For inexpensive but dramatic decorations drape black crepe paper around doorways and across the ceiling. Scatter bouquets of black balloons around the room. For fun balloon weights use small tombstones, fake teeth, or product we use as we age (Fixodent, reading glasses, Just for Men/Hair Dye for covering the grey) Party Tip: Balloons look the best when grouped in odd numbers.
Some people think all the food should be black (olives, licorice, etc.) but it's hard to do food in black that tastes good. I would go with the standard party fare (the guest of honors favorites too), and maybe a side dish of oatmeal and some prune juice for humor value (and maybe the guest of honor will really need it).
Life is short... so eat cake! You can have a fabulous birthday cake, cupcakes or pastry tray for dessert. You can also make "Old as Dirt" cups; just layer chocolate pudding, crushed Oreos, and Cook Whip in a clear plastic cup. Add a few gummy worms for a fresh dirt look :)
"This is your Life" is another format for the roast. Have mom and dad tell stories from the early years (a very long time ago), and grab a life-long friend or a teacher for the school years. A co-worker can recount famous (or infamous) moments at the office. You get the idea. Put together a CD with pictures from the corresponding years, and this can be a really fun hour or so. This approach can, and should, be funny, but it also lends itself to many touching moments and memories.
If you have a smaller group, think about renting a hearse (amazingly this isn't that hard to do) and tour some of the old neighborhood hangouts. This is a blast, and provides fabulous photo opportunities.
Whatever you decide to do, have your guests capture the memories on a personalized birthday camera so the guest of honor has many different views from the big day!
The guests and the guest of honor will have so much fun they will eagerly await your next party!