Planning a 50th birthday party for someone special should entail going above and beyond a typical adult birthday party to focus on the milestone celebration. A theme, such as "taking a trip down memory lane," will set the tone for the party with its focus on key events or memories that have made up the birthday celebrant's half-century on earth.
Make invitations that truly represent the birthday celebrant's life. Create a collage of photos of the different houses he's lived in throughout his life with a street sign that says "Memory Lane." Arrange photocopies of the pictures on cardstock to make the invitations or manipulate the photos in a photo software program.
Alternately, you can create a timeline of the recipient's life on the front of the invitation with the title "A Trip Down Memory Lane." Use at least five pictures, one for each decade of his life, and include major milestones, such as his birth, wedding day, the birth of his children and major accomplishments; mark his 50th birthday as the last entry.
Invite a few of his childhood friends, college buddies or relatives he hasn't seen since he was much younger. Seeing a few people who had a large impact on his life but who haven't been around recently may contribute to the party theme and serve as a special surprise for him.
Hang a rope, ribbon or piece of twine along the length of the room and use clothespins to hang pictures of, newspaper clippings about or quotes from friends and family about the birthday celebrant.
Frame a recent picture or collage of pictures of the birthday celebrant and ask her friends and family members to write a birthday greeting on the mat around the photos. This can serve as a special gift for her and as the centerpiece of the party's decorations.
Fill jars or large, see-through containers with items the birthday celebrant uses daily or has enjoyed over the years. If you have enough tables, use one jar for each of her five decades. For example, the first decade might include toys she played with as a child or her favorite candies. Place 50 items in each jar if the items are small enough.
Ask guests to stand up and share their favorite stories or memories about the birthday celebrant. A private videography area can be set up for this if you don't want to make it public; this also enables the birthday celebrant to replay the comments at any time after his birthday. Decorate the stage area with a street sign that says "Memory Lane."
Put together a memory book or scrapbook, with each guest creating her own page. Ask guests to decorate their pages before the party or to bring pictures and stories with them.
Use the stories you've heard over the years or new information guests share with you to compile trivia about the birthday celebrant. You can play a game with the information or print the anecdotes on napkins for all of the guests to enjoy.