Idea No.


Surprise Party -60yr- Scrapbook of Memories



January 2007


Kim in Hudson, WI - US

Special Mention

Surprise Party

Surprise 60th Birthday Party  I hosted a surprise party including 65 friends and family of my father's, and it was a huge success!  I spent five months planning, researching, and working through every detail in my head.  His health has been very poor, and everyone deserves at least one REALLY memorable birthday party, and this was going to be the party for him. 

*/INVITATIONS/* I made the invites from square 4x4  black invitation cards (JoAnn Crafts) that have envelopes included.  I bought the metal You're Invited" embellishments to stick on the front of the card with a white stripe paper mounted under You're Invited.  Inside was a white insert affixed with silver brads and a matted photo of my dad from the 1960's.  Above the photo it read "In 60 days" below photo it read "Don will turn 60!"  Please join us for a Surprise Birthday Party! /Date /Arrival between 5:15pm - 5:45pm (No arrivals please - 5:45-6:00pm) /Address /Your Hostesses encourage black entire! /Cocktails & Hors d'Oeuvres will be served.  I had another insert (like a wedding invitation) with a map directions instructions for valet parking and car pooling information on a block of rooms I had reserved at a hotel 4 miles from our house a request to reply via email with stories and photos for a scrapbook and RSVP numbers/emails.  The inserts were braded together and a black silk ribbon was tied through the brad and hung over the invite so it wouldn't distract or detract from the party invite but would be seen. 

*/THEME/* I wanted more than a surprise 60th birthday party I wanted the guests to have fun and learn from it so I used a "Decade" theme for the decorations and party.  There are some great websites to take you through each decade and timeline - google or ( Everyone loved reading about the history inventions etc. of each decade!

*/DECORATIONS & FOOD/* All the guests at the party were dressed in black - which was wonderful!  The house already sparkled with Christmas lights and decorations so not much was needed for that - it was beautiful.  With my house having a very open floor plan I concentrated on decorating the kitchen hearth room dining and formal dining rooms.  I had these areas divided into 7 stations: 40's 50's 60's 70's 80's 90's and 2000's and decorated for each decade.  I found timelines of events for each decade online and highlighted the history music and food for each.  I had bullet pointed facts and then framed them.  I had at least 3 photos from each decade that I displayed with the framed history of that decade. 

Each station had fabric that I had bought at JoAnn's (a yard worked great)with accessories from that era and food- 40's lace fabric depression glassware veggies w/ranch dip cocktail sausages raisins & olives 50's blue floral fabric white lidded trays for white castle sliders and fruit cups 60s bright colored daisy print deviled eggs & Trisket crackers w/ Cheese Wiz 70s phsycadellic fabric a chocolate fondue fountains with all the fixings to dip (pretzels shortbread sponge cake strawberries & other fruit) 80's black pink & white plaid the crock pot decade!... With 3 crocks filled with meatballs potato wedges and chili con queso 90s animal print Chicken fingers shrimp cocktail  2000s Burberry plaid serving Quiche and Sherried crab.  Our sound system is wired through the house and we had the top 20 songs along with my dad's favorites from each decade downloaded ( and burned onto 6 cds - which we later gave to him as one of his gifts.

*/The SURPRISE/* We live on a cul du sac so parking was difficult - so not to create suspicion.  We hired two neighbor boys to valet all of the cars into our neighbor's driveways (fortunately they fit into two long driveways and were not at all noticeable).  Everyone upon greeting was sent to our lower level where we have a full bar - beverages were served here to help the people flow and name tags and introduction and some ping-pong took place.  As the time drew near for people to take their hiding spots I went through the house ringing a bell and requesting everyone upstairs.  With everyone in black it wasn't so much of issue of being seen by our large windows - I stepped outside to make sure.  I greeted my parents from the door and told them I was closing it since it was so cold and I would give them their hugs when they got inside.  All 65 people yelled "SURPRISE!" when he walked in (we did have two nurses very close by - incase it was too much of a surprise).  The birthday boy greeted each person and the party began!

*/CAKE/* Since this was a very elegant party and I decorate cakes I chose to do a 3-tier white fondant cake with 60-white poinsettias covering it with a shell border highlighted in black frosting.  I used decorator's pearls and color-flow frosting (very easy!) to shape the pearls into a 6 and a 0 and then let it set in the frosting for a beautiful "60" cake topper! I used 60 Wilton black and white striped candles and placed on all three tiers of the cake - beautiful! Coffee was served with cake.

*/CRAFT ACTIVITIES & GAMES/*  Everyone participated (even those who couldn't come) in the craft activity which turned out to be a wonderful scrapbook that had photos throughout his life - with a story letter or message written by all the guests.  We sang happy birthday did a light roast and he opened his gifts.  Later in the evening a ping-pong tournament broke out - naturally grouped by the decade you were born in! 

*/OTHER INFO/* I had three people dedicated to the food (this would have been impossible to do alone!) - keeping food hot rotated and the stations clean.  I had drink links on wine glasses so people wouldn't set their glass down and waste the wine (made them)!  I used real dishes - and found appetizer plates on-line that wine glasses can be set on (  I made sure the party started early enough for my much older relatives so they could leave early enough and still feel they participated and keep things going for the other group to have a have a full fun night.  It was also essential to have someone dedicated to bartending for the evening was necessary - my husband loved this it was a great opportunity to visit with everyone.  Also make sure you have a place for all of the coats (a coat check).

*/Party FAVORS/* Each guest left with a mesh bag filled with nougat candies with a personalized message on the wrapper (eBay) thanking the guest for sharing this special night with his birth date and greeting.  I also gave each guest a CD of the most popular songs from the 7 decades with a cd cover filled with photo of my dad and a personalized message of thanks on that as well.  It was a phenomenal party!... Hope this helps with the planning of a great party by You!"

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