Written by Shutterfly
A 50th birthday is one of the biggest milestones in life. If your loved one is turning 50, it’s important to celebrate. Throw a party that honors all the amazing things the honoree has done and will do. Kick off your party planning with our list of the best 50th birthday party ideas. We outline everything from food and drink to decor and gift ideas to have a memorable celebration.
A fun element to any birthday, but especially a 50th birthday, is when the birthday guy or gal opens their gifts. Find the perfect personalized gift—whether that’s a photo mug, canvas, or photo book. Just be sure the gift has heart and feeling so your loved one feels extra special on their big day.
Fun 50th Birthday Party Ideas For Anyone
If you’re planning a classic 50th bash, you’re probably looking for ideas that work perfectly for anyone. The following ideas guarantee everyone having fun at the party. And once you’ve picked a theme, make sure to check out our resource on fun party games to include.
Cheers To 50 Years: Feature the guest of honor’s favorite drink and get the party started. This is also a perfect theme to share a meaningful toast.
Props to You: Congratulate your loved one on everything they’ve achieved through the years. Create a photobooth are with plenty of pops with fun sayings to kick off the event.
Rock Stars: Bring in a live band and celebrate their birthday in style. This theme features lots of dancing, perfect for your rocking loved one.
Kids at Heart: No matter their age, the guest of honor is young at heart. Showcase this at their 50th birthday through youthful decor. Things like bright balloons, candy, and games make perfect additions.
50’s Decade Party: Not only do the 50’s have great decor, but they also make for a perfect 50th party theme. Encourage guests to dress in costume and include a retro soundtrack for the night.
50th Birthday Party Ideas For Men
Whether you’re trying to find a party idea for a husband, father, friend, or other, we’ve got you covered. Check out our ideas for the “him” in your life.
Silver Fox Party: Pick stunning silver decor and dress to the nines for this classy event. This is the perfect way to tell the guest of honor they’ll never go out of style.
Fifty Years, Beers, and Cheers: Is the guest of honor a brewmaster or just a beer lover? Then they’ll love a party centered around their favorite beverage. For a centerpiece meant to impress, consider stacking 50 beers in a pyramid.
The Man, the Myth, The Legend: This theme highlights the guest of honor as the legend you know he is. To carry out this idea, make sure to include banners or a chalkboard that reads “The Man, The Myth, The Legend.” And make sure to leave time for a toast.
Then to Now (Timeline Party): Print out a timeline of the birthday boy with custom photos of him as a kid, a teen, and an adult. Enjoy the memories throughout the party and leave space for guests to leave kind notes.
Pops Party: Let Pops know he’s loved with a popsicle and soda party. Not only will this bring out his inner kid, but it’s also perfect for a party in the warmer months.
50th Birthday Party Ideas For Women
These 50th birthday ideas for her capture how special she is in your life. If you have a mother, grandmother, or sister turning 50, check out the following for inspiration.
One Hot Tamale: No matter her age, your loved one is always a stand out. Let her know with this play-on-words theme that features jars of hot tamales and spicy entrees. Make sure to include plenty of red in the decor and dress code.
Nothing to Wine About: If the guest of honor has a taste for wine, make sure to include plenty on their birthday. Try to buy vintage wines and have each guest bring their favorite bottle for a truly memorable wine tasting filled night.
Jetsetter: Does Mom love to travel? Does she have a favorite country? If so, this makes the perfect party theme. Include plenty of world map decor and include her favorite foods from a country dear to her heart.
A Sweet Five-O: Use candy, cupcakes, or any other sweet to spell out 50 on a dessert table. Include glass jars throughout the party filled with fifty of any of these treats. This theme is perfect for bringing a little sugar to the party.
A Family Affair: Let the matriarch of your family know she’s loved through a family focused event. Include plenty of family photos and feature family recipes on the menu. Help her welcome her golden birthday with all her loved ones at her side.
Memorable 50th Surprise Party Themes
Some people love surprise parties. Just remember, not everyone loves a jump scare. Check out these special surprise themes that show unexpected care and love below:
Scavenger Hunt: Create a scavenger hunt for the honoree. Feature special memories from their life or their favorite foods for a fun and surprising twist. At the end of the hunt, lead them to their party so they can celebrate with loved ones.
Dinner Party: If the honoree is a lover of all things food, throw a dinner party. Feature their favorite dishes and have all their loved ones there. Most importantly, don’t let them do the dishes!
(Te)quila with Kindness: Celebrate half a century with the honoree’s favorite liquor. This is a fun adults-only party with an opportunity for themed shot glasses and toasts.
50 Years Back: Decorate for this theme by transforming the venue back in time to the year the guest of honor was born. When they walk into the surprise they’ll love the throwback style.
Favorite Decade Party: Decorate the venue with a theme from the honoree’s favorite decade. Whether it’s a 70’s hippie dress code or 80’s disco party, they’ll love walking into this surprise.
Elegant 50th Ideas
If the guest of honor is known for their elegant style you’ll want to throw a party to match. Check out our more mature celebration ideas for inspiration.
Vintage Classic: For a guest of honor who’s got great style, throw a vintage party. Use art deco style decorations and old-fashioned foods. Include classic-style chalkboard signs and plenty of champagne for a fun, yet mature, party.
The Golden Milestone: Bling out your party with a golden milestone theme. Use golden decor like mylar balloons, confetti, and table runners. Have the guest of honor dress in gold with the rest of the guests in black for stand-out elegant photos.
Black and White: This theme is a classic for reason. Use plenty of black and white decor and use simple and delicious drinks and food. For a fun touch, have all guests under 50 wear black and all guests over 50 wear white.
The Great Gatsby: Known for luxury and excess, this makes the perfect theme for an out-of-this-era party. With a 20’s themed dress code, art deco decor, and plenty of champagne, guests will talk about this celebration for years to come.
Birthday Gala: This theme means a large venue and even bigger guest list. Have everyone dress to the nines and order decorations to match. Honor your loved one with a celebration only they could pull off.
Ideas For Party Decorations
Party decorations make a party come alive. Make sure your 50th birthday party highlights the honoree with the following ideas.
50 Rocks! Think lots and lots of pop rock candy and signs that read “50 Rocks!” For an added touch, include stones with themed wording. This makes for a light hearted and fun theme for any 50th birthday party.
Golden Decorations: This theme plays into celebrating your loved one’s golden milestone. Use gold accents in balloons, streamers, confetti, and anything else you want. When the guest of honor walks in they’ll love this golden decor.
Throwback Decor: Take advantage of your party to print tons of throwback photos of your loved one. Create customized banners or posters of those special old photos. This is a great way to show how much the guest of honor changed over the years.
Photo Booth: A photo booth is a perfect focal point for any 50th birthday party. Create plenty of props and make a special backdrop, then let your guests go wild.
Singable Posters: One photo perfect way to capture the special person the birthday is all about is through signable custom posters. Print your favorite photo of the birthday boy or girl and then leave plenty of space on the border. Give all of your guests markers and have them sign the poster with kind words and well wishes.
Ideas For 50th Birthday Gifts
When the party’s over, you’ll want your guest of honor to walk away with something special. Use these tips when coming up with the right birthday gift for a loved one. If you’re looking for a more complete list of ideas check out our resource on gift exchange ideas for parties.
Photobook: This classic gift perfectly plays into a 50th birthday theme and adds value for years to come. Highlight the years of amazing things your loved one has done with a custom photo book.
Jar of Messages: Have everyone special to the honoree write a kind message and store them in a jar for later. Whether it’s from a coworker, daughter, or mother, these are perfect and special to make.
Travel Fund: Is there somewhere that your loved one has been dying to go? Have all guests contribute to a travel fund for the guest of honor. When they find out that special vacation is already funded, your loved one will feel truly appreciated.
Spa Day: This is a great way to extend the guest of honor’s special day. A spa day will help them relax and unwind, and it’s a perfect birthday gift.
Photo Printed Chocolates: Who doesn’t love chocolate? Take this classic gift a step farther by getting custom printed photo chocolate. Use images that celebrate the many things the guest of honor has done, or use family photos. It’s a great way to bring a smile to your loved one’s face.
Inspiration For Birthday Party Invitations
Birthday invitations tell your guests all the important information like the theme, date, location and more. Check out these ideas for inspiration when picking your cards. Then, once you’ve picked a deign check out our resource on what to include in a party invitation or our piece on party invitation wording.
Surprise Birthday Party Invites: Shhhhh, don’t spoil the surprise! Make this clear from the start by using a surprise birthday invitation.
Golden Foil Invites: A classic choice for a special birthday. Golden foil birthday invitations are beautifully designed and perfect for any 50th celebration.
Vintage Signage Invites: These invites are classy and clean, a perfect way to tell your guests about the upcoming elegant affair.
Timeline Invites: Use a childhood photo and a current photo to show all the guests just how far the honoree has come. Timeline invites make a perfect 50th thematic tie in.
Humor Filled Invites: Is the birthday boy or girl known for their sense of humor? If so, consider using a comical invite to announce their upcoming party.
Food And Drinks For A 50th Birthday Party
Foods and drinks are more than just an average party staple. Without them, guests are left hungry and disappointed, but the right choice brings a party to life. Make sure your food and drinks tie into your theme with the following five ideas, or with our complete resource on birthday party food ideas.
Chocolate Kisses: This sweet makes a perfect tie into a 50th birthday party. Use gold foil kisses and fill jars with 50 chocolates each. Also, use custom signage to bring focus to the decorations.
Vintage Food and Drinks: Classic cokes, retro candy, and old fashioned recipes are great ways to celebrate the passing decades. Make sure to also include any foods or recipes that the guest of honor loves.
Famous Food by Decade: Similar to the vintage food and drinks, this theme plays on the passage of time. Separate dishes by decade to feature all the changes that have happened over the years.
Custom Cocktails: Create a custom cocktail that represents the guest of honor. Or, consider creating a custom mocktail menu for those that want non-alcoholic options.
Guest of Honor’s Favorites: It’s important to always consider fan favorites of the honoree’s. If they love apple pie or if baked potatoes bars always bring a smile to their face, include it on the menu.
Ideas For Party Favors
Party favors help preserve the amazing memories made at the party. Send your guests home with something that represents the honoree and the good times shared with the following ideas.
Decorated Cookies: Decorated cookies are a tasty classic that won’t add clutter in the long run. Decorate the frosting with the honoree’s name and “50th” for a special touch.
Bottle Openers: Customized bottle openers are both useful and fun. With these favors, you’ll make sure the honoree stays the life of the party.
Wine Glasses: Adding the name of the honoree, party theme, and date to wine glasses make the perfect party favor. This is a great option for more elegant parties.
Customized Mugs: Mugs are useful for anyone’s daily routine. Make the honoree the focus of everyone’s morning with a customized photo mug.
50 Pennies For Your Thoughts: This is a simple and cheap to create an option that adds special meaning. Fill small jars with 50 pennies and write “50 Pennies for Your Thoughts.” Then add the honoree’s name and age on the jar.
After all party planning is said and done, you’ll have created a celebration to remember. Make sure to enjoy it and spend time with your loved ones. Also, don’t forget to take plenty of photos. You’ll want to remember this party in years to come. Planning the perfect 50th birthday party means spending time with the ones you love and buying a personalized custom gift that your loved one will appreciate and remember.