The Checklist for Organizing a 50th Birthday Party

birthday party image by Liz Van Steenburgh from

Creating a checklist is the first vital step when planning a 50th birthday party, as it helps keep all of the details organized so that nothing is left out. A checklist can make the difference between a mediocre party and an unforgettable celebration.

Guest List and Invitations

A guest list is the starting point when organizing a birthday party. The size of the party--small and informal or large and formal--will determine how many guests you should invite. Send invitations at least one month ahead of time. Include the date, place, and time, and request that guests RSVP, so you will know how many to expect. Customize the invitation with a picture of the guest of honor as a child.


Decorations are a big part of planning a 50th birthday party. Black is the common color used, as it jokingly refers to a 50-year-old as being near death. Use black and silver balloons and streamers to decorate the party area. A fancy black tablecloth, napkins and plates can adorn the cake table. A centerpiece of black flowers, such as roses or carnations, will complete the look. An "Over-the-Hill" banner can be placed above the main entrance to the party or over the food table.

Food and Beverages

How you organize the food will depend on whether you're planning an informal buffet or a formal, sit-down dinner. Make the food ahead of time, if serving finger foods, or have a formal dinner catered. Serve a variety of beverages, such as coffee, tea and punch. If serving alcoholic drinks, have non-alcoholic varieties available, as well. Decide on the type of cake you will serve; use black and white frosting to decorate it.


Select games and other entertainment to get the guests interacting. Include games such as charades or "This is Your Life," in which guests share memories of the birthday person. Music should be from the year in which the guest of honor was born or from high school days. Set up a dance floor and have a karaoke machine available.