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Planning a Surprise Party

Category Birthday
Planning a surprise party can be a lot of fun. Keeping the party a secret can be a bit tricky though. This is a guide about planning a surprise party.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
September 28, 2017

How can you throw a surprise party without them figuring it out? Especially when you are walking up to a restaurant?


September 28, 20170 found this helpful

Everyone who is invited to the party has to definitely keep their mouths zipped and show no clues to the person who is going to be surprised.

All guests would need to be present at the restaurant before hand. Then you would go with the person who will be surprised and everyone will be there! Surprise.

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September 28, 20170 found this helpful

Make the person believe that this is just a small dinner to enjoy their birthday. Have the others already at the restaurant before you get there.

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September 28, 20170 found this helpful

I was surprised at my 33rd at a restaurant. My husband had everyone show up and had me arrive 25 minutes late while they all had appetizers and drinks. They were all sat at the very end corner of the restaurant and my husband was distracting me as we walked over by fiddling with my outfit until SURPRISE!!!


The biggest part is that everyone is there first and pacified with bites and drinks.

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September 28, 20170 found this helpful

This will take careful planning on your part.

  • You can arrange with the restaurant to have a table in the back reserved for you and your guests.
  • Tell the guest they all need to be there at the table waiting for you to arrive. Let them know you will arrive 20 minutes after them.
  • Make sure the people know how important this is and it is a surprise party so they should be on time.
  • When you arrive at the restaurant give you name and have them take you to the table. Let him know you have already reserved your table and it should be waiting for you when you arrive.
  • Once they take you to the table that is when he will see everyone and be surprised for his birthday.
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September 29, 20170 found this helpful

Hiding a surprise party.

  • Swear everyone to secrecy.
  • Have one person you will text when your coming she can alert the rest and make sure everyone is inside.
  • Ad

  • If there is another close place to park have them park there.
  • Hopefully he or she does not reconize the vehicles.
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September 30, 20170 found this helpful

Surprise parties do sometimes have "mishaps" but that mishap many times turns out to be the thing remembered most. So - don't worry about it being perfect as "perfect" isn't always the most fun.

  • I would think about trying to be very normal about where you are planning this event as that in itself could be a tip off.
  • Is this a first time party or have you and this person had similar (not necessarily surprise) parties before?
  • Is it a normal thing for you to take or go with them to a restaurant?
  • If it is an unusual thing then you may have to come up with some "acceptable/good" reasons why this is happening.
  • Be sure to pick a restaurant with the type of food they like or maybe you just want to try something new..
  • Be sure to plan it so there is no other commitment for the evening and everyone can enjoy themselves.

I believe it is a "given" that you will have to be sure your other guests have sealed lips.
Date/surprise is not planned too far ahead so no one "slips" up at the wrong time.
Act as normal/casual as possible and expect minor problems.
Choose restaurant carefully and let hostess know the details so your table will be in the area least seen from the front door/entrance.
Be sure to check it out before the event.

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September 28, 20111 found this helpful

It's my boyfriend's 21st birthday soon and I am planning him a surprise party at a billiards hall. I was hoping someone would have a suggestion on how to make it better!

Thanks for your time.

By Jenna W.


September 28, 20110 found this helpful

Alcohol baby! 21st birthday. :)

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January 11, 20060 found this helpful

A group of 4th graders will be saying farewell to their young student teacher. I am to help decorate the classroom for a surprise party in her honor. What can I make in advance to put up during lunch hour to make this young lady feel special?


Karen from Roseville, MI


By Connie A. (Guest Post)
January 11, 20060 found this helpful

This may sound strange but I think a hand chain would be great. Each student can trace their hand and cut it out of black construction paper and fasten them all together in a chain. This teacher can remember her first group of kids by the hand prints and know that she had a "hand" in their education. They can write their names on the black paper with whiteout or a metallic silver sharpie. It will be quick, easy, fun and something she will cherish. You are kind to think of her with a surprise.

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By ronsan (Guest Post)
January 11, 20060 found this helpful

A big banner with an appropriate message and all the children's signatures to put across the blackboard might work. I have seen these with magnets glued to the back and the magnets then hold it to the metal stripping around the blackboard.


The banner would make a very nice momento for the student teacher.

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January 12, 20060 found this helpful

I'd say any kind of decoration would be great...but as a teacher (and especially when I was a student teacher) the most meaningful thing to me is (was) notes from students. In all their misspellings, strange grammar, and such--their words are the most meaningful and encouraging. Maybe have them write and draw something, then put up the pictures and notes, then have a binder ready to put all the sentiments in so she can take it with her. (A binder makes it easy to take the memories with her, wherever she goes.)

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December 23, 20110 found this helpful

My daughter want's to have a birthday party with just some friends not a lot. She wants to have girls and boys (just a few). She loves to shop and watch movies! She doesn't know about any of this. I want it to be a surprise for her. Any suggestions?

By Ellisa L.


December 25, 20110 found this helpful

I would rent movies she and her friends would like and have popcorn; movie style snacks, etc. Ask her friends who are invited about ideas! May be start with her favourite dinner, then have the movie, or send them to a theatre. Also you could set up ice cream with a lot of sprinkles etc, let them make their own sundaes.

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December 28, 20110 found this helpful

You could make a Bell Bottom Jeans Cake & decorate it w/candy, Piping, Fruit roll-ups for the belt,etc.These are really popular w/Teens & Tweens. Just take a sheet cake & cut at the top of cake in the middle-going down each side to make a triangle. Then turn the side pieces over and attach w/frosting to the opposite sides of the cake making level at the bottom. Presto-Bell bottoms! Then Frost & decorate. I've seen these w/pipping stitches down the sides of the jeans & pockets.They are really cute & easy to make & even kids could do this w/a little help from an adult. Then serve Ice cream w/it & get some Teen Movies & Chips & Dip, Popcorn & Soda & maybe a Twister Game & you are all set. Whatever you decide. I'm sure it will be fun. Good Luck. : D

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By 0 found this helpful
April 9, 2010

I'm planning a surprise party on a very tight budget. It's going to be a BBQ with volleyball. I need advice on cheap favors, food, and paperware for about 150 people. Thanks.

By auntietay from Spokane, WA


April 10, 20100 found this helpful

If you have a Dollar Tree nearby, they have a very large party section, and everything is a dollar.

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April 10, 20100 found this helpful

You didn't say what kind of surprise party; birthday, anniversary, moving, job promotion, etc. etc. That would determine what kind of favors you might have. A paper, retail supplies warehouse is a great place to find bulk plates napkins, gift boxes, bags, etc. at awesome prices. Also Costco for plates, napkins, "silver" and foods.

When you say what kind of party I will gladly let you know of some fun favor ideas, that are of reasonable cost. The only kind I use. Just need to be clever and appropriate.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 27, 2011

I am planning a surprise 17th birthday party for my best friend, who is a girl, and I have no clue on what kind of things to do. So far I have started making the invites and the theme will be pink and black. Her mum knows and will make sure she is wearing pink and black that day! It is going to be from 11.30am till 3.30pm. So if you guys have any ideas on what we can do? No alcohol. She loves dancing, but not all her friends do.

By PartyPlanner from New Zealand


April 27, 20110 found this helpful

Since she likes dancing, I'd incorporate that into her party; afterall, it is for her. Also, play her favorite music in the background when not dancing. If it's games to play some of the time, make it really fun with a list of things the birthday gal loves and ask her friends questions about her to see how many know her well. The one with the most right answers gets a prize.

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October 25, 20130 found this helpful

My friend is going to be 21 on the 29th of October. We all are planning some good stuff as a surprise. Please give me some ideas. ASAP

By pppp

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September 24, 20130 found this helpful

I'm planning on throwing a surprise party for my friend who is turning 15, and I have 2 months time to plan, but I'm desperate for some ideas. I've got a budget, so nothing too expensive. Boys will be coming, so it can't be something too girlie. It will be held at my house, so I've got limited space.

By Rosie

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April 9, 20100 found this helpful

I'm planning a surprise party for my Mom's 50th birthday. She's a good person, but a little more reserved than some. Any ideas for a theme? I have roughly about 70 people invited so far. Which is better, a barbeque with hamburgers and hot dogs, or a sit-down-knife-and-fork mostaccioli dinner?

Also, my parents are divorced, but my Dad would be hurt if I didn't invite him. However, my Mom's side of the family aren't exactly on good terms with him. What should I do?
Jackie from MI


Surprise Party Help

Jackie, It's great that you are honoring your mother. Since you say she is reserved perhaps the casual barbeque would be more comfortable for her. I personally would not invite your father. If you feel that her side of the family doesn't like him they probably have what they feel are good reasons to dislike him. It is her day. Don't make it about him. There may be hurt feelings all around, but the bottom line is it's her birthday. (08/14/2005)

By Marge Mayhew

Surprise Party Help

What if your father came by before or after her birthday with a gift or a well wishes. He may be uncomfortable knowing he is on her relatives' bad side. It would only cause tensions that no one really wants to walk into.

If you like, sit your parents down separately, your mother first, and say you'd like to take them both out to dinner, or have them over for dinner, just them. That way, if she declines, you've not brought up the subject to your father and his feelings won't be hurt if she does not want to spend much time with him.

Just a gentle thought: They are your parents, and I am sure they both love you, but they are divorced, and forcing them together on her day just may ignite old hurt feelings. (08/15/2005)

Surprise Party Help

You should have a barbeque with hamburgers and hot dogs because everyone can mingle around.
You should try to keep your dad and your mom's side not to close to each other. (02/27/2008)

By Melanie

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