Celebrating Decade Birthdays

Studio 5 Holiday, Party and Ideas Contributor Alisa Bangerter helps us celebrate those decade digits.

_____________________________________________________________DECADE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

• Send invitations with baby photo of the birthday person on them with the party information inside.

• Invite the number of guests as the number of years you are celebrating.

• A cute invite to an older decade party might be attached to a pair of inexpensive reading glasses or bifocals. Check out the dollar store. Attach a tag that states: “LOOK who is tuning 40!”

• Decorate for a decade birthday by placing photos around the room of the person throughout the years. You may even have different areas or tables representing different decades of their life and place items along with the photos that represent that time.

• Hang posters around the room or have scrapbook pages for gusts to sign.

• Ask guests to bring a written memory to share of the birthday person or a photo they have of that person in a previous year. This is fun as you may get really great photos from long ago. Sharing memories of the birthday person also is a good group activity. These stories and memories are great for an older decade party. Compile a book of all the memories for the birthday person.

• Send out a questionnaire to guests to fill in about the birthday person and ask them to bring it to the party. Have things like: “I met John when…” List three words that describe John,” etc.

• Place photo picks on cupcake or on a large cake of the birthday person.

• Make a large timeline poster and place on the wall with dates/photos/info about the birthday person. A timeline might also make a nice table runner.

• Send or make a list of reasons you like the birthday person or of wishes for the coming year. For example if they are turning 20, write 20 reasons why I like you, etc. Have guests each bring a list. This works great as a gift for an older person such as 80 reasons we love Grandma.

• Send a note or e-mail each day for the amount of days you are celebrating as a decade. For example, if you are celebrating a 30 year birthday, do a “30 days of your birthday”. Assign friends and family a day to which they, must e-mail, call or send a card, etc. This tends to work better when celebrating a younger decade versus a decade such as 80.

• Have guests bring the number of items as the decade you are celebrating as a “gift” for the birthday person. Gifts need not be expensive and are more fun if creative. For example, if the person is turning 40, guests must bring 40 items. Items such as pennies, quarters, jokes, candy bars, cans of pop, pencils, packages of Ramen Noodles, roses, songs on a CD, m&m’s in a jar, nail polish, gum, etc. work great. Suggest to guests that a dollar store might be a great place to look for items for this.

• Celebrate a 10 year old party with two of everything. This represents the birthday person reaching double digits. For example you could have two cakes. Maybe give gifts in pairs such as two shirts, two books, two Barbie dolls, etc.

• A fun game to play at a decade party might be Bingo. Make the squares on the bingo card have facts form the birthday persons life. Another fun game might be two lies and a truth game. Have facts about the birthday person and state one truth and two lies (or vise versa) have guests guess the fact that is the truth.

• A fun game might be to have a surprise party and to invite many people from the persons life such as friends, family, coworkers, etc. Have each guest hide behind a door and give clues to the birthday person until he guesses who the guest is. This can be a lot of fun!

• Give the number of gifts to the birthday person as the decade they are celebrating. For example give 10 gifts to someone celebrating a 10 year birthday. If you are celebrating a large decade such as 90 you may wish to divide up the number of gifts between guests.

• Write a story and leave blanks that can be filled in about the birthday persons life. You could also make a questionnaire. See who can fill in the most correctly and who knows the birthday person best. Set a time limit for this.

• Have trivia about the decade the person was born in or grew up in. You could also base a party theme around the decade the person was born in or the decade of their teenage years. Have guests dress like the decade 1920’s, 1930’s, 1950’s, 1960’s, 1980’s etc. Match décor accordingly. You may wish to give a gift or music to the birthday person from that decade. A source for retro candy online is: woodstockcandy.com

• A person tuning 50 might appreciate a golden decade birthday party. Decorate everything with a gold theme and make it a more elegant classy celebration.

• Have a “sweet 60’s” party based on the idea of a “sweet 16” party.

• A “baby” shower type party might be a fun alternative to an “over the hill” party. Celebrate the birthday persons “youth.” A child’s party theme might also be fun. Decorate like a child’s party with bright balloons, party hats, favors, etc. Play some classic games such as Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Musical Chairs, etc. Have a cute cake and give some classic toys or board games as gifts. Be creative.

• Although this is not a decade birthday usually, celebrating a “golden” birthday is fun. A “golden” birthday is when you turn the amount of years as the date you were born. For example, your birthday is on the 25th so it is when you turn 25. You only have one “golden” birthday.

• Create a slide show about the birthday person. Include things from history from when they were born.

• If you are celebrating a 100 year birthday make it a huge party! Older decade parties like this might be a fun time to have grandchildren present a play of the birthday persons life.

• Remember to take lots of photos of these events – photos are priceless.


Sometimes it is fun to do an “over the hill” type party when someone has reached a certain decade such as 40, 50 or 60 years old. Make sure that the person would find it fun and not be offended by it.

• Place numerous black helium balloons in a room so they float to the ceiling -with the streamers/ribbons hanging down. Guests must walk through the ribbons.

• Have a florist deliver dead and wilted flowers to the birthday person.

• Have a florist send a bouquet of totally black flowers to the birthday person. You can create your own by purchasing an inexpensive bouquet of flowers and spraying them with Design Master black spray paint (available at craft stores). Make sure to add a large black bow.

• Send out invitations that read as an obituary – make sure to add humor and make it obvious that it is a birthday celebration and not the real thing. The invite could even look like a grave marker with party info.

• Send invitations and include a blank card and stamped black envelope with the invitation. Give instructions for the recipient to fill out the card with a birthday greeting and to send it to the birthday person the week of their birthday. They will receive a lot of black mail! This can also be done alone with no party.

• Fill a gift basket with products that people need as they get older. Add things like a magnifying glass, pill sorter, denture products, wrinkle creams, etc. Be creative.

• Send a package of brochures or newspapers ads to the birthday person for services for the aging. Gather up information from nursing homes, mortuaries, medical clinics, Medicare information, etc.

• If you are invited to a decade party, show up dressed in black as if you are in mourning. This is fun, even if the party is not an “over the hill.”

• Hold a mock funeral and read a eulogy, etc. Make it humorous.

• Pick up the birthday person in a hearse for a ride to a restaurant or celebration party.

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