Birthday Parties for All Ages

Birthday Parties for All Ages
Birthday parties are fun for everyone. And they’re easy to throw because there are so many ways to celebrate. Day or night, casual or formal, they can be any way you want.

Choose a Theme

The age and interests of the birthday person will determine how you celebrate. Think about the following:

  • Very young children: Little kids get tired quickly, so a simple cake-and-ice cream party with hats and streamers will be best and great for pictures. Invite the moms and dads, too.
  • School-age kids: Since they’ll enjoy dressing up as pirates, princesses or their favorite cartoon character, plan a costume party with lots of games to play.
  • Teenagers: They might prefer to invite only their girlfriends or just the guys they hang with. If so, consider a pajama party for the girls or a night of pizza and bowling.
  • Adults: Anything goes with adults. Some suggestions include:
    • A Blast From the Past: Ask everyone to dress like they did in high school; play their favorite rock ’n’ roll tunes.
    • Black & White Ball: Use these colors for everything from the invitations and clothes guests wear to the icing on the cake.
    • Hooray for Hollywood: Have everyone dress up as a celebrity — even if it’s just big sunglasses and lots of “jewels.”
    • This Is Your Life: Gather family albums and stories about an older person’s life; surprise them with friends they haven’t seen for decades or their videotaped greetings.
    • Mardi Gras: Recreate this festival with glittery decorations, a colorful buffet table and sparklers on the cake.

Decorate the House

People know it’s party time when the house is decorated. Keep them in the mood from the moment they arrive to the minute they leave:

  • Front door: Cut out different sizes of gold paper stars and tape or paste them on the door. Center one of them with a photo of the birthday boy or girl. You can also put up big numbers with their age along with a bunch of balloons or spell out “happy birthday” in glittery letters.
  • Table: Use the colors from the theme you’ve chosen for the tablecloth and napkins, plates and glasses. Make a special punch and put it in a large bowl with floating ice cubes you’ve frozen with blueberries or cherries.
  • Centerpiece: The birthday cake — don’t light the candles yet! — can be the centerpiece. If you’re going to bring it out later while everyone sings, have a bouquet of flowers as the centerpiece in the theme colors. For example, you could choose pink flowers for a girls’ pajama party.
  • “Goody” bags: Give everyone a colorful bag of cookies or candy on their way out the door. Display them during the party on a table nearby.

Cake, Ice Cream and More

  • Blowing out the birthday candles is the highlight of the birthday party — plan it carefully so no one misses it. Decide the best time to gather the guests, light the candles and bring out the cake.
  • Decide where you’ll cut and serve the cake — and ice cream, if you’re having that, too.
  • Put out the beverages — pink lemonade, champagne, sparkling wine or sparkling ginger ale-punch are delicious and festive.
  • Lay out the knife, plates and forks.
  • Wrap up any leftover cake for the birthday person to enjoy the next day.

A birthday party is a wonderful way to celebrate a friend or family member’s life. Use some of these ideas for hosting your next birthday party, and you’ll have everyone looking forward to next year’s!

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