When you’re a kid, you look forward to birthdays because they mean parties and presents, but the appeal usually fades as you get older. Still, regardless of a person’s age, you can make a birthday party exciting in a variety of ways. Here are eight suggestions:

Personalize the Theme

Kids are always passionate about something. They usually have a favorite television show, movie, hero or hobby that lends itself to an exciting birthday party theme. Carry the theme through everything, from the cake and decorations to the party favors and games.

Depending on the child’s age, you can even book a character appearance. What’s more exciting to a youngster than meeting his or her favorite cartoon character or superhero?

Adults have passions, too, so why not have a party themed to golf or science fiction or another hobby or interest that you know will thrill the person? He or she will probably be excited to have the opportunity to be a bit of a kid again with a party celebrating “Dr. Who,” a favorite sports team or whatever else you conjure up.

Hold the Party Somewhere Fun

Birthday parties for kids have evolved from being home-based affairs to being held at restaurants like Chuck E. Cheese’s or McDonald’s. Now, there are an infinite number of exciting places you can hold parties.

Kids love the excitement of a go-kart track, miniature golf course or water park if it’s a summer birthday. There are plenty of indoor options for colder weather (think ice skating rinks), especially if you live near a large city. Look for more unusual places, too. For example, some cities have things like indoor sky diving and surfing that make for an exciting and memorable experience.

Tie the Location and Theme Together

You can often tie in the party location with the exciting theme you’ve chosen. For example, if your child is crazy about mermaids, see if the aquarium in a nearby city holds birthday parties. If so, you’ve got the perfect ambiance. If you have a dinosaur fan in the household, check out a museum. Hold a party with pony rides at a local stable for your little horse lover.

For adults, what about something really wild and crazy, like zip lining or a hot air balloon ride? Just because you’re a grown-up doesn’t mean there aren’t many exciting new activities to try!

Have a Scavenger Hunt

Kids love searching for Easter eggs and playing hide and seek. Tap into this love by creating an exciting scavenger hunt that leads to presents or a big birthday surprise. Get the other party attendees in on the game, and have surprises for them to find, too.

This strategy is great for adults, too. Use it to bring out the kid in your spouse. The hunt can lead to a specially selected present that he or she has been wanting or a special romantic surprise with a “party” for just the two of you.

Take a Trip

Birthdays are especially exciting when the party takes place on a trip. What kid wouldn’t be thrilled to celebrate at Disney for his or her birthday? What adult wouldn’t love a party on a cruise? You can add an element of adventure if you wish by booking a week at a dude ranch that allows guests to round up cattle or a hiking trip through the rain forest.

The trip doesn’t have to be far away or expensive. Spend the birthday weekend at a fun place that’s within easy driving distance if you don’t have the time or budget for a full-blown trip.

Change the Date

If you’re planning a surprise party, why not totally change the date to make it a real shocker? It’s hard to conceal a surprise party from the birthday boy or girl, whether they’re a child or adult. If you hold the party a week or more, early, you throw them off the scent because they’re not expecting anything yet.

Highlight Former Birthdays 

At weddings, it’s popular to show childhood photos of the bride and groom. A birthday party is also a great place to do that, especially with adults celebrating a milestone birthday. It’s exciting to see how someone has changed over the decades. It’s also more upbeat than the traditional black decorations and faux mourning atmosphere at the typical 50th or 60th birthday party.

The person celebrating might feel a little down about getting old. It’s easy to forget that the Bible celebrates the wisdom that comes with age:

With aged men is wisdom, in length of days understanding. —Job 12:12

Remind the honoree by bringing up accomplishments and milestones during the pictorial presentation.

Invite a Special Guest

This one is easy for children. As mentioned earlier, you can often arrange to have a favorite character attend the birthday party. However, special guests are a great way to add excitement to an adult’s party, too.

Your spouse or other family member celebrating a birthday might not be excited to see Spiderman, but what about that best friend from school with whom he or she lost touch or the favorite relative who moved far away? If possible, arrange a personal visit. If not, a Skype call is a great way to bring that person to the party, regardless of the actual location.

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