Surprise Party Ideas

Lots of great surprise party ideas

Want some surprise party ideas to help plan a great event honoring someone special? Here are some of our favorite tips to help you organize, plan, and host a truly memorable celebration.

Ideas for Pre-Planning a Surprise Party

Before even thinking about putting together all of your super surprise party ideas, remember that this is an event for, and all about, your guest of honor. Ask yourself, does this person enjoy surprises? Would he or she feel comfortable being the center of attention at a party? If the answer to these questions is YES, read on!

Obviously, surprise is the name of the game at a surprise party. It is also most often the biggest challenge. That’s why it’s really important to have a plan in place when organizing your celebration. Here are some things to consider:

If you are celebrating a birthday, your guest of honor is probably expecting some kind of recognition. You might want to have your surprise birthday a week early so it is more unexpected. On the day of your event you will need time to prepare. Enlisting the help of friends is a great way to buy some time. Recruit helpers to plan a diversion activity before the party. This should be something that takes up a couple of hours, such as a movie, a round of golf, a light meal, or a manicure. Having your guest of honor out with friends not only hides your party preparations, but also makes sure that he or she is available on the day of the event.

If you buy any supplies beforehand, consider storing them with a friend or neighbor so that they don’t give you away.

If you have young children, it is probably a good idea to keep them in the dark about the party until the last minute. Keeping a secret is hard, and for kids, it can be downright impossible.


Surprise Party Ideas for Invitations

Once you’ve outlined your party plans, you next need to spread the word and make sure everybody keeps things quiet. Here are some important surprise party ideas to consider when writing and sending your invitations:

Make sure your invitations clearly tell your guests that this is a surprise party. This should be in the main title of your invites so there is no question as to whether your guest of honor knows about the event.

On your invitations, ask your guests to arrive at least 30-45 minutes before your guest of honor will show up.

Ask your guests to park a distance away from the party venue. It might look suspicious to come home to Uncle Bill’s 1975 gold El Camino parked in front of the house!

Suggest a dress code based on what the guest of honor will be wearing. If your guests show up in evening attire and your guest of honor has just come back from a round of golf, they might feel a little uncomfortable.

Consider inviting a special guest. Is there someone who means a lot to your guest of honor but lives a distance away? Having them there might make your party just that much more wonderful.

You can always find lots of great online party invitations with a free RSVP manager at Evite,


Here are some great surprise party invitations available for purchase from our friends at

Streamers Surprise Party Invitations

Starburst Surprise Party Invitations

Awesome Surprise Party Invitations


Surprise Party Ideas for Venue and Activities


Where will your event be held? Hosting your party at home is always a good option, but you might consider some other places as well. Is there somewhere that is special to your guest of honor, like a certain park or restaurant? Is he or she a sports fan who would really love to celebrate at a game? Sometimes throwing a party in a different venue can be even easier than doing it at home. Here are some fun surprise party ideas with a twist:

Rent a Local Movie Theater — Is there a small theater near you? A fun option for a surprise party is renting a theater and showing a “this is your life” preview movie featuring your guest of honor. Follow this up with a favorite movie for all of your guests to enjoy.

The Quiet Dinner Surprise Party — Rent a favorite restaurant (or a room in a favorite restaurant). Then ask your guests to show up 20-40 minutes AFTER you and your guest of honor. When you arrive, it will be totally empty. As your guests trickle in, ask them to make it seem totally coincidental. See how long it takes before your guest of honor realizes that the restaurant is filling with all her friends and family!

A Special Sporting Event — Buy a section of seats at a favorite sporting event and plan a quiet dinner style surprise party. Don’t forget to call the arena and ask for a special birthday message to be posted on the score board


You’ve made your plans, sent your invites, and chosen your venue, but you’re a little worried what to do after shouting surprise? Here are a few surprise party ideas for activities:

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry — Great food and cocktails can set the stage for a fun evening. Consider having your event catered. Having the support of servers who will help with the prep, serving, and clean up can take a lot of stress out of the party planning process.

Music and Dancing — What kind of music does your guest of honor enjoy? Before the party, make a playlist of his favorite hits to run during the event. Later you might clear a space and encourage some dancing or even karaoke. If your budget allows, hiring a band is often well worth the cost.

Remember that this celebration is about the guest of honor. When making your plans, always ask yourself what they would enjoy. Do they like wine tasting or group games? These can both be great options for party activities.

Surprise Party Decorations

Looking for a few good ideas for decorating? Think personalization!

A photo cake is perfect for a surprise party

A photo cake is a fun idea for a surprise party

Personalized Tableware and Favors — Use plates and cups personalized with special pictures of your guest of honor. You could also make photo stickers to use on favors or even to have your guests wear around!

This is Your Life Photo Collage — Ask your guests to bring pictures of the guest of honor. Then put up a large bulletin board or poster board area where they can be hung for a walk down memory lane. After the party you can assemble all the photos into a keepsake scrapbook.

Memory Box — Purchase a special decorative box and some pretty blank notecards. Set these up on a table at the party and ask your guests to share a memory they have of the guest of honor and drop it into the memory box. You can either share these at the party or keep them as private remembrances.

Personalized Slide Show — Create a slide show of special memories to run as a background to your decorations.

Memorabilia tables are great for decorating at a surprise partyA Few of My Favorite Things — Incorporate any special hobbies, teams, animals, or other things that are important to your guest of honor in your decorations.

Shock and Awe — When in doubt, go all out! Consider making a giant balloon arch as an entrance, or giving your guests confetti poppers or silly string as part of the initial surprise factor for your party.

*** Don’t forget that this event is a surprise, so your decorations should only be visible inside your party area so they don’t give you away!

Hope you found some helpful surprise party ideas on this page. Have fun!

If you enjoyed these surprise party ideas, you might also enjoy these parties:

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