Milestone Party Frequently Asked Questions

I just hit a milestone. And I never realized how much stuff is out there to make the party special, and I’m in the party business. Interestingly, most milestones are between 16 and 65. Seems like after that you can’t find as many things with the milestone screeching boldly across, but I guess that will change as the boomers age! Here are some answers to planning the perfect milestone birthday party.

Q: What ages are considered milestones?
A: Milestone birthdays that are most commonly celebrated are Sweet 16, 21, 30, 40, 50 and 60. For some reason, after 60, it starts going in 5’s...like 65, 70, 75 so on and so forth. Why? Not sure. Maybe every five years you last after 60 is a God send.

Q: Is it rude to tell someone’s age when they are celebrating a milestone birthday?
A: I get this question all the time when it comes to a milestone. It truly depends on the person. Some people are age-sensitive and some people are just happy to be on this side of the grass. Feel out the guest of honor before you announce to the world they are “over the hill.”

Q: Speaking of “over the hill,” is this a good milestone birthday theme for people 40 and up?
A: Not anymore. It used to be HUGE. But as the generations progress, the older we get, the younger we think we are (or remain). If I hear one more person answer the question of “how old are you?” by saying, “chronologically or emotionally?” I may just pass out. No one feels their age emotionally, trust me.

Q: Does each milestone birthday have a special theme associated with it?

A: Not necessarily, but sometimes it just makes sense. Here are the most popular age-appropriate milestone birthday themes...

30—Grunge Party
40—Like Totally Awesome 80’s Party
50—Disco, of course
60—Hippie/flower child
65—Fifties sock hop/diner

Q: Should the menu match the milestone?
A: I don’t know how you distinguish 90’s food from 80’s food, but I do know that 50’s food stands on its own—milkshakes, french-fries and burgers. With a little research on the Internet, you can probably find what was popular back in the day. Or you can name menu items after pop culture of the time (e.g., Warhol’s Hmm Hmm Good Campbell’s Tomato Soup, 60’s pop culture; Girl’s Just Want to Have Fun Fries, 80’s pop culture).

Q: What type of favors do you suggest?
A: When doing a milestone theme like one of the above, it’s as much fun to decorate the guests with favors they can take home as much as it is to decorate the room. Giving out peace sign medallions and hippie bracelets to represent the 60’s or disco ball earrings and glow jewelry for the 70’s is fun and wearable. Or choose a favor that screams the times—a Rubix cube keychain for the 80’s or a bag of Warheads and Shock Tarts, candies made famous in the 90’s.

Q: Any other suggestions for a milestone birthday theme as far as party games and activities?
A: Don’t forget the headlines. 1985 was the year that Trivial Pursuit came out and trivia still stands as the most common party game. With a little research, you could find out what a decade was famous for (e.g., the 90’s were famous for OJ, Kurt Cobain, Joey Buttafucco, the movie Titanic and more) and create a trivia game or even charades around those subjects.

Q: Should a milestone birthday party be a surprise?
A: Only you know if the celebrant will be happy or un. Some people actually hate surprises. Some people have too many friends and relatives to keep anything a surprise. Other people will glow in the moment. Do a little reconnaissance and then decide. I vote for surprise, of course!