Coolest Parties

Important Tips for Throwing a Surprise Party

Throwing a surprise party can be a daunting task! Getting everyone organized, making sure the birthday person is really surprised and isn't faking it, lots of things to do and remember at the same time! This page is full of important tips for throwing a surprise party, don't miss out on any of them!

Make sure to also check out our MAIN Surprise party page for loads of more information on throwing a surprise birthday party.

Read all the following Surprise party tips to ensure you create the coolest and most secretive Surprise party!


  • When throwing a Surprise party it’s always important to appoint a time much earlier, so that even if someone is late twenty minutes, it won’t ruin the surprise.  Make sure you are very clear about it being a Surprise, and tell everyone a few times what time they need to be at the surprise area! If someone is really late to the party and you feel that it could totally ruin the surprise - call them or send them a text message saying they should stay in the car for a few minutes until the surprise is over, then call them when it's already safe for them to arrive.
  • Make sure that no clues (obvious and less obvious) are left lying around that the Surprisee may find out about. For example if you send e-mails to people about the surprise party, and there’s a chance the Surprisee might see them, ERASE them! Or if you went to a cake shop to have a special cake made for the Surprisee with information written on the cake that make it obvious for whom it’s for; and who knows, the Surprisee happened to walk by this cake shop… that could ruin the surprise! (True story by the way…). You have to be on guard and make sure no clues are left around.
  • You might want to think of a dress code. Think about what the Surprisee will be wearing. For example if he or she just came back from the pool or beach, tell everyone not to dress too formal, keep it casual. If it’s possible, tell your guests to dress accordingly; that way, you won't make the Surprisee feel strange. OR a much easier solution is to have some of the Surprisee’s clothes on hand with you or other clothes they can borrow (for example if your throwing a Surprise party Hawaiian-style, give the Surprisee clothes that fit the theme).
  • Sometimes children don’t know how to hold a secret. It’s best not to tell the little ones weeks before (you might want tell them on the day itself or a few hours beforehand).
  • It really pays to plan ahead of time. Of course you can throw a surprise party in a week, but this means you are a very organized person who is able to improvise well. Just in case, try planning a few weeks to even a few months beforehand to lower the chances things will get messed up.
  • This goes for the day of the surprise party. If you are decorating the party area with lights, flashes, bombastic decorations, etc., make sure they aren’t visible from outside the party area (you don’t want to ruin the surprise a few minutes earlier when the Surprisee might become suspicious about the strange decorations in front of their house for example).
  • Don’t forget to film and photograph the surprise moments!! A cool idea is to buy lots of disposable cameras and disperse them around. Give them to as many guests as possible so that when the surprise moment comes along, they can all take a picture from their point of view. That way you have the surprise moment photographed from all kinds of directions and point of views!
  • This may seem obvious, but it’s best to invite people the Surprisee likes. Don’t invite EVERYONE the Surprisee knows just to make it a huge party; it’s best to invite all the people the Surprisee is fond of.
  • You never really know how people will react to a surprise. Does the Surprisee have health problems? If you feel like there may be a chance the Surprisee might faint or anything else, why not have a doctor or nurse on hand, or at-least someone who knows how to deal with these situations (I don’t want to frighten you… just want you to be aware of as many things as possible beforehand and to take it into consideration).
  • Of course a surprise party needs to be hidden, but this doesn’t mean you hide the fact that the Surprisee has a birthday. From trying to hide the idea of a surprise party, it might seem that everyone has forgotten the Surprisee’s birthday, and it’s important not to let them feel this; a ‘forgotten birthday’ can disappoint and hurt them (a surprise party may not compensate their disappointment). So talk about the subject of their birthday easily and calmly… possibly plan a small overt birthday party with them or take them on a small outing before the Surprise party to show them how much you appreciate the special occasion. The best way to be low key about a surprise party is to live life just the way you live it, make it seem like everything is at it’s usual and regular pace.


Surprise Party To-Do List

Here is a simple list you can go by so that you know where to start when throwing a surprise party:

1) Choose a date and time for the surprise after finding out (secretly!) whether the Surprisee will be available that day and time. You might want to consider holding the surprise party before or after the real birthday date, so as to lower suspicion.
2) Decide where you want the surprise to take place (also think about what the Surprisee may prefer or most like), will it be indoors, outdoors, your house, the Surprisee’s house, a park, a hotel, a mall, a concert, a show, a swimming pool, the beach, a campfire, etc.

3) After thinking of the place the surprise may take place, think about a theme you might want to base the surprise party on. Will it be a kidnapping theme, a western theme, a colorful theme? (etc.). Of course your surprise can be just a “Surprise theme” or a party with no theme at all, whatever you choose most suitable.

4) Once you figure out the date, time, place, and theme, think about what help you will need to pull off the surprise. Contact all the people you will need help from and let them know your plans (it’s best to get help from people who are good in keeping a secret and keeping a straight face).

5) Make a list of all the people you want to attend the surprise party itself. Write up invitations or call each one and let them know the date, place, and time. It’s very important to stress being secret about your plans, make it as clear as you can by saying it’s a “SURPRISE” a few times.

  • It might be best to tell the plans verbally face to face or via phone and not to write the information via e-mail (so that the Surprisee doesn’t read it by accident). But if you do send out invitations, make it VERY clear it’s a Surprise party.
  • Invite everyone at-least a half-hour before the surprise, so that even if someone is a bit late, it won’t ruin the surprise.
  • Tell everyone to park their cars out of sight (especially if there are people who have very specific, unique, easily-recognizable cars and license plates). You might want to encourage people to carpool, so that the least amount of cars need to park in the area.
  • If you know there will be people who have a hard time keeping a secret, encourage them not to be in contact too much with the Surprisee a few days before the party.


Don't forget to check out our MAIN throwing a Surprise party page for loads more of important information on throwing a surprise party.