Double Birthday - Father and Son Milestone Birthday Party Idea

by Alice
(Singapore )

We're celebrating my husband's 50th birthday and my son's 13th. This is a milestone year for my husband and son. (Dad born on the 18th, son born on the 20th). I want it to be a surprise and the number of guests will be about 50 people.

50th Birthday Expert Answer

Hi Alice! Thank you for visiting and submitting your birthday party question!

Wow, two milestone birthdays at the same time! This has got to be a very special party!

To begin, I have a page that covers a number of different ruses you can use to implement the surprise. Please take a look to get some ideas for that. Here's the page:

Now, with a guest list of 50, this won't exactly be an intimate gathering, but it's not unmanageable. I can see from the age difference of the "birthday boys," the attendees' ages will cover quite a broad range. Addressing those differences is one of the most important factors to accommodate in this scenario, in my opinion. You want each to experience their milestone with equal importance.

First, let's talk about venue options.

House Party

Having a house party with 50 guests is doable, provided you have plenty of space for flow. You want guests to be able to come and go freely, without bumping into things or each other. You want easy access to the food and drink, and you want people to mingle without feeling claustrophobic. And ... very importantly--you want free access to the ... um ... bathroom! :-) Especially for the kids!

At a house party, most likely the adults would mingle in the dining room, kitchen and living room, while the kids would play outside or gather in the den or bedrooms. You'll want to think about what each group needs, like food and drinks and place their items in a convenient area for them. If kids will mingle in their own area, could you provide video games and/or board games to keep them entertained? Even if you plan special activities, there will be downtime when you'll want to keep them entertained and occupied.

So basically, you'd have a kid's area and an adult's area, but also arrange your space for everyone to mingle together.


My immediate thought on this is to reserve a pavilion at a public park and have a cookout. You could even make it potluck style and have each guest/family bring a dish to pass while you supply the meat or drinks. Or, if there are budget concerns, make it a picnic where everyone brings their own basket including drinks, and you supply the pavilion and decorations. This is easy because everyone can do their own thing if needed. Kids can play in the grass, folks could go for a walk, or groups could mingle together.

Public Venue

If you wish to have your party at a public venue, that's also very possible to do. As always, there are restaurants with private rooms that you can reserve. You can also decide upon specific menu offerings or a buffet, and at some places, have each person order off the menu and pay their own checks. You'll just have to make sure the tip is well-covered.

My immediate thought for this kind of party would be at a place like Dave and Buster's ( I don't know if you have anything like that in Singapore, but it's basically an adult arcade and sports bar with amazing food and drink. Mom or Dad usually goes to the booth and buys the tokens, then divides them amongst the family. Then everyone runs off to play the games they like, including the kids! :-) The games they offer appeal to kids and adults alike, so there's something for everyone. My husband is not a gamer, but loves the trivia games. As I said, the food is really great and some people in your party might like to linger at the table just talking. It could get expensive, so I recommend you make the reservations, but have each family or guest pick up their own tab.

A bowling alley can be another great place for this kind of birthday party. People of all ages love to bowl and bowling allies usually offer pizza, snacks and drinks. Kids can hang out in the arcade if there is one. Or how about a laser tag, paintball or race track party? Most of these types of businesses offer rooms for groups and usually, what boys like, dads like. Health and physical condition permitting, of course. :-)

Lastly, what about a resort? My large family always loves using hotels for our reunions and we have to have something with a swimming pool and even hot tub. Often these places will have an arcade and play area, and even an onsite restaurant and lounge. It's easy for folks to bring their own food and drink, then mingle and share room-to-room or hang out at the pool. In our family, each family unit pays for their own room(s), so you don't have to foot the bill, which would get expensive. One drawback could be containing noise because with 50 people, that might be a problem. Each property has their own quiet time rules of which to be aware and observe.

Next, let's talk about theme.

It's not totally necessary to have a theme for a mutual party like this. For years, I co-celebrated my birthday with relatives where we just partied with drinks, food and cake at a location we could all agree upon. If you do opt for a theme, I would use something that ties the two people together somehow.

Do they share any common interests? Examples of this could be sports, favorite colors, superheros or things like music. Even if they share an interest like baseball, but don't like the same teams, your theme could be Team Dad vs. Team Son (like The Yankees vs The Astros). This team rivalry could also lead to party games and activities, meaning you could play team games with a team prize at the end.

In the case of a musical interest - let's say one likes guitar and the other likes drums. You could integrate both instruments into your theme/decorations and have jam sessions throughout the party. Musical families usually have musical friends and intruments are often freely available.

Actually, that gives me an idea. Soon I'll work on some printable downloads for these double parties so people can use them to create their own decorations to customize their themes. I'll come back here to post a link once it's done. It probably won't be done in time to help you, Alice, but maybe it will help folks with similar needs in the future. :-)

Okay, now back to your party. Our last item of business is ...

The Menu

If you're at a restaurant or other public venue, your menu will likely be dictated by the venue. If you have a house party, though, my idea is to offer interactive food.

What is interactive food you ask? It's a menu where people participate in the preparation of the meal. My reason for suggesting this is your son. When kids make their own food, the meal itself can be a primary fun activity at the party.

For starters, I recommend cupcakes rather than a cake for this party. Why? Because you could set up a cake decorating bar and let the kids apply their own frosting, sprinkles, gum drops...whatever toppings you want to put out. You could also have pre-frosted cupcakes for adults or those who don't wish to decorate their treats with an array of sweets.

For interactive main dishes, I recommend a taco and nacho bar (or something similar in your part of the world, Alice). If you do choose tacos/nachos, you could offer beef and/or chicken for the meat, a variety of tortillas like hard and soft taco shells and chips for dipping. You could then supply tomatoes, onions, cheese and other toppings to put on top. You could even provide a big bowl of lettuce to please the diet conscious guests so they could make a salad. For the nachos, you could place a microwave on a table so people could melt their cheese, or offer a warmed crock of cheese sauce instead.

I recommend placing the taco bar off to the side so the taco line doesn't block the flow of the guests, as it will take people a few seconds to assemble their Mexican yummies. On the opposite side of the room or yard could be the other food, like hors d'oeuvre, snacks, cold salads or whatever else you wished to provide.

Then I recommend another station for family-friendly beverages. Then an adult beverage station for margaritas and maybe a beer tasting station for the guys (and even gals).

Wrapping Up

I'm sure these ideas won't directly translate into the Singapore lifestyle, but perhaps they'll give you ideas on other things you can do. A lot of times, one idea will trigger another and you'll be off and running with a brilliant idea that's a perfect fit for you.

Thanks again, Alice, for visiting and sending in your question. I wish you the best of luck with your party plans. Give the boys a big hug and feel free to come back and post pics of your special event so we can all admire your personal party planning!


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