Surprise Birthday Party Ideas

Coming up with believable surprise birthday party ideas to lure the guest of honor to the party isn't as easy as it looks. At the very least you'll need a somewhat original idea if you don't want them to suspect anything.

We have a great list of original and sneaky ideas to help you pull it off. But first...

If we've learned anything about planning a surprise party, it's this: be sure the guest of honor enjoys surprises!

We have a friend who'd crawl under the sofa in horror if a bunch of people jumped out at her. We're assuming you do want to be on speaking terms when the party's over.

This next bit is critical if your guest of honor's a woman.

At the risk of sounding sexist, but for the sake of all women around the world, it's probably also a wise idea to make sure she's dressed in a way that wouldn't embarrass her, i.e., do not let the poor woman show up in her old sweats and stained t-shirt.

And, please, if you know she'd want to be seen in her contacts and makeup, find some way to tell her to put them on. 

Now For Our Super Sneaky
Surprise Party Ideas!

The Time Line Countdown

Invite the guest of honor to your house under whatever pretense you can devise. Have your guests inside waiting. You might want to arrange for their cars to be parked a block or two away, so the birthday guy or gal doesn't get suspicious too soon.

Using garden stakes, create a timeline along the path to your front door noting four or five special moments in his or her life (sort of like an extremely abbreviated version of "This is your Life").The timeline will give the person a sense that something is up, but won't give him/her enough time to bolt.

When you answer the guest of honor's knock at the door, be sure to hold up one last garden stake with the date and "So and so's Surprise Birthday Party!" written on it. Then let general mayhem ensue.

The Private Room at the Restaurant Trick

Invite the birthday honoree out to dinner at a restaurant that has a private room for large groups. Arrange for the party guests to be in that room before you and the guest of honor arrive for your meal. Have that room all set up for the celebration. Instruct the guests to make party noises once you've arrived and have been seated. Make sure, though, that no distinct voices or laughs come through.

Sit down (at a table near this private room) and order. Clue the restaurant staff in on this and ask them to bring you appetizers only, not entrees. As the gathering in the private room gets louder and more boisterous, suggest to your friend that you both go and check out that interesting party. If they're reluctant, just drag them. Surprise!

The Afternoon Bike Ride Diversion

Invite the special person for an afternoon bike ride. Plan a route that will take you by a park or other area where you can have your guests waiting for a surprise birthday picnic. Have the party-goers arrive early and set up the blankets and the food. Then just bike right up to the party.

The Party on a Train Trick

Invite the birthday guy or gal to go with you into the city (or other fun place that you can take a train to). Have the party guests board the train at a stop before yours. If they can all sit in the first or last car it will be easier to find them. Board the train, find the party and enjoy the day in the city!

The Art Gallery Fake Out

Invite the surprisee to a (pretend) art gallery opening. Rent space somewhere for the party and decorate the walls with poster-sized framed prints of the guest of honor taken throughout his or her life. and are two online photo development sites that will enlarge photos for you. You can buy very inexpensive poster frames at your local craft store. When you and the surprisee arrive at the party, the guests should already be there mingling with cocktails. Surprise!