The very first step, before you begin to make even tentative plans, is to make sure your child is the sort of person that will actually enjoy a surprise party. Shy teens who dislike being the centre of attention are likely to hate such an event, while more social, outgoing ones will relish the chance to be in the spotlight. Once you have established that it’s the right way to go, you are ready to set the wheels in motion.
Take a step back
While planning a surprise party for very young children can usually be accomplished by speaking to the parents of the children in the same class or playgroup as your own, this strategy won’t work for older children.
For teenagers, their social circles are likely to include a number of people you barely know so enlisting the help of best friends – the people you child spends most of their time socialising with – is essential if you want the event to be a success. Teen fashions change fast so your child’s best friends will also be essential in letting you know the right music, food and entertainment to include in the event. Remember it’s their party, not yours.
Choose the right date
Although the day of the actual birthday may seem the most perfect, it’s also the day your child will most expect something to happen. In the case of a teenager, they may well have made their own plans. Ideally, you want the party to take place a few days ahead of the birthday for the biggest surprise factor. Hold the party afterwards and it will seem as though you did it as an afterthought. A post-birthday date could also make things awkward for close friends and family members who might end up having to celebrate twice.
Provide guests with clear details
Once you know when, the next step is to hand out invitations to make sure everyone knows where and when the event will take place. If you create your own invitations, you can make it clear that the party is a surprise and that everyone has to keep the details secret.
When it comes to receiving RSVPs, online is best as there is less chance of letting the cat out of the bag. You could also consider creating a secret group on social media that only invited members can see. This makes it easy for you to check how many people are going to be able to attend in a discreet manner.
Up the ante – just in case
You can give a surprise party an extra special twist if you can invite along a few long-lost friends or favourite or extended family members who have not been seen for a while. One of the key factors behind the success of a recent surprise birthday party for reality TV star Khloe Kardashian was that every member of the clan was there to help her celebrate.
Another advantage of doing this is that, in the event that your child somehow finds out a party has been planned, they will still be in for a big surprise. If you haven’t managed to set up an unexpected guest and the game is up, it’s always best to ask the birthday boy or girl to at least act surprised so that the party can still start on a positive note.
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