Throwing a surprise party is a great way to celebrate a big birthday, anniversary or engagement. But actually pulling it off without getting caught is a whole other matter!
Read on for our top tips on how to throw a surprise party and NOT get caught out, including how to keep it top secret and how to distract the victim on the day of the party. The secret planning starts here!
Tips for planning a surprise party
1. Pick an accomplice
If we could give you one tip and one tip only, it would be this – pick an accomplice and pick them carefully. You need one person to plan the surprise party and one person to create a distraction on the day, and both need to be good at keeping a secret!
Our advice is to pick a close friend or relative who’ll have a vested interest in making the party is a success. Avoid blabber mouths at all costs!
2. Keep the party a secret!
When people ask how to plan a surprise party, what they really mean is how to keep it a secret. Because keeping a secret is a lot harder than it sounds. The more people who know about the party, the harder it will be to keep it a secret so keep everything on a need-to-know basis in the initial party planning stages.
Keeping the guest list to close friends and family only will reduce the risk of someone spilling the beans. And if someone’s notorious for not being able to keep schtum? Don’t invite them until the last minute.
The first rule of planning a surprise party is don’t talk about the surprise party.
You should also avoid talking about it when the victim is around, even if they’ve gone out of the room. It’ll be so obvious you’re plotting something if you suddenly stop talking when the birthday person enters the room!
3. Don’t plan the party at home
Spending more time than usual on your laptop? Nipping outside to make secret phone calls? If you live with the surprise party victim, they’re definitely going to start getting suspicious if you’re planning the party at home.
One of our best surprise party tips is to try and do any party planning in your lunch hour (if you can). You’ll need to stock up on loads of party supplies but you don’t want them hanging round the house for the party victim to see them. If you can, get them delivered to your workplace or a friend’s house. It’s not rocket science, but it will help you pull off a cracking surprise.
4. Don’t make them think you’ve forgotten their birthday
If you’re throwing a surprise party for a landmark birthday, don’t let the birthday boy or girl think you’ve completely forgotten about it. Nothing’s more suspicious (and more hurtful) than someone close to you completely forgetting your birthday. And you don’t want them to turn up to the party in a bad mood!
Make sure you still make plans (even if it’s just to do something small) to stop them getting suspicious. This is where your accomplice comes in to create a distraction.
5. Only decorate inside the party venue
You want the party to be a complete surprise until you open the door so make sure there aren’t any visible decorations on the outside of the party venue (that’d be an instant give-away). This also means asking your guests to park around the corner. They’ll immediately know something’s up if there are loads of cars outside the house!
By all means, go all out on decorations inside the venue but just make sure that none of it is visible through the windows. Loads of balloons, hanging decorations and pom poms like this will look great. And how about a personalised banner like this with photos of the birthday boy or girl for an extra special touch?
6. Create a distraction while you set up the party
On the day of the surprise party you’ll need to get the birthday person out of the way for a couple of hours while you set up. Try and do this as naturally as possible and not like you’re desperate for them to get out of the house.
Get your accomplice to take them out for drinks, or treat them to a nice meal in honour of the occasion (be it a birthday, an anniversary or an engagement). That’ll seem like a normal activity and will flow nicely into the surprise party. Alternatively, if you know they’re going to be busy at a certain time, plan the party around that.