The cardinal rule of concocting a cover story for a surprise party is to make it believable. If the story is too elaborate and is too far out of the normal realm for the guest of honor, they will begin to question it. Make it natural, keep it simple, and they will be buy it. Most people aren’t great liars so the simpler the story, the better chance at success. Here are five suggestions to get your creative surprise party juices flowing.
1. A Weekly Routine Event. Would you and your partner normally meet a group of friends at a restaurant in town on Friday after work? Have the party waiting for them there. If your dad plays golf every Saturday till 3PM, then host a casual surprise BBQ when he returns home. This approach to a surprise not only keeps it simple for you, but your guest of honor will truly not suspect anything as they are just going about their normal weekly business.
2. A Small Celebration. This may sound crazy, but telling the guest of honor that there’s going to be a party is often a great way to throw them off the trail, plus you can actually talk about “the party” in front of them. What they won’t know is that the intimate dinner party for four you’ve been talking about is actually a party of 75 of all their family and lifelong friends, complete with a video tribute, DJ, and catered food. A surprise, indeed.
3. An Event or Celebration for Someone Else. If there is another family member’s birthday or anniversary close to the party date, then that celebration can be a perfect rouse. Same goes for a faux fundraiser or awards banquet – these types of covers are especially good if you have planned the party at a more formal venue (restaurant, hotel, etc.) where the guest of honor normally wouldn’t go. Tell your mom that your partner is being honored with a work award at the Hilton, so that way she’s dressed nicely for the event, but when she gets there…surprise!
4. Workplace Surprise. It’s Friday afternoon in the office – what better way to get the weekend going than a surprise happy hour birthday party? These types of events can be a lot of fun, especially when your guest of honor has a lot of close work friends. Use an out-of-the-way conference room or space, then have a coworker take the guest of honor out for coffee. The coworker can pretend to get a text message saying they must get back to the office for a special meeting, then…
5. An “Oops” Surprise. This one takes good acting and a lot of prep, but can be loads of fun. Choose a venue such as a bowling alley or picnic in the park – basically a daytime venue where the guest of honor can be in the come-as-you-are mode. The host will pick up the person for a mundane activity (a movie, shopping at the mall or something similar), then pretend to get a text message that veers them to the surprise location. The pretend message can be from a child, friend, or spouse that says they forgot their backpack (or whatever item you’ve decided on) in the person’s car and can they bring it by a certain location. When you casually stroll in to deliver the “lost item” the guest of honor will be blown away that everyone is there for their birthday celebration.