Fun and unique 40th birthday party ideas

Turning 40 is a milestone birthday, marking the end of one chapter and the exciting beginning of another. It’s a time to reflect on the amazing things you’ve accomplished, the incredible people you’ve met, and the experiences that have shaped you.

But most importantly, it’s a time for birthday celebrations! Just think of us as your party-planning bestie! We’re here to help you plan the most amazing birthday yet, so check out these 40th birthday party ideas and themes perfect for your milestone birthday.

Fun and unique 40th birthday party ideas and themes for men and women on Pretty My Party

How do you choose a party theme for a 40th birthday party?

Picking the perfect party theme for a 40th birthday celebration can be exciting, but it can also feel overwhelming with so many options! To help you narrow it down, here are some factors to consider:

Guest of honor:

  • What are the person’s interests and hobbies? What are they passionate about? Do they like music, movies, sports, or travel? Choose a 40th birthday party theme based on their passions and hobbies.
  • What’s their personality like? Are they outgoing and adventurous, or more introverted and relaxed? Choose a theme that matches their energy level and preferred vibe.
  • Do they have a good sense of humor and love a good laugh? A playful or funny theme could be a great fit.

The details:

  • Some themes might require more decorations, costumes, or activities, so factor in your budget constraints.
  • Who will be attending? Consider their age ranges and interests when choosing a theme.
  • Do you have a particular location or venue in mind? If you do, the venue can dictate the overall theme or vibe of the party.

Whether you’re planning a low-key gathering with close friends and family or a big blowout bash for the whole crew, here are some themes and ideas to make your 40th birthday party truly epic:

Best 40th birthday party themes for women


Glamorous and Chic:

  • Golden Goddess: Embrace the “40 & Fabulous” vibe with glitzy gold decorations, sequin dresses, and champagne toasts.
  • Roaring 20s: Transport your guests to the glamorous era of flapper dresses, feather boas, and Gatsby-inspired decor and cocktails.
  • Hollywood Glamour: Channel your inner Marilyn Monroe with a red carpet entrance, paparazzi flashbulbs, and a signature cocktail named after your favorite film.
  • Parisian Chic: Recreate the romantic elegance of Paris with macarons, Eiffel Tower decorations, and French music.
  • Denim & Diamonds: Combine glamour with casual ease in a denim and diamonds theme. Encourage guests to wear their favorite jeans paired with fun, sparkly diamond accessories.
  • Designer Chic: Showcase your inner fashionista and celebrate the Big 40 with your favorite designers: Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Kate Spade, Lilly Pulitzer, etc.
  • High Tea Party: Celebrate your 40th birthday with a touch of elegance by hosting a high tea party with a blend of fine teas and dainty treats.
Back to the 80s poster for 80s party theme

Back to the 80s poster

Adventurous and Fun:

  • Around the World Party: Take your guests on a culinary and cultural journey without leaving your backyard. Set up food stations representing different countries, play international music, and encourage guests to dress in traditional attire.
  • Murder Mystery Dinner Party: Channel your inner detective with a murder mystery party. Assign roles, solve clues, and uncover the culprit in a night full of fun and mystery.
  • Decades Dance Party: Pick your favorite decade, from the groovy 70s and cool 80s to the electrifying 90s, and let the music take you back in time. Dust off your platform shoes or neon leg warmers, and dance the night away on the dance floor!
  • Glow-in-the-Dark Party: Break out the glow sticks and neon paint for a fun and funky glow party.
  • Casino Night: Roll the dice and test your luck with casino-themed games like blackjack, roulette, and poker.
  • Boho Picnic: Embrace the whimsical vibes of a boho picnic with chic floral decorations, dream catchers, and a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Luau: Bring a taste of tropical paradise to your special day with colorful decorations, exotic foods, lively music, and entertaining activities like hula dancing and lei-making.
  • Beach Party: Enjoy a fun and relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy the sun, sand, and surf with friends and family, complete with beach games, a barbecue, and a bonfire under the stars.
  • Forty: The Ultimate F-Word Theme: This theme is a witty and spirited celebration, combining a sense of humor and chic style. Decorate with playful and edgy decor, serve ‘fabulous at forty’ cocktails, and embrace the fun and freedom of this milestone age.
  • Forty AF: A “Forty AF” theme for your birthday is a bold and humorous way to embrace turning 40, featuring vibrant and cheeky decorations, a fun and upbeat playlist, and a creative photobooth with fun props, all celebrating this fabulous age with a wink and a smile.
  • The Big Four Oh!: Celebrating “The Big 4-Oh!” is all about embracing the milestone of turning 40 with a mix of humor, joy, and a touch of nostalgia. It’s a fantastic way to highlight the fun side of entering this fabulous decade.
  • 40th Fiesta/Taco Bout 40 Theme: A “Taco ‘Bout 40” theme for your birthday is a playful and delicious way to celebrate, featuring a build-your-own taco bar, vibrant Mexican-inspired decor, margaritas, and lively music, making for a festive and flavorful fiesta.
  • Nashville-Inspired Cowgirl Theme: Plan a Nashville cowgirl country theme, a lively celebration infused with the spirit of Music City. Include honky-tonk decorations, country music hits, line dancing sessions, and a wardrobe of denim, boots, and cowboy hats, creating a fun-filled Southern bash.
  • Favorite Things Party: A “Favorite Things” party for your 40th birthday is a personalized and delightful theme where you share and enjoy the things you love the most with your guests, from favorite foods, desserts, and drinks to music, movies, or hobbies, creating a uniquely tailored and memorable event. There’s no better way to celebrate than with your favorite things and your favorite people!

40th birthday ideas for women

Celebrating your 40th birthday doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a party. There are many other wonderful and fulfilling ways to commemorate this milestone. Here are 10 ideas that can make your 40th birthday special and memorable:

  1. Weekend getaway: Escape to a new or favorite destination for the weekend. Whether it’s a beach resort, a cabin in the mountains, or a cozy bed and breakfast, a change of scenery can be refreshing and celebratory.
  2. Spa retreat: Treat yourself to a day or weekend at a spa. Indulge in massages, facials, and relaxation in a tranquil setting. It’s a perfect way to pamper yourself.
  3. Adventure experience: If you’re an adrenaline junkie, celebrate by doing something thrilling. Whether it’s skydiving, bungee jumping, scuba diving, or zip-lining, an adventure experience can be exhilarating and memorable.
  4. Culinary class or wine tasting: If you love cooking or wine, consider booking a cooking class or wine-tasting experience. It’s both educational and enjoyable, and you can do it alone or with a few close friends or family members.
  5. Concert or live music:
  6. Arts and culture day: Immerse yourself in the arts by spending the day at museums and galleries or attending a theater performance or concert. 
  7. Personal wellness retreat: Dedicate your day to personal wellness. Engage in activities like yoga, meditation, or journaling. This can be a day for self-reflection and setting intentions for the next decade.
  8. Road trip: Hit the road and explore new places. Whether it’s a scenic drive along the coast, through the mountains, or to a nearby city, a road trip can be a journey of discovery and fun.
  9. Hobby day: Spend the day doing what you love most, whether it’s crafting, painting, gardening, or reading. Taking time to enjoy your hobbies can be a great way to celebrate your special day.
  10. Luxury dinner: Splurge on a dinner at a high-end restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. Savoring a gourmet meal can be a delightful and indulgent way to mark the occasion.

40th birthday party themes for men

Cheers & Beers Cupcake Toppers

Action and Adventure

  • Cheers and Beers to 40 Years / A Cold One For the Old One: Celebrate your inner beer connoisseur with a brewery tour, beer flights, and delicious bratwurst. Decorate with hops, barrels, and a rustic beer garden vibe.
  • Star Wars: May The Forties Be With You: This theme is an imaginative and exciting way to celebrate, complete with intergalactic decorations, costumes from the beloved saga, themed snacks like “Wookiee Cookies,” and a soundtrack of iconic Star Wars music, all making for an epic adventure in a galaxy not so far away.
  • Backyard Campout: Pitch tents, light a bonfire, and roast marshmallows under the stars for an adventurous and memorable celebration. Play outdoor games, tell stories, and enjoy the great outdoors.
  • Poker Night: Test your luck and poker skills with a friendly tournament among friends. Offer prizes, poker chips, and themed snacks for a night of high-stakes fun.
  • Casino Royale: Transform your space into a mini casino with blackjack tables, roulette wheels, and poker games. Hire dealers, serve cocktails, and let the chips fly!
  • Sports Extravaganza: Celebrate your favorite sports team or activity with themed decorations, games, and food. Play backyard baseball, set up a basketball shoot-out, or screen a classic sports movie.
  • Golf Theme: FORE-TEE: This is the ultimate celebration for golf enthusiasts, featuring putting green decor, golf-themed games and challenges, a menu inspired by clubhouse favorites, and witty puns and signage that play on the ‘fore-tee’ and golfing terms, ensuring a ‘hole-in-one’ experience for all.
  • Lordy Lordy Look Who’s 40: A “Lordy, Lordy, Look Who’s 40” theme is a fun and lighthearted way to celebrate your 40th birthday, featuring playful decorations that play on the phrase, a throwback playlist from your favorite decades, photos and videos of your life, and a relaxed atmosphere that encourages guests to revel in the joy of hitting this awesome milestone.

Classy and Sophisticated

  • Whiskey & Cigars: Indulge in the finer things with a whiskey tasting and cigar lounge setup. Choose different whiskeys, offer pairings, and create a speakeasy atmosphere.
  • The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Planning a “The Man, The Myth, The Legend” themed 40th birthday is a brilliant way to celebrate this milestone with style, humor, and a touch of grandeur.

40th birthday ideas for men

There are a variety of fun ideas for men looking to mark their 40th with something other than the traditional party. Here’s a list of 10 ideas that cater to a variety of interests:

  1. Outdoor adventure trip: Plan a trip that involves hiking, camping, or fishing in a scenic location. For the more adventurous, consider a backpacking trip or a visit to a national park.
  2. Sports event: Attend a major sports event, like a football game, basketball match, or car race. This can be a thrilling experience, especially if it’s a sport or team you’re passionate about.
  3. Golf weekend: Spend a weekend playing golf at a renowned golf course. Many golf resorts also offer luxurious amenities for relaxation after a day on the course.
  4. Culinary experience: Book a table at a high-end restaurant you’ve always wanted to try, hire a private chef for you and your friends, or enroll in a gourmet cooking class.
  5. Road trip: Embark on a road trip to explore new destinations. Whether it’s driving along the coast, visiting historical sites, or hitting multiple cities, a road trip can be a great experience.
  6. Home improvement project: Dedicate the day to starting or completing a home improvement project. It could be something as simple as gardening or as ambitious as renovating a part of your home.
  7. Learning a new skill: Sign up for a workshop or class to learn something new, like photography, woodworking, brewing beer, or a new language.
  8. Technology retreat: If you’re a tech enthusiast, spend the day exploring the latest gadgets and technology. This could include visiting tech stores, attending a tech expo, or setting up new gadgets at home.
  9. Bucket List Challenge: Tackle an item from your bucket list. It could be anything from skydiving, getting a tattoo, or riding in a hot air balloon to writing the first chapter of a book you’ve always wanted to write.
  10. Wellness retreat: Book a day at a wellness retreat for some self-care. Activities could include yoga, meditation, sauna, and healthy eating. It’s a refreshing way to reset and rejuvenate.

Budget-friendly 40th birthday ideas

Celebrating a 40th birthday is a memorable milestone, and there are plenty of ways to make it special without breaking the bank. Let’s explore some budget-friendly ideas that can help make this occasion memorable and enjoyable for everyone involved.

1. Potluck Party

Invite guests to bring a dish to share. This not only makes the food preparation easier and more affordable for you but also adds variety to the menu. Everyone gets to taste different homemade dishes, and it encourages a sense of community and sharing.

2. Outdoor Movie Night

Set up a projector in your backyard, lay out some blankets and cushions, and host an outdoor movie night. You can choose a classic movie or a selection of the birthday person’s favorites. Pop some popcorn and grab some drinks for a cozy, cinema-like experience under the stars.

3. DIY Spa Day

Organize a relaxing spa day at home with homemade face masks, manicures, and soothing music. It’s a wonderful way to pamper the birthday person and their guests without the expense of a professional spa. You can find plenty of easy, natural recipes for spa treatments online.

4. Memory Lane Party

Create a nostalgic experience by decorating the party space with photos, memorabilia, and music from the past four decades of the birthday person’s life. Encourage guests to share their favorite memories and stories. It’s a heartfelt way to celebrate and reflect on the journey so far.

5. Virtual Party

If your guests are spread out or if you’re looking to keep things really simple, a virtual party can be a great option. Use a video call platform to bring everyone together for games, a virtual toast, and even a group activity like a trivia quiz about the birthday person.

6. Themed Costume Party

Choose a fun theme that resonates with the birthday person—whether it’s a retro decade, movie characters, or a favorite hobby. Themed parties are exciting because they offer guests a chance to dress up and immerse themselves in a different world for the evening. Plus, you can DIY decorations to fit the theme.

7. Picnic

A picnic can be a wonderful way to enjoy good food, great company, and beautiful scenery. Pack a few large blankets, some easy-to-transport foods, and games like frisbee or card games. Choosing a scenic park or beach location adds to the ambiance without any cost.

8. Crafting Party

Host a crafting session where guests can make something special to take home. Choose a simple project that doesn’t require expensive materials—think painting, beading, or making personalized mugs. It’s a creative and engaging way to spend time together.

9. Karaoke Night

Set up a karaoke machine at home or use a karaoke app on your smart TV. Singing together is a fun and inclusive activity that can bring lots of laughter and memorable performances, all without the need for a pricey venue or professional setup.

10. Game Night

Board games, card games, or even video games can make for an entertaining game night for adults. You could organize a tournament with a small, fun prize for the winner. It’s a great way to engage guests of all ages and interests.

The key to a memorable birthday isn’t how much you spend but the experiences you share with friends and family. With a little creativity and planning, you can create an unforgettable celebration that honors the person without going overboard.

Turning 40 is a remarkable milestone, rich with the wisdom of experience and the excitement of what lies ahead. Whether you choose to embrace the elegance of a high tea, the nostalgia of a vintage theme, the adventurous spirit of a “Taco ‘Bout 40” fiesta, or the playful charm of a “Lordy, Lordy, Look Who’s 40” bash, each of these ideas offers a unique way to celebrate this special occasion.

Your 40th birthday is more than just a number; it’s a celebration of life, love, and the memories you’ve created along the way. So, pick a theme that resonates with your journey, gather your loved ones, and make your 40th birthday an unforgettable chapter in your wonderful story. Here’s to you and the fabulous forties! 

What plans do you have for your 40th birthday? Let us know how you’re celebrating in the comments below.

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