Planning a surprise party for your little one can truly be a daunting task. From keeping it top secret to choosing an event venue and catering for the perfect menu, there are numerous tasks and responsibilities to take on board when it comes to executing the ultimate surprise bash. However, when done successfully, throwing a surprise party for your child can be the ultimate birthday gift that truly pushes a normal family celebration up to a higher notch. Not to mention, the joy and excitement it will bring to your little one on their very special day.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be all stress and anxiety on your part. If you’re interested in making your child feel even more special on an upcoming birthday, you’ve landed on the perfect article. Today, we share 7 expert tips on how to plan the best possible surprise party for kids of all ages, so read on to find out more!
Tips on how to plan the best surprise party
- Choose The Perfect Venue
Did you think that choosing the perfect venue for a kids’ birthday party was easier than choosing one for adults? Well, think again. The truth is that most children don’t have what we refer to as a ‘filter’, so you’re really going to have to work hard to impress your little one on their upcoming birthday.
The venue of your surprise party is truly one of the most important aspects to consider as it sets the stage for everything thereafter. Of course, the perfect venue is relative to your child’s individual interests, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution for parents. For example, if you have an older child who just loves mystery, puzzles and games, you might want to consider options such as escape room birthday parties that are guaranteed to leave your junior satisfied.
Have a child that isn’t the biggest fan of change? Perhaps a surprise party at home could be the best solution. You get the picture. At the end of the day, choose your location with your child’s best interest in mind. Avoid picking out a place that you like for your own personal (adult) reasons, and instead, focus on a venue that you know will bring a priceless smile to your little one’s face. In essence, when choosing your venue, think like a kid — not just any kid, but your kid.
Top Tip: Before committing to any venue, be sure to check that there are appropriate child-friendly facilities and amenities at the location. The last thing you want is to pick a spot, only to find out that it doesn’t accommodate children.
- Curate The Ultimate Kid-Friendly Guest List
Now that you’ve chosen your venue, it’s time to curate the perfect guest list. We’ll be honest with you — no child is going to enjoy a surprise party that is only attended by your friends and family (aka adults). Of course, we are by no means saying that you should cancel all and every adult from the list. However, it is vital that you invite as many of your child’s friends, peers or schoolmates as possible. It is a kids’ birthday party, after all. Try to keep the guest list to a manageable size and be sure to stick to venue limitations, so that everyone can have a good time.
If you’re struggling to come up with enough names, be sure to ask your child for some help in an inconspicuous way. Questions such as “who are your 5 most favourite friends at school?” or “who would you invite to a sleepover?” are all great options that will allow you to get some valuable information out of your child without giving the surprise away. Once you have ascertained the perfect guest list, be sure to send out invites as soon as possible. You’ll probably also want to mention that it is a surprise party on the invites, just in case word accidentally gets back to your little one. You can never be too careful!
- Decorate To Your Heart’s Content
On the day of the event, you’ll want to kick into full gear when it comes to decorating. This can prove to be a challenge if you don’t have another parent or relative to look after your little one during this crucial period, so be sure to ask for some help if you need it. Ideally, you’ll plan for and purchase your decorations way in advance, allowing you to set everything up as quickly as possible on the day of the party.
Generally, your decorations should be all about the guest of honour, so be sure to include elements of your child’s interests and hobbies into the mix. For example, if your little one is in love with all things Disney, you can consider ordering in some Disney-themed paper plates, cups, party hats and decorations well in advance.
Here are some essential party decoration tips that can go a long way for a successful surprise party:
- Hang a curtain lights, fairy lights or lanterns to make any space feel more enchanted and to provide a gorgeous backdrop for photos;
- Be sure to inflate plenty of balloons to fill your venue;
- Choose colours/themes based on your child’s current interests; and
- Consider adding fun elements such as a pinata or cardboard cutouts of your child’s favourite superhero or cartoon character.
- Cater Lots and Lots Of Yummy Food
Food is by far one of the most important parts of any birthday party, let alone a surprise birthday party for your little munchkin. Again, when catering for the event, take your little one’s preferences into mind. Sure, you’ll want to choose snacks and dishes that you (and other adults) love, but be sure to also provide a wide variety of kid-friendly options such as chicken nuggets, french fries, pizza and more.
If there is something in particular that your little one is fond of, now is the time to go all out and treat them to it. Don’t forget to cater for picky eaters and allergies too — you can enquire about this on your party invites to ensure that everyone is safe and happy on the day of! Whatever the case, food is love, so be sure to have plenty of snacks and drinks available for everyone to enjoy.
Coming up with a blank? Explore 12 classic kids party foods here.
- Don’t Skimp On Activities
As a parent, you are probably no stranger to how cranky kids can get when they are bored. A bored child is also a child prone to tantrums, and the last thing you want is for your little one and his or her friends to end up moody or disgruntled on the special day. This is where activities and events play a huge role — for example, if you are hosting the party at a restaurant or club, you may want to consider hiring a children’s entertainer to keep the little ones occupied.
You can even organise simple games/activities for kids to participate in such as face painting, music, karaoke, balloon animals, treasure hunts and more. Again, your choice of entertainment will be highly dependent on the venue you choose, so be sure to do your due diligence and pick something that is suitable for your location.
Top Tip: If you are hosting a surprise party for an older kid, tween or teenager, be sure to pick age-appropriate entertainment to keep everyone happy. Older children are probably not going to be entertained by a clown, balloon animals or face painting, so consider exploring other options to keep guests satisfied.
- A Special Cake For A Special Someone
I’m sure we can all agree that no surprise party is complete without a glorious birthday cake. When it comes to deciding on your child’s birthday cake, we strongly recommend planning as early as possible. If you plan on baking the cake yourself, it is always a wise idea to practise a couple of times before the big day. The last thing you want is for your child’s cake to ruin the surprise by cracking in the middle, melting or even worse. Yikes!
If you plan to purchase a custom cake, it is advisable to get your order in as early as possible. This will allow your baker ample time to prepare and will help to ensure that you don’t run out of options if your chosen cake shop or cake maker is already at full capacity. Most importantly, make sure that the cake is tailored to the child, fits the theme of the party and is absolutely delicious. There is no point in a gorgeous cake that tastes less than spectacular, so be sure to shop around to find the perfect cake for your child’s perfect day.
- Keep It A Secret, Seriously!
Last but not least, keep it a secret…seriously! The truth is that children are extremely intelligent and catch on to things incredibly quickly, so you’ll want to make sure that you keep everything as hush-hush as possible in the lead-up to the day. Whether it’s party decorations, a birthday cake in the fridge or even sending out your invites, you’ll want to be extra sneaky to ensure your little one doesn’t catch on.
Consider keeping the decorations, cake and party favours at someone else’s house, or be sure to secretly store them in the garage or any other unused room in the home. As they say, the devil is in the details.
Some other important factors to consider are how you will get the guest of honour to the party location without arousing suspicion and ensuring that no one tips off the guest of honour last minute (including friends and schoolmates). This is arguably the most difficult part of organising a surprise birthday party (albeit much easier if your child is very young), so be sure to do as much out-of-the-box thinking as possible.
And there you have it — everything you need to know about throwing the ultimate surprise birthday bash for your little one. With a little planning, ingenuity and a hefty dose of secrecy, you’ll be well on your way to hosting the ultimate party that your precious one will remember for years to come.