A 50th birthday party can be a silly and humorous event, or a glamorous entry into the senior years. Which direction the party takes should depend largely on the the guest of honour.
Over The Hill
A classic favourite, Over the Hill Party decorations are readily available at any party store. Black streamers and balloons symbolise the death of youth, but all in good fun. You don't want a well-intentioned party to make the guest of honour feel badly about entering a new decade, and the best bet in all situations is to keep things light and fun. On the tables, have little note cards with facts about the guest of honor's life, for example, "In 1959, the year Bob was born, Barbie was created." Place these all around the tables and guests can have fun sharing them with one another. Have a guest book available for friends to write old memories and good wishes in. Some traditional party games can be modified for a few laughs, like "Pin the Toupee on the Old Guy" or "Walker Relay Races." Try having guests participate in an "Older Than" game. Go around the room and have each person name something that the guest of honour is older than. The person who comes up with the most creative answer, decided by round of applause, wins a door prize.
Fifty has always been associated with being golden. For someone beginning this decade of life, it can be seen as the start of the "golden years." Instead of grieving for the end of youth, try celebrating the beginning of this new era. Decorate in all gold touches. Hold a "Name That Tune" game including golden record winners throughout the guest of honor's life.
Choose a party themed around a particular decade. The 50s, 60s and 70s are popular themes, particularly when the guest of honour would have lived through these decades. Use decade themed decorations. For the 50s, think of soda shops, bobby socks and poodle skirts, and rock and roll. The 60s is associated with hippies, peace signs, tie-dye and folk rock. Play decade appropriate music throughout the event. Play trivia games with the guests that centre on events of the decade. For a twist on classic trivia, try to "Guess the Classic Candy" or "Name That TV Show Theme Song." Find classic candy favourites from the decade and have guests taste the candy and write it down on a piece of paper. At the end, reveal the names of the candy. Similarly, you can find recordings of popular TV show theme songs from the decade of choice. Play them one at a time and have guests write down the name of the matching show. Whoever guesses the most correct answers on these games win door prizes.