All birthdays are special. Some, however, are milestones: 30, 40, 50, 75. These milestone birthdays represent a good opportunity to look back and take stock of life. And because the 50th birthday also represents a transition into late middle age, it deserves a serious celebration.
Over the Hill
For milestone birthdays, many people choose a theme of "over the hill." Coffin-shaped invitations, a tombstone-laden sheet cake, black balloons and even a visit from a (costumed, of course) Grim Reaper combine to make a morbid -- yet funny -- party. Just ensure the guest of honour thinks it's funny, too, or the party may be over before it gets started!
Let Them Eat Cake
Golden cake, that is. To celebrate the golden anniversary of his or her birth, create (or purchase) a glimmering gold cake as a centrepiece for the table and the celebration. Celebrations.com suggests a decadent chocolate ganache as a delicious, dark base for glamorous gold decorations. Or for an easier approach, simply dust the cake with decorating glitter or golden decorating sugar. Try expanding on the golden theme to create a party filled with golden treats, balloons, flowers and music -- plus golden oldies, of course.
A Scrappin' Good Time
To commemorate 50 great years, put together a scrapbook party. Send scrapbook materials or perhaps just a blank scrapbook page to everyone invited. Ask each one to create a page of memories, photos or stories to give to the celebrant. Will children be at the party? Take it an extra step and place Polaroid cameras around the venue along with more scrapbooking supplies, as suggested by Martha Stewart on her web site. Ask the children to create a second memory book -- one that holds all the pictures from the party.
In addition to music from the guest of honor's youth, a great theme of nostalgia can let you go crazy with decorations (movie posters from a specific decade, for example) and party favours. Fill goody bags and decorate cupcakes with nostalgic treats like Mary Jane or Bit-O-Honey pieces or the candy buttons the guest of honour used to love biting off the paper as a child. Web retailers such as Amazon.com and Groovycandies.com carry retro candy from the 1950s to the 80s, according to Anne-Marie O'Neill, who spelt out her party tips on the "Today Show."
Go All Out
On Fine Living's askmen.com, Craig Mazin tells us that "It's no longer enough to plop a punch bowl and ice sculpture on an end table and call it a swanky party." So, what to do if your own party planning relies on cases of beer and plates of Pizza Rolls -- and the guest of honour most certainly deserves better? Call a party planner. It will definitely increase your budget, but they will take care of every detail from invitations to the venue to caterers to clean up.