We’ve all seen surprise birthday parties executed successfully in TV shows and movies, and they look like a lot of fun. While the shock might not be for everyone, you probably have a friend or family member who would love to have such an exciting celebration. It takes a good deal of careful preparation on the part of the people putting it together to pull off a surprise, though. At the same time, you need to account for the current climate concerning the COVID-19 situation to keep everyone involved safe. To help you make your way through all these considerations, read our post on how to throw the ultimate surprise birthday party.
Hold It at Home
The party venue is typically one of the foremost details you would need to consider when throwing the ultimate surprise birthday party. Unlike with a regular party, though, you don’t have access to outside venues at present. This means that the one feasible place left is the home. Luckily, this makes it easy to arrange a drive-by party because, unless they’re an essential worker, there’s always a good chance that they’re home. People across the country have started to organize drive-by parties where they pass by the birthday person’s home holding up signs and wishing them happy birthday. Because they’re seated in their cars, guests can still maintain a safe distance from the celebrant while talking in-person. Furthermore, you can retain the surprise element by calling them outside at a moment during the day that they don’t expect.
Select a Time
This leads us to the next point, which is time. Ideally, you want to include as many attendees as possible. Therefore, it’s important to choose a time in the day when most people are available. If the birthday falls on a weekday, this may be some time in the late afternoon when people who are working from home are finished with their daily duties. On a weekend, you might have more flexibility to hold the party earlier in the day.
You must also be certain that the birthday person is free during that part of the day as well. You might ascertain this information by casually asking what plans they have for their birthday in light of the coronavirus restrictions at play. You could feign that you will just give them a call at a time that is convenient for them on their birthday, and then use this call as the means to bring them outside while you and other would-be party attendees wait for them in your cars.
Confirm the Attendees
A normal birthday party leaves some room for people to be a bit wishy-washy in their RSVP’s. However, for a surprise to work well, you are going to need a definite response from each individual you contact. Decide how many people to reach out to, including a larger or smaller group depending on how outgoing or shy the guest of honor is. Then, utilize convenient means of communication, such as email or social media, to ask people whether they can make it, letting them know the time you currently have in mind. For example, you can make a secret event group on Facebook. From there, you can brainstorm together further and adjust the time if necessary.
Emphasize that you need a conclusive yes or no RSVP by a certain date and that everyone needs to show up within a tight time range. This way, you’ll create a clear picture of who will be there on the day of the party and minimize the possibility of disorganization. Again, you want to avoid last-minute attendees who could alert the birthday person to the surprise you’ve worked hard to create. If they start to see a bunch of cars stopping in front of their house too early, they may suspect what’s going on.
Pick a Decoration Theme
Now we’ll tackle the look of the party itself. If you don’t live in the same home as the birthday person, you’re limited to decorating the signs that you’ll hold up and perhaps your car to some extent. Your aim should, therefore, be to ramp up the positivity and energy as much as you can with the small canvas you have available. Make the signs colorful and bold, and make sure that the letters are all thick and dark enough to read from a distance of several feet.
If you are a roommate or family member who lives in the same house as the celebrant, you can decorate more fully. Still, for a surprise drive-by party, you will want to keep decorations confined to the outside yard where the birthday person will probably not see them immediately. Choose things that you can set up stealthily a little beforehand, or steer the birthday person clear of the front windows so they don’t look out and see the arrangement you’ve made the night before. Signs, streamers, and balloons are all effective decorations to use. Keep in mind the time of the party here, too, since everything will happen outside. If the party is set to take place in the evening, for instance, you can repurpose outdoor tent lights as a way to bring some sparkle to the yard. They’ll make the setting feel brighter and more comfortable.
Plan the Party Flow
A large factor in a surprise birthday party is the flow you form within it. You should aim to make the birthday person feel a combination of ease and elation so that they aren’t anxious about anything and can enjoy the celebration completely. Try to think from their perspective, and pay heed to the small details that will make the party flow naturally for them. Think about the first things they will see when they come outside where you’ve set up the party. Mentally go through what will happen next—you might have each car stop right in front of the house so they can wish the celebrant happy birthday and then move on down the street, or there might be enough room for each car to remain in place while the birthday person talks to the people in each one. From there, you can present them with a gift from everyone. Proceed like this in your planning, perhaps writing the particulars down so that you have an outline of events.
In the end, though, this outline should just act to give some direction; you don’t have to follow it strictly. If you become too married to it, it can become counterproductive. Let things proceed how they will, with the emphasis placed on how the birthday person feels. With all these factors organized, they’ll have a fun time and know how much everyone cares for them, regardless of external circumstances.