As you and your friends get older, your priorities begin to change. Gone may be the days that you stay up until sunrise, bouncing from club to club and living da vida loca, but they’ve likely been replaced by something much more fulfilling: staying up past your bedtime and bouncing from pub to pub… But when it comes to birthdays, especially milestones like the dreaded 40th, something else is required – something special, and something surprising. But how do you pull off a surprise 40th for a dear friend?


Probe for Ideas

Birthday parties are difficult to plan at the best of times, and you’ll need all the help you can get when it comes to appropriate party inspiration. If you don’t already know your friend’s tastes back-to-front, you should start with gently probing for information – whether stories about favourite parties past, or preferred themes for future parties. You can then use these to create your own surprise plans.


Instigate a Group Chat

Next up, you’ll need some help to pull everything together. Create a new group chat for your close friend group – but, crucially, leave the birthday friend out of the loop. This way, all of you can plot together without raising any form of suspicion.

In this chat, you can flesh out your ideas a little more, and maybe even enlist some help getting it all ready. Your friends might be comfortable putting in financially as well as creatively, enabling you to think bigger and bring the party to life.

birthday party

Plan the Do

With your venue secured, all that’s left to do is plan the party itself. There are many things to co-ordinate, from food and drink to the music and other entertainment. Starting with food and drink: does the venue in question have a bar, and could you put some money behind it for the first few drinks? Might the venue also be able to give you a deal on food, or will you arrange for a local vendor to serve as well?

Music can be as simple as putting a collaborative Spotify playlist together with your friend group, but you may want to enlist a more professional DJ to get things going if it’s a larger do. All that’s left is to invite everyone – and instruct them to keep schtum.



On your friend’s birthday, the pressure will be on to ensure they’re non the wiser until you all arrive at the venue. You might be able to throw them off the scent prior to heading out, by giving them a 40th birthday card and gift as if they’re the only things you’ve arranged. They won’t be expecting anything more!



And there you have it; a surprise 40th birthday party, planned to perfection. That is, if someone from your group hasn’t already spilled the beans…


This is a collaborative post

Photo Credit: Cottonbro via



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