you go, tie pieces of clear fishing line to the ends, leaving about a foot of extra fishing line. You’ll need two balloon holders. Tie the first balloon to the balloon holder. The next balloon’s line gets tied to the end of the first balloon. Continue this process until you finally attach the final balloon to the other balloon holder. You’ll have a beautiful arch to accent the doorway or cake. Use ribbon and bows to decorate the arch to add more fun.
25. Noise Makers
You can buy noisemakers from any local party shop. Noisemakers range in noise. They can sound like kazoos or loud cranks. These should be used when the guest of honor arrives. This adds to the excitement and surprise. Hand some of these out to the guests and have them hide!
26. Confetti Bombs
Confetti Bombs shoot confetti around the room. These come in small, handheld sizes for an enclosed environment. These will also be used when the guest of honor arrives. Shoot the confetti into the air to add to the surprise!
27. Balloon Shower
A balloon shower is supposed to rain balloons down on a person when they walk in the room. To do this, blow up as many balloons as you can in various colors. Get a sheet and some tape to hold the balloons in a sack above the doorway. When the guest walks through the door, pull the sheet down to release the balloons! A balloon shower is fun and magical! It doubles as decor and surprise.
Surprise Party Ideas: Invitations
No that you hae your plan in place, you need to invite the guests! Whether you’re having a surprise birthday party for your child, your spouse, your sibling or even a close friend or family member, you want to make sure that the invitations are as special and well thought out as the event itself. Making your own invitations is a tedious job, it takes a lot of work and dedication but it is worth it in the long run. Check out these list of tips we have put together, to make the process a little easier for you!
28. Homemade or Bought?
The first thing you must decide is if you want to make the invitations yourself or order them through a business. This decision depends upon the theme, type of event, and how many guests are coming. If you a throwing a formal party with many guests, it may be in your best interested to order them. On the other hand, if it is more personal and smaller, homemade may be an excellent way to cut costs and give the party a personal touch.
29. Information to Include
Every good party invitation gives guests an easy to follow breakdown of the event. The invitation should include the exact location and time. It should also be clear who the party is for and why it is being held. Inform guests on what to bring or wear, depending on the theme and location. Most importantly, be sure to stress that it is a surprise!
If you use this helpful list of ideas, you will be sure to shock and amaze, not only the person the event is for but all who attend. Be sure to plan ahead and time everything perfectly. Most importantly, make sure everyone stays quiet! Good luck!
Contributors: Cherish Woodworth, Jessica Clark, Laura Sastre, Brittney Casa