Shhhh..... there are loads of Surprise party ideas on this page, make sure the Surprisee isn't snooping around!
You can either scroll down this page and read all the ideas or choose the idea category from the drop down list below:
The first thing to consider when thinking about throwing a Surprise party is: Will the birthday person like to be surprised? Do they hate parties? Do they “think” they hate parties (and you are convinced you can prove otherwise)? Do they like or dislike being the center of attention?
This is the most important element to consider!
There are lots of people who wouldn’t at all appreciate a huge surprise party with loads of people… they would suffer more than have fun! It doesn't mean these specific people don't at all love surprise parties, they might appreciate an intimate surprise, a surprise trip to Italy with a few good friends or a special one-on-one dinner. Surprise parties don't always have to be a huge gathering, they can also be very intimate and small.
Don’t throw a surprise party for someone who dislikes these sort of events.
Also, when thinking of your surprise party ideas, always remember that it’s not solely about the moment of ‘Surprise’, or the jumping out and scaring… But more about making the Surprisee very happy; giving them a memorable experience suitable to them that they will never forget.
If you’ve come to the conclusion the birthday person would LOVE to be a Surprisee, just scroll your way down this page for the coolest Surprise party ideas!
Different Kinds of Surprises
There are lots of different surprise party variations. Below you'll find several options we've compiled for you to get the ball rolling:
- Planning with the Surprisee
- Make up a Story… Plan an Experience
- The Kidnapping Surprise
- The Treasure Hunt Surprise
- Double, Triple, Quintuple Surprise
- Totally-Twisted-Upside-Down Surprise
- Renting a Limo or Bus Surprise
- Younger Kids Surprise
- This is Your Life Surprise
Organizing a Surprise Party
So… you want to organize and host a surprise party?! Before you jump into coming up with the coolest surprise party ideas and the who’s-and-what’s, do you think you are the right person for this task? You will need to be able to keep a straight face, you might find yourself lying to the Surprisee (white lies of course…), you will need to be very secretive with phone conversations, text messages, party decorations, e-mails, etc. If you don’t think you fit, try assigning someone more suitable for organizing and throwing this surprise party.
You always want to think about the Surprisee when planning them a surprise party. When trying to come up with surprise party ideas, think about their hobbies, the music they like, the food they like, the things they are sentimental about; anything that may lead you to a specific theme they would connect to.
Try planning the surprise party ideas around something that's routine in the Surprisee’s life. For example, if they go out for breakfast every Saturday morning, try incorporating the party around that specific routine (that way the Surprisee will be less suspicious). Also, you might want to consider having the party at a place the Surprisee won’t consider suspicious - their own house, a relative or friend’s house, a favorite restaurant or bar, etc.
Be in touch with someone who is living with them, a boyfriend, girlfriend, mom, dad, sister, brother, neighbor, etc. to get information about them. You can always call just to say “Hi”, and towards the end of the conversation ask what their plans are for a specific day/week, etc. This is an important part; you want to make sure that the Surprisee doesn’t make plans on the day of the surprise party you are planning. It’s best if you are close to the Surprisee (husband/wife/mother/daughter/sibling/best friend, etc.) and that way you can know what their plans are and fit your surprise party ideas accordingly.
Another important person is the assistant (the one who brings the Surprisee to the Surprise party). This needs to be a person who is highly reliable and trustworthy, is on time, can be spontaneous and improvise, has been very much involved with thinking up the surprise party ideas and organizing the party and knows all the details, of course someone who can keep a very straight face, and best if this person is a close friend or relative of the Surprisee.
It’s always fun to surprise someone at their own house. If you live with the Surprisee, you can possibly hide all decorations at a neighbor’s house so that they don’t find any clues.
The surprise itself can be at the Surprisee's home. It can also be held at a local venue such as a restaurant, a park, a movie, a ball game, a show, a concert, at someone else’s house, yard, etc. If you plan to hold the party at a restaurant or pub (etc.), make sure that all of the people working at the party place know that it is a Surprise Party (many surprises have been ruined by uninformed people, so it’s always best to inform everyone).
If you are planning an outdoor surprise party, you need to be sure the weather allows it. If you decide to have it take place outdoors, and the weather is 50% sunny, 50% rainy, have an indoor party back-up plan. This means a place nearby that can be ready that day for the party, and possibly send out by email maps of how to get to that place so that you can send a last-minute text-message to the guests and they'll know where to go.
Sometimes the guest of honor is too smart for their own good and may begin to suspect something. One way to avoid this problem is by having the party a few days earlier. Most people expect a party the day of or the weekend after or a just a bit before their birthday. However, if you plan the event a week or two in advance you’ll have the true element of surprise at your disposal. You could also throw the person off guard by having an intimate family party the day before or even a few hours before the big birthday party event. Most people don’t anticipate multiple parties.
You should also make sure not to send out the invitations too far in advance. Guests should have time to prepare and make plans but if you give them too much notice it will increase the likelihood of someone letting the secret out. Try to avoid sending custom surprise birthday invitations to anyone who can’t keep a secret.
Surprise Party Invitations
We've created this complete page full of free and original printable Surprise birthday invitation designs, thank-you cards, as well as loads of wording ideas for Surprise party invitations. Don't miss out on these surprise party ideas and designs!
At the Party Itself
You might want to consider a quiet surprise instead of the traditional "jump out and yell Surprise". All the guests can walk in on the birthday person at home, work, etc. (as if nothing unusual is going on).
Some cool surprise party ideas can include decorating with all kinds of blown-up pictures of the Surprisee. If you have a projector, how about projecting digital pictures of the Surprisee on the wall (they can change every few seconds)? You can also project family movies of their childhood or any other special occasions dealing with them. You can also print a picture of the Surprisee onto stickers; then stick the stickers onto cups, party hats, people’s shirts, on bookmarks to give out to people, etc. If you choose a theme for the surprise party, decorate with relevant decorations for that theme. Also, choose a color scheme that fits and decorate with balloons and streamers.
Silly String can be messy, but if you have a backyard, it’s always fun to spray silly string on the Surprisee. If it’s a warm season, you can consider having a water party and have everyone squirt the Surprisee with water guns.
Hand all the guests musical instruments, shakers, poppers, crackers, whistles, etc; anything that can make a lot of noise when the Surprise moment comes along. It's always best to turn on music or a song the Surprisee loves right after the big Surprise. Music can make such moments a lot more exciting and happy! You can also invite a band to play, of course.
Other than the surprise, it’s best to think up surprise party ideas and organize activities that can be fun for both the Surprisee and the guests. This can be a skit about the Surprisee, dancing, singing, karaoke, wine tasting, group games, board games, etc.
Here are a few examples: Try creating a game show where the contestants have to answer trivia questions about the Surprisee’s life. You can ask questions like “Where was Bob born”, “What is Bob’s middle name”, “What is Bob’s favorite food”, etc. You can also have a cooking show and cook the Surprisee’s favorite foods and desserts.
If you have a lot of guests, make sure to set up an adequate sound system for the music and for the activities and blessings. Many times people invest long hours in creating a skit or writing a blessing, for instance, but because there are no microphones, the guests can't hear a word. What a shame.
A nice idea is to create a memory box and memory cards. Let people fill cards with all kinds of special memories they have of the Surprisee. On each memory card write leading questions, for example “Bob is happiest when…”, “I always laugh when I remember the time Bob…”, “Whenever I think of Bob, I think of…”, “When I first met Bob he…”, etc. Create a closed box and cut a slit on the top so that people can slip in their memory cards. After the party, the Surprisee can read all kinds of special memories written about them and they can all be taped or glued into a special memory book. You might want to send these cards with the invitations, way before the surprise party, and prompt people to send them back with the RSVP or bring them to the party. That way you can have all these cards ready in a memory book for the party itself.
One of the special surprise party ideas is to have everyone shars an anecdote or story about the Surprisee. You can ask each guest a few days before the party to send you (via e-mail) a picture or written story about the Surprisee or an experience they share with them. Print each story out, and then at the party, take Polaroid’s of each guest and tape or glue their Polaroid next to each small story in a big book or on a big board for everyone to see and read (this is a great keepsake).
It’s always fun to add more small surprises to a surprise party. If you, or anyone else, has (good) surprising news to tell everyone at the party itself; for example if someone is pregnant, getting engaged, married, announcement of some kind, etc.
Surprise Party Tips
Don't forget to check out our complete page with tips for throwing a surprise party, like what not to forget, what could potentially ruin a surprise, what happens if people are late to the surprise and many more important surprise party ideas and tips you shouldn't miss out on!
Your Surprise Party Ideas