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40 Unique 40th Birthday Party Ideas: To Remember

Uncover 40th birthday party inspiration to ensure your milestone celebration is truly unforgettable

Turning 40 is a huge milestone in life. As you get closer to your or a loved one’s 40th birthday, stress may start to set in. How can you best celebrate this massive turning point in life without going crazy planning it?

You and yours have plenty of entertaining options to explore in our list of the most fantastic 40th birthday party ideas and themes. Whether you’re planning for a man or a woman, aiming for luxury, or sticking to a budget, our comprehensive guide will help you make this milestone unforgettable.

40th Birthday Party Ideas

  • A supernatural birthday party offers tarot card readings and spooky fun for all.
  • Climb aboard a yacht for a day full of luxury on the ocean.
  • Fiesta at Forty.
  • Girls’ Karaoke.
  • Brewery Tour.
  • Night at the Museum.
  • Craft Class.

Why is 40 a Big Birthday?

Turning 40 is often seen as the midpoint of a typical human lifespan and a bridge between youth and middle age. At this landmark, people reflect, assessing their achievements, goals, and health as they shoulder increased responsibilities like raising children and caring for aging parents.

Societal expectations of career success and financial stability further contribute to the significance of this age. Culturally, some mark this transition with rituals. Celebrating one’s 40th birthday becomes a time to appreciate experiences, wisdom, and life lessons, emphasizing life’s journey and the exciting times ahead.

40 Unforgettable 40th Birthday Party Ideas

Kick off your 40th birthday party planning with a look at some amazing party decorations and supplies..

40th Birthday Party Themes for Adults

These inventive 40th birthday themes give you an idea of what to do and offer everyone a reason to celebrate.

1. Murder Mystery

A 40th birthday party is the best time for creative and unique activities. Hosting a murder mystery-themed party is among the most entertaining 40th birthday party ideas. From a group dinner to a mystery everyone needs to solve, no one will be short of things to do.

2. 1980s Throwback

Celebrating the 80s is the perfect excuse to go wild on party decorations and costumes. Even the food can reflect 80’s favorites, while the music will provide plenty of entertainment.

3. Hawaiian Luau

Whether partying at a beach, pool, or indoors, a Hawaiian Luau offers a cool celebration for adults. From tiki torches and grass skirts to flower leis, there are tons of decorative options here. There’s sure to be an array of colorful tropical cocktails with umbrellas in them, too.

4. Supernatural

It doesn’t have to be Halloween to enjoy a dark but fun 40th birthday party with a supernatural theme. Activities like tarot cards and palm readings can bring smiles to everyone’s face, while a supernatural birthday cake is in order.

5. Ruby Jubilee in Red

A Ruby Jubilee party is often dressed in red to celebrate a 40th anniversary. You can do the same when searching for 40th birthday ideas. Draping everything in red or burgundy adds a regal flair to any party. The guests will also love to dress up in red if part of the theme.

6. Beach Party

Celebrate your 40th birthday in coastal style with a beach-themed party! With comfortable lounging areas, good food, and amenities, it’s easy to make the day feel grand. Guests can enjoy tropical cocktails, beach games, and the sound of crashing waves, creating a laid-back and unforgettable celebration by the shore.

7. Fiesta at Forty

Create a memorable 40th birthday party with a Mexican-inspired fiesta. The colorful set-up works as well indoors as it does outdoors, with fun and games sure to follow. The fruity drinks alone are worth having a fiesta when turning 40.

8. Fashionista Costume Party

Adults love dressing up in the name of fashion, no matter what the occasion. A 40th birthday allows guests to find their best costume or fashion-forward look to go big. This theme works well when a photo booth is involved and even a contest for the best look of the evening.

40th Birthday Party Ideas for Her

Elevate a fabulous female’s 40th birthday celebration with a curated list of unforgettable ideas designed exclusively for women, ensuring a day filled with luxury, fun, and cherished memories.

1. Wine Tasting

Fabulous 40th birthday themes for your wife include a few classics, like a full-on ladies’ wine-tasting party. A trip to a vineyard with friends can make memories last forever. A wine-tasting theme for her at home can also convince her she’s on a trip to wine country for the day.

2. Girls’ Karaoke

Most good parties end with some form of karaoke anyway, but a 40th birthday centered on karaoke can surprise everyone. You can rent a room at a dedicated karaoke venue or keep it personal at home. Either way, the ladies are bound to have a fabulous time belting out their favorite tunes.

3. Horseback Riding

Set against scenic landscapes, this unique experience offers a blend of adventure and luxury. From leisurely rides through nature to extravagant equestrian parties, it’s a memorable way for her to embrace her 40th birthday and create cherished memories.

4. Wine & Chocolate Pairing

When you’ve outgrown pizza and cake, nothing less than a wine and chocolate pairing party will do. You can arrange a private group tour at a chocolate-making company or DIY the pairings at home. Enjoy combinations like sea-salted dark chocolate with Marsala or peanut butter milk chocolate with a vintage port.

5. Ladies’ Cruise

Get the ladies together to set sail on the high seas to celebrate her 40th, where luxury, entertainment, and ocean views abound. Whether a tropical escape or a lavish cruise liner, this nautical adventure promises an unforgettable celebration on the waves, perfect for marking this milestone.

6. High Tea

Indulge in the epitome of sophistication with a high tea-themed 40th birthday party. Set in an elegant venue or adorned with tea time decor, this celebration allows you to savor dainty sandwiches, delectable teacakes, and endless pots of tea in the company of loved ones.

7. Sleepover

Who says you’re too old for a sleepover at 40? Embrace the nostalgia and fun by hosting a sleepover with your favorite ladies. As adults, you can elevate the experience with DIY snacks, adult-sized teepees or tents, and endless laughter, creating a memorable and carefree night to remember.

8. Mixology Party

Escape the traditional bar scene and opt for a stylish mixology party for your 40th birthday. Hire a bartender to teach the art of crafting cocktails with flavorful ingredients. Guests will enjoy delicious drinks and cheers aplenty, making it a perfect way to celebrate this milestone.

40th Birthday Party Ideas for Him

If you’re searching for themes for your husband, he’s sure to appreciate the uniqueness and fun of these 40th-birthday ideas.

1. Camping

Consider a camping getaway with friends for a more relaxed 40th birthday celebration. Leave behind the hustle and bustle for a tranquil outdoor adventure. The guys can enjoy the serenity of nature, bond around the campfire, and cherish the simplicity of turning 40 in the great outdoors.

2. Brewery Tour

Take the beer-themed celebration for him up a notch by organizing a brewery tour for his 40th birthday. Most breweries are used to group tours where guests can learn all about how beer is made. The best part is savoring samples of the craft brews along the way.

3. Casino Night

When a trip to Monaco isn’t possible, transport your guests to a glamorous casino atmosphere with a casino night-themed 40th birthday party at home. Set up gaming tables, poker chips, and playing cards, and encourage guests to try their luck. With the right cocktails and entertainment, this lively gathering guarantees a memorable evening.

4. Yacht Party

Sail into your 40s with a lavish yacht party. Wealth is not required; opt for a boat tour on a luxurious yacht. Choose the perfect time of day to set sail, and let the celebration unfold on the water, creating unforgettable memories surrounded by the sea.

5. BBQ

Celebrate your 40th birthday with a massive BBQ for a gathering of loved ones and friends alike. An impressive spread of grilled meats can include interesting side dishes to keep things fresh. The guys can eat to their hearts’ content and then some.

6. Comedy Night

Gather a group of friends for an evening of laughter and camaraderie with a comedy night out. Plan an outing to a local comedy club when your favorite comedian is performing. It’s a fantastic opportunity to share hearty laughs with cherished friends as you enter your 40s.

7. Escape Room

Turn a birthday outing into something more interesting with the help of an escape room challenge. Collaborate with friends to solve puzzles, find clues, and work together to escape. It’s an engaging and intellectually stimulating way to celebrate your 40th birthday, ensuring a memorable day filled with teamwork and fun.

8. Zombie Tour

For hardcore horror fans, a zombie-themed birthday tour offers a thrilling experience. Embrace the opportunity to dress up as scary zombies and immerse yourself in this eerie celebration. Whether it’s a spooky walking tour or a visit to a haunted location, it’s a unique and funny way to mark your 40th.

Luxury 40th Birthday Celebration Ideas

With 40 a reason to celebrate in style, nothing but luxurious 40th birthday ideas will do.

1. Private Chef

Indulge in luxury for your 40th birthday by hiring a private chef. Let them craft a personalized and opulent menu, creating a dining experience like no other. This culinary adventure ensures that your birthday is a gastronomic delight, with every dish tailored to your preferences.

2. Rent Out a Theater

Transform your birthday into a cinematic extravaganza by renting out an entire theater. It may not be cheap, but it makes for an awesome party space. As an exclusive rental, you can fill it with the entertainment of your choice, whether it’s a private movie screening, live performance, or a special presentation.

3. Spa Weekend

Escape to a tranquil spa retreat for a weekend of relaxation and rejuvenation. Whether unwinding with friends or seeking personal tranquility, indulge in luxurious spa treatments and wellness experiences in a breathtaking setting. It’s a perfect way to pamper yourself on your 40th birthday.

4. Fancy Dress / Black-Tie Party

Don your most elegant attire and host a black-tie birthday party for a touch of sophistication. Decorate with opulence, and encourage guests to dress to the nines. With fine music, gourmet cuisine, and top-notch entertainment, this extravagant celebration guarantees an unforgettable 40th birthday.

5. Las Vegas

Gather your besties for an impressive 40th birthday and head to Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps. Whether you prefer gambling, sightseeing, or fine dining, Vegas offers a world of entertainment options. It’s a destination birthday celebration packed with excitement and adventure.

6. Night at the Museum

Turn your 40th birthday into a grand affair with a Night at the Museum-themed party. Rent out a library, gallery, or garden space in a cultural institution for an elegant and lavish celebration. Encourage guests to dress as historical figures or works of art for a truly unique experience.

7. Private Jet

Experience the epitome of luxury by celebrating your 40th birthday on a private jet. Whether for a destination birthday or an in-flight party, a private jet adds a touch of opulence to your celebration. Enjoy gourmet dining and champagne at 20,000 feet, creating cherished memories of your special day.

8. Head to the Castle

For the ultimate in luxury 40th birthday party ideas, head to a big, beautiful castle. Whether nestled in the mountains or steps from the sea, there’s nothing quite like a birthday bash in a castle. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will make you feel like royalty.

40th Birthday Party Ideas on a Budget

Planning on a budget won’t interfere with the wonderful memories these 40th birthday ideas will inspire.

1. Potluck Dinner

Celebrate your 40th birthday with a delightful potluck dinner, where friends and family contribute their favorite dishes. It’s a budget-friendly way to enjoy a diverse array of delicious homemade meals. Plus, everyone can bond over cleanup duty afterward.

2. Zoom Call

These days, it’s hard to get people all in the same place, even for a 40th birthday celebration. When money’s tight, it’s even harder. A birthday Zoom call allows friends to virtually connect and say cheers to the birthday guy or gal. Raise your glasses (and remember to wear pants) for a birthday Zoom call with style.

3. At-Home Spa Day

You don’t have to head to a luxury spa when you can create your own at home. Friends can help make DIY masks and spa products for pampering sessions. An at-home spa party is a thoughtful and rejuvenating 40th birthday theme on a budget.

4. Craft Class

Tap into your artistic side with a budget-friendly craft class birthday party. Experts are nice but not required for a day of painting, sketching, or other crafts. Minimal supplies are needed, keeping expenses in check while fostering creativity and enjoyment.

5. Volunteer

A 40th birthday may be the right time for getting together with friends to do good for others. The trend of volunteering instead of a traditional birthday party is more popular than ever. It’ll make your heart feel good to spend worthwhile time with those you love, and it won’t cost a dime.

6. Picnic in the Park

Having a birthday picnic in the park won’t ever go out of style. It’s easy, fun, and a wonderful way to spend a 40th birthday outdoors (if weather permits). You can keep the picnic spread basic so expenses don’t get out of hand. After all, the sunshine and singing birds are free.

7. Dance Party

When you don’t have a ton to spend on 40th birthday ideas, just dance. Fancy costumes aren’t required, nor are expensive decorations or setups. A few lights or pieces of decor and some great tunes will get everyone in the mood to move.

8. Movie Marathon

You don’t have to buy tickets to a premiere or host a drive-in party in the backyard for a birthday. It’s just as entertaining to gather with friends for as long a movie or series marathon as they can handle. Most of the budget can go towards movie theater candy and snacks, which are always easy to find.

How Can I Make My 40th Birthday Party Special?

To make your 40th birthday party special, embrace the newfound freedom that this milestone offers. Start by curating a guest list of close friends and family. You can choose a meaningful theme or even engage in volunteer work that brings joy to your soul. You can personalize decorations with photos and mementos from your life journey. Encourage heartfelt toasts and speeches, offer personalized party favors, and include thoughtful thank-you notes. Most importantly, stay present, relishing each moment and creating lasting memories with those who matter most.


Do People Have 40th Birthday Parties?

People celebrate their 40th birthday oftentimes more than they would when turning 20 or 30. Turning 40 is often seen as a major transition, marking the beginning of a new phase of adulthood. Many individuals choose to commemorate this occasion with family and friends by hosting a party or gathering. While the scale and style of these parties may vary, the sentiment behind celebrating a 40th birthday is a common and cherished tradition for many people.

What Symbolizes a 40th Birthday?

A 40th birthday is often referred to as a Ruby Jubilee, a term traditionally reserved for celebrating 40th anniversaries. This special milestone is symbolized by the ruby, a precious gemstone representing love and success. As W.B. Pitkin aptly put it, “Life begins at forty,” signifying the start of a new and vibrant chapter. The ruby theme is commonly embraced, with red and ruby-colored elements adorning decorations, gifts, and attire to mark this significant occasion.

What is a Good Color for a 40th Birthday Party?

While no official color is associated with a 40th birthday, some like to represent it with burgundy. You could use the Ruby Jubilee as an excuse to make the party red or burgundy or any color that matches the theme. Some link the color black to a 40th birthday to represent maturity and sophistication.

What Do You Say to a Woman on Her 40th Birthday?

While turning 40 can sometimes bring stress to a woman, any birthday message of love and positivity works well. Something like “Wishing you a very Happy Birthday and the best is yet to come” is thoughtful. “Cheers to your 40th Birthday and all the wonderful memories so far” also suggests her future is bright.

What Do You Buy a 40-Year-Old for His Birthday?

There are many unique gifts a man would love to get on his 40th birthday. Anything personalized, from a bar set to a keepsake, will stay with him long after the party ends. Household items like a monogrammed cutting board or watch box also serve a purpose while standing out.

A collection of memories in a photo book or memory board lets him know how much he has to celebrate.

What Do You Wear to a Party At 40?

A 40th birthday party is the perfect time to dress up and go over the top if you wish to. It’s good to wear fabrics like silk, leather, or velvet for a super-polished look. If glam is not your thing, try to focus on one piece of your outfit that reflects you most. When the party has a theme, what to wear becomes easy and fun for all.

Headshot of Maryana Vestic

About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.