The 28th birthday party occupies an ambiguous role. Lacking the pleasant roundness of the 20th, 25th or 30th birthdays or the legal significance of the 18th and 21st, the 28th birthday firmly announces one's entrance into their late twenties--but is generally not an occasion for large-scale hoopla. However, there are a number of ways you can still commemorate the date in style.
For summer birthdays, there are few activities that beat the old-fashioned barbecue. Outdoor cookouts allow the birthday guy or girl to mingle with guests in a low-key environment. In between beers and ribs, guests can play a variety of outdoor games, including croquet, touch football and Frisbee. In lieu of a birthday cake, consider throwing some sugar-soaked fruit on the grill. If doused in 100 proof liquor, the fruits will catch on fire for a tasty flambe. Be sure to have the birthday girl make a wish and try to blow out the fire.
Wine and Cheese Party
If you're looking for a more upscale, but still relatively low-pressure party, consider a wine-and-cheese social. Instead of having guests bring presents, ask them to contribute a bottle of wine or a cheese. While mingling with your guests, sample the offerings. This affair is perfect for those looking to observe the transition to a more mature, sophisticated stage of life.
If food isn't your thing, revert to childhood and have a pirate-themed party. Although playing pirates is a staple of childhood, the fascination with the buccaneer often continues well into adulthood. Pirate-themed parties generally have several rules: only those dressed as pirates or period-appropriate wenches are admitted; all guests must speak like a pirate; and all gifts must be pirate-related. Activities can include the drunken singing of sea chanteys and boating.
For those who entered a career directly out of college, 28 generally marks about the fifth year during which they have held a profession. In many cases, this has come with at least one promotion and pay raise. Since the birthday guy or gal is likely still unburdened with the financial responsibilities of kids and a mortgage, this may be the perfect age to live recklessly for a day and make use of some of that hard-earned disposable income. Rent out the VIP room at a trendy nightclub and go nuts.
Like the pirate party, the costume party involves an element of dress-up. Yet while the pirate party is intrinsically silly, costume parties--particularly costume balls--have an air of old-time elegance. Activities should include dancing and using the costumes to reenact scenes from the birthday guy's life.