When we hear the words “birthday party” it conjures up images of knee-high children running around eating birthday cake and busting open a piñata in a grassy backyard. But what about when those kids grow up, a.k.a. us? All it takes is a handful of cool adult birthday party ideas to get you right back in the game throwing soirées that’ll never be forgotten.
As we get older, it seems that each birthday is that much less exciting than the last (except maybe 21—a lot of us go all-in on that one), but it doesn’t have to be that way! No matter how old you’re turning, there’s something special about taking time to celebrate another year in your life with friends, family and some very good food.
Since decorating for a birthday party for a person over the age of 10 can be confusing, we’ve gathered some of our favorite ideas from Pinterest that’ll help you with every aspect of your bash from decor to food to drinks. All chic, all very grown-up.
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Photo: A Blissful Nest
1. Encourage your party guests to have a good time with a witty, festive sign.
2. Instead of letting balloons hang, stick them to the wall sans ribbon. Make them look extra cool by blowing them up to different sizes.
Photo: She Wears Many Hats
3. Trust us, you’re never too old for colored popcorn. The above version uses only three ingredients: Popcorn, vanilla candy, sprinkles.
4. If you aren’t the cooking type, no worries. Have a food truck cater your party!
Photo: Alexa and Alexa
5. Decorate your own balloons with gold foil and confetti! Here’s how.
6. Instead of setting out flowers in a vase, why not put them in old booze bottles? So cool!
7. If you have a summer birthday, try throwing a traditional New England clambake complete with newspaper tablecloths, corn, and plenty of cold beer.
8. Not crazy about telling your entire party your age? Use an adorable “Lost Count” cake topper!
9. Instead of putting out ho-hum cheese and crackers, opt for mini tacos and tequila.
10. Let’s be honest—no party is complete without a tassel banner.
Photo: A Joyful Riot
11. Instead of boring candles in your birthday cake, use mini number or letter balloons on sticks.
12. Did someone say Jell-o shots? And not just any Jell-o shots, but strawberry margarita Jell-o shots. With real strawberries.
13. Order customized napkins—such a fun way to give a party a personal touch.
14. If you’re more of a simple, modern gal, stick with a bold and modern party theme.
Photo: Hostess With the Mostess
15. Guest books are boring. Let your guests go crazy and decorate a wall-sized piece of paper.
16. Mudslide cupcakes are the perfect way to entertain your guests with chocolate and booze.
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17. Make your own custom backdrop for photos!
18. Get modern and crafty with this Gold Brushed Balloons tutorial.
Photo: A Spicy Perspective
19. Standard party candy gets a little more grown-up with these vodka and gummy bear ice pops.
20. Not sure how to design your birthday invites? Etsy has some of the best options out there.
Photo: Studio DIY
21. You’ll totally need these Emoji balloons in your life.
22. Don’t be ashamed to send your invites through the web. We love this iPhone party invite.
Photo: Smarty Had a Party
23. Set up a DIY mimosa bar, complete with cut-up fruit and a variety of juice.
24. Be proud of your age with candles that spell it out.
Photo: Chloe Moore Photography Blog
25. If you can’t rent an actual photo booth, set up a “photo booth” area with special background, and ask people to take turns manning it.
26. Learn to make Champagne Jell-O squares with pop rocks—so chic!
27. Instead of real dessert, set up a candy buffet. That’s what we all really want, anyway, right?
A version of this article was originally published in November 2016.