Party by the Decades: 30th, 40th, 50th (and Beyond!) Birthday Party Ideas

written by KATHY SISSON
adult birthday party ideas"
adult birthday party ideas
Source: Cottonbro Studio | Pexels
Source: Cottonbro Studio | Pexels

Aging is a privilege and meeting certain birthday milestones deserves a celebration. Some people plan a big trip, some a quiet night in with family, and some want to throw a birthday party either for themselves or someone they love.

That’s where this list of adult birthday party inspiration ideas comes in. We’re sharing photos and hosting tips for over 20 adult birthday party themes—from fun 30th birthday bashes to fabulous 40ths to memorable 50th birthday parties to kick off the “golden years.” Plus, we’ve rounded up some creative birthday party ideas for adults of any age, even if they’re not hitting a major milestone this year. Read on for some of our favorite birthday party ideas for adults. 

30th Birthday Bash Ideas

The End of Your Roaring 20s

A 1920s theme could lean into The Great Gatsby flapper era or more of a Peaky Blinders 1920s gangster vibe. The 1920s was also the decade of Prohibition so having a speakeasy theme will be fun for all.

‘Turning Thir-Tee’ Golf-Themed Party

If the guest of honor loves to hit the links, lean into wordplay with a golf-themed birthday party. Personalized golf balls or golf tees can be the perfect budget-friendly party favor. A “Turning Fore-ty” theme also works for a 40th birthday or “Let’s Par-Tee” keeps it more general for any adult birthday party.

Throwback Slumber Party

Because everyone gets a little nostalgic around their birthday, throw it back to the good old days by having a slumber party. Watch a favorite throwback movie, eat pizza, play Truth or Dare—whatever brings you back!

‘90s Party

Speaking of throwbacks, celebrate the decade they were born or grew up in with a ‘90s-themed party. Party decor could range from alt-rock grunge to Britney Spears/boy band mania to colorful Saved by the Bell and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air vibes.

40th Birthday Party Ideas

‘Raise the Roof’ Rooftop Party

Perfect for a warm-weather birthday celebration, a rooftop party is always going to be memorable. Plus, the “elevated” venue feels like a sophisticated spot to celebrate a fourth decade. 

40 & Fabulous Party

For the one who loves a reason to get dressed up, consider a “40 & Fabulous” party. This theme is super flexible; whether you’re hosting a dressy dinner party for a small number of close friends or going big with a blowout 40th bash, it’s sure to be a hit. 

Awesome 80s Party

Anyone turning 40 soon was definitely an 80s baby, making an 80s party a playful adult birthday party theme. Encourage everyone to don their best 80s apparel, make a killer playlist, or hire an 80s cover band! You could even consider leaning into 80s nostalgia for the food and the drinks (Kool-Aid cocktails, anyone?).

50th Birthday Party Ideas

Cheers to 50 Years

Fifty years of life is certainly worth celebrating. Forgo dinner and keep this 50th birthday bash to a shorter cocktail party with drinks and appetizers—plus a thoughtful toast to the birthday guy or gal.

Studio 50 Disco Party

Celebrate the new member of the half-century club by imitating one of the most famous clubs ever: Studio 54. Think disco balls, platform shoes, and a funky-town playlist for the perfect night where partygoers can “get down on it” while they go back in time.

Celebrate Your Golden Year

Fifty is considered the “golden age,” offering so many creative ways to lean into the gold theme for a 50th birthday party. Consider gold-trimmed cocktail napkins, serverware, and elegant gold decorations. 

50th Pickleball Party

The on-trend sport is popular across generations, so for the Pickleball enthusiast turning 50, you can celebrate with a Pickle tourney and festivities to follow.

More Creative Adult Birthday Party Ideas

Vintage (Birth Year)

This theme works for any adult birthday party, especially ones celebrated with wine and bubbly. The party decor could include nostalgic details from the birth year or decade of the birthday girl/guy.

Aged to Perfection

Whether it’s whiskey or wine, some things get better with age. Celebrate the guest of honor with an “Aged to Perfection” party with elegant appetizers, craft cocktails, and, of course, some vintage wine or liquor. 

70s Birthday Party

While the ‘70s might lend itself to a groovy 50th or 70th bday party, a ‘70s bash is really fun for all generations. Party decor could evoke flower-power hippie vibes or disco ball dancing—whatever 70s theme you choose, it’ll be time to boogie!

‘Look Who’s All Grown Up’ Nostalgic Birthday Party

Sentimentalists will love a classic party focused on looking back on a life full of memories. Think black and white childhood photos and plenty of throwback pics to bring nostalgia into the party decor. Etsy has plenty of adorable “Look Who’s 40” invites and party decor to choose from too!

‘In My Birthday Era’ Taylor Swift Party

Taylor Swift has fans of all ages and her album history and explosive Eras Tour can inspire so many birthday party ideas. Party throwers could focus on The Eras Tour, a favorite Taylor Swift album, lean into Nashville style, or go all-in on one Taylor song with a “Feeling 22” theme.  

Birthday in Paradise

Take guests on a mini-vacation with a “Birthday in Paradise” party. Serve tropical-inspired cocktails (or mocktails!) and encourage beachy attire. This theme also lends itself to a pool or beachside party!

Birthday on a Boat

From elegant dinner cruises to epic booze cruises, the options for a birthday boat party can be as fancy or casual as is befitting the bday guest of honor. Not to mention celebrating a birthday on the water is sure to be a memorable event for all.

Barbie Party

A Barbie theme brings the perfect mix of nostalgia and fun. Take decor inspiration from the blockbuster Barbie movie to make it a timely and truly epic pink party. 

A Night in Black & White Birthday Party

If pink’s not their color, choosing a classic theme like “A Night All in White” or “A Night in Black and White” will help create a swoon-worthy event that will also look fabulous in photos. Just be sure all guests get the memo about what they should wear! 

Coffeehouse Party

Who said parties need to be at night? This cute idea lends itself to a breakfast or brunch party where all the adults can be home early—like some of us want! 

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