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How to Throw the Perfect Surprise Party for a Friend

If your surprise parties are always a bust and you just can’t seem to throw one successfully, use the seven tips below to host the best one yet!

surprise party for a friend

I’m pretty sure we’ve all been to a “surprise” party. You know, the one where the person who is supposed to be surprised shows up sporting a fake shocked expression that they, undoubtedly, practiced in the mirror after they found out that their party was supposed to be a surprise.

Yeah, those parties can still be fun, but it would be even more fun if you had a photo taken the second they walk into the room, with a face that displays their sheer horror at the fact that they’re actually being thrown a surprise party, fully equipped with a room full of people, food, and celebration!

How to pull off a successful surprise party

Throwing a successful surprise party for someone is no easy task, let alone making it an amazing party for the guests. With these killer tips, you can be assured that the surprise will remain a surprise, and everyone will have a fantastic time!

#1 Choose who to invite and who to keep in the dark. Sometimes, you just can’t tell your big-mouthed friends about some awesome party you’re going to throw! It has to be a surprise to them just as much as it is for the person it’s for, because they won’t keep it a secret otherwise. There’s nothing worse than having a surprise party ruined because someone who was invited spilled the beans!

To make sure these people are able to go to the event without actually telling them it’s a party, ask them if they want to do something that night. Then, just before you’re supposed to hang out, tell them about it. This way, they’ll still be able to attend, but there’s no way they can blab about it before it happens.

#2 Do not send out invitations via Facebook. We all love the handy “event” feature on Facebook because it gives people the opportunity to invite a large number of guests to something with a simple click. However, it is also a useful tool for people to post about it online. That’s a surefire way to un-surprise a surprise party. Not to mention, the person being celebrated could easily look over someone’s shoulder and see their name at the top of an event while someone is going through their newsfeed.

The best way to invite people to a surprise party is in person. It can be difficult to meet up with each friend and invite them, but this way, no one can overhear or see the plans. If you can’t meet with someone in person, the next best bet is a phone call. No text invites–those can be seen!

#3 Pick a venue that is not suspicious. If you and your friend or family member frequent a certain bar or restaurant, then don’t plan the party at some outlandish destination that they’ve never heard of. That’s the best way to raise suspicion in them. And since the party will most likely take place around their birthday or another big event in their life, they’ll probably figure something is up… unless they’re not the brightest bulb in the fixture.

Pick a place where you can host all of your guests, and make sure it’s familiar to the person the party is for. That way, you can make your “usual” plans with them, and they won’t have any idea you’ve gathered the masses for a celebration.

#4 Preparing for the party undetected can be tricky. Since you’re the one throwing the party, you’re also probably pretty close to the person it’s for. This means they’re probably around a lot and will notice if you seem distant, distracted, or busy being in constant communication trying to set this thing up.

My advice is to make up an excuse about why you’re on the phone a lot, or why you may have to dash off and take care of things. Making it about a new hobby or interest is the easiest way to get them off your back because not many people will think attending a new fitness class would be used as an excuse to get away. It will also direct more of their attention toward asking you about your new adventures, and less on the fact that you’re on your phone so much.

#5 Getting someone to the venue successfully is half the battle. Now you’ve got everything figured out… besides how you’re going to get them to the location. It may seem easy–just make plans, hop in the car, and go, right? But what happens when your friend changes their mind and doesn’t want to go anymore?

Always have an excuse as to WHY you need to go to that specific place. If you’re not very creative, use one of these, and have it prepared!

“They’re having a great special!”

“I just have to pick something up real quick.”

“We’re just meeting people there, then we can all go somewhere else.”

A really good excuse I’ve actually used before: “I left my debit card there last time, and I need to grab it really quick.” This just leaves the obstacle of them coming in with you to get it. Just make sure that whatever excuse you use, it’s believable and doesn’t sound rehearsed!

#6 Keep your guests quiet! In order for this to be the best surprise party, you’ll have to maintain the surprise factor until the big reveal. In order to do this, you’ll have to keep all of your guests quiet and out of the way of windows and doors!

I was once at a surprise party that was going SO smoothly, until the person saw one of her good friends peeking out of the window excitedly. She knew right away it was a surprise and didn’t actually get to enjoy everyone jumping out and screaming at her.

Ensure that everyone is quiet, so the person you’re surprising doesn’t recognize any voices, and keep them away from areas that may give away who’s hiding inside, such as the parking lot where all their friends’ cars are parked.

#7 Make sure there are plenty of party favors and entertainment to go around. Yay! The surprise portion was a success, but that’s not the only thing that you’ll need in order to make it the best surprise party. You’ll have to make sure that not only is the person to be surprised happy, but that all of the guests are, as well.

This means you must stock up on delicious appetizers, food, drinks, games, and party favors. There’s not much worse for a party than people arriving and standing around doing nothing and not having fun. Crank up the music! Bring out the booze! Stuff your faces with cake, and let the good times roll!

[Read: 14 ways to keep it classy at a party]

The best surprise parties are those that actually maintain an element of surprise. Now get out there and use these tips to throw someone you love the best and most memorable party they’ll never see coming!

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Bella Pope LovePanky
Annabel Rodgers
Annabel is a lifestyle writer, cheese enthusiast (Wisconsin native over here) and fantasy adventure author-in-progress who enjoys all things love, dog,...