Do You Have Any Ideas For an 80th Birthday Party?

MidnightStormJanuary 5, 2007

My father is turning 80 years old in March. I'd like to plan a surprise birthday party for him. Does anyone have any ideas for fun or unique things I can do or have at this party?

Thank you for your help!

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Hi midnightstorm. Congratulations to your dad on turning 80! I remember my beloved dad's 80th birthday. We had a cookout as it was in August.

But something I did for my parents' special anniversary party one year might be fun for your dad and the guests. I thought up a bunch of trivia about my folks and made up a list of questions & multiple choice answers that I had the little kids pass out at the beginning of the party with some pencils. After the meal I went to the mike and we went through the list with people calling out their answers - it got really funny and people were surprised to learn some things.

For example, and this is a simple one, a question was: What is their actual anniversary date (the party wasn't on the specific day)?

Then I gave 3 possible dates around then, and the last choice was "Surprise! They're not really married!". I know, corny. But every question had 4 possible answers, and at least 1 answer was intended to be funny.

One question was "What did xxx do on his 70th birthday?". One answer was "Rode to Canada in the sidecar of xxx's (his friend's) motorcycle". And that was the correct answer!

As we went through about 20 questions like this, people loved learning some things that they didn't know.

It also delighted some of the guests to have a question in there specific to them, such as the motorcycle owner, above.

So - maybe you could do something like that.


    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 8:37AM
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My cousins had HIGH TEA for my aunts 80th birthday,
the invites was a collage of pics thruout her life nad on the tables were different pics thru out also
I know your dad probably won't want high tea but a gathering at the church or town hall in the town he lives in where everyone is invited would be fun
my cousins asked several selectman to speak, her best friend and they did a slide show and just let it play throughout the afternoon
At 80 though yelling surprise and jumping at him may not be a good idea!!!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 3:46PM
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I made a "Memory Box" for my MIL-- had everyone in the family e-mail me some memories about her-- "I remember when you took me camping", "I remember when we got the '45 Buick", "I remember when you burned the pork chops and set off the smoke alarms"--- or whatever they might be. I typed them up, cut them apart, folded them up and put them in a gift box. She has since put them all in a scrapbook and re-reads them often-- says it's the best present she ever got.

You could have each guest write a memory on a file card as they come in, and then read them off later.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 2:59AM
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I think that 80 is an age to be celebrated and respected, so I do hope you're going to go with something tasteful, rather than hokey.

For mom's 80th, we sent out invites to everyone we knew who knew her--and passed the word that they were to pass the word around about the party. She lives in a senior apt., so we borrowed the meeting room--it's the size of a small catering hall. We decorated, put out appetizers and desserts (and a huge cake), and had people dropping in and out all afternoon. It was lovely, and everyone enjoyed the party. Quiet, toned down, casual, relaxing (for all of us), but it made for a really nice party.

Mom's going to be 85, in a couple of weeks. This time, as she's pretty much housebound and doesn't have a lot of social life left, we'll just have the family at my sister's house. Mom gets so tired out so quickly these days, that the days of big, elaborate parties are over, I'm afraid.

But the point here is--you need to match the party type, to your father's lifestyle and preferences. Does he like to be the center of attention? Would he enjoy (or be embarrassed by) silly party games? Would he like something formal? or is he more of a jeans/bbq in the back yard kind of guy? No matter what kind of party WE want to give, I think it's really important to remember what kind of party THEY would like to get.

Best wishes on his next decades--may they be happy and healthy.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 11:27AM
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Azzalea - I totally agree with you. I hope that my post didn't imply that what we did for my parents' anniversary was hokey - although I can see where it would sound that way. I assure you that the 20 questions were loving, fun, and endearing. There was laughter, applause, smiles, "awwwwws", and surprised "Oh wow's". Everyone participated and there was nothing that trivialized or cheapened anything.

I'm not saying that you were referring to me ... I'm just saying that I totally agree that one should know their audience and plan accordingly, with a strong evidence of love, admiration, and respect throughout. Each activity of the day should complement the other, and be planned specifically for the honoree(s) and their personalities.

In our case, we didn't have a surprise party. I decided that my parents should know about it and have me invite those that they wanted there, and we did. We'd had a number of successful surprise parties throughout their lives, including those for birthdays (my Dad's 80th), anniversaries (multiple), and other, so for their 60th anniversary decided to ask them to be involved in the planning. They were happy to be, and told us the people they most wanted there. Other parts of the day were a surprise, but planned according to my parents' personalities and the guests.

Anyway, to midnightstorm, I hope you come back and tell us what you're planning and then what you did. What works for some may not work for others; you know your Dad. I envy you; I wish my Dad was still her so I could celebrate his 92nd this year. I lost him 2 years ago. My Mom is doing very well. Enjoy them while you can.

My very best to you as you plan the special day.


    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 5:43PM
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I'm getting starting to plan my mom's 70th so I'm in a similar situation (just a decade behind!) We are having a dinner party at our house with her brothers and sister and their spouses (all from different areas of the country). It will be on her birthday, and is certainly in honor of her, but it is also a reunion of sorts. Having everyone together to just sit and tell stories about growing up is the best gift I could give her.
My mom's lived in several states so I'm planning on a menu to highlight specialties from each place- lobster (Boston), NY Strip (NY), etc. Her sister is collecting pictures from all the trips she's taken and making a scrapbook. Since there are so few to do, the invite will be an actual framed picture of the brothers and sisters when they were younger, with the invitation laid in the middle saying "No matter how many years pass, no matter how far you go, there's nothing like celebrating with family."
I hope that helps - and I'd appreciate any feedback and advice too!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 7:17PM
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My brother and 2 sisters and I had a blast planning my mother's 70th birthday party. We come from a very corny family that loves to sing together so keep that in mind when reading what we did.

We all dressed the same--light green tops and white bottoms. Kids, spouses and grandkids. Why? Because we did a skit. It was fashioned after a Bill Cosby Show episode and was called, "When Mom Was my Age." It took quite a bit of research. We lined up oldest to youngest and stepped forward one by one to say, When Mom was my age the year was 1980. Ronald Regan had just been elected president for the first time, Charlie's Angels was the number one show on TV (here my sisters and I adopted the Charlie's Angels huddle with guns that's their 'trademark'), and a gallon of gas cost $1.10.

Then the next youngest (my sister) stood forward. At one point we all hummed the theme from Star Wars, another point we all did the Hustle. We tried to get as much sound and movement into each person's fact recitation as possible. Each of us said 2 facts about the times and ended with the cost of a gallon of gas. It took a lot of prompting to get our 4 year old neice to say her lines at the end (a gallon of gas was around 24 cents) but the whole thing was a big hit.

We also did a Powerpoint presentation to music. My mother's childhood photos to In My Life by the Beatles, her early married life to What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong, pictures of us growing up, getting married, the grandchildren to Through the Years by Kenny Rogers.

On the tables we had small Hershey candies with computer made wrappers with photographs. For favors, each guest got a larger sized Hersey Bar with a photo of them with my mother at some point in life with the words, Thanks for sharing Connie's birthday.

The table numbers were made from an enlarged black and white photo of her from a beauty pagent in her early 20's. We glued them to foam board, secured them to bases and put them out like a large paper doll holding a number and stood one on each table.

My parents taught us songs to sing in the car for long rides. My siblings and I did a corny rendition of Down By the Old Mill Stream with fake moustaches after a funny story about how my father dealt with us in the car.

My SIL made a big scrapbook with contributions from all the party guests. It took her over 6 months to gather the photos, stories and rememberences from everyone.

My husband, a radio DJ, was MC and kept the day flowing smoothly.

All in all, we had a terrific time. Everyone was entertained, well fed and my mother still brings the party up when we're together. She says she watches the DVD of the party every once in awhile, too.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 6:09AM
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I'm 65 and the second wife. the first died in 2000 and they were married almost 50 years. i have not even had the opportunity to meet many of his family as they live across the country. we have created a family of sorts here with activists and friends. most of your ideas are great, how they relate to a blended (since he has been 70) family i am not so sure. thanks for being here kasha

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 7:40AM
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My husband will be 80 in April 2011. My best friend has opened her home to us because we live in an apartment with very little room to entertain. I am compiling a digital photo frame filled with pictures of his life and family, both former and now. Also, I will have a photographer on duty to take party pics. I have had M&M's imprinted with several messages and pictures. We will decorate with an Air Force theme. Regarding invitations, I plan to send invitations to personal friends, but, wonder if it is proper to slip a special invitation into the mail boxes of all the members of our small church. I understand only about 1/3 of a group will attend anything usually. Does anyone have suggestions for wording. Or, any imput would be appreciated. Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 3:57PM
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