Is your favorite 99-year-old about to turn 100? If so, planning a celebration that truly grasps the excitement of that accomplishment might feel overwhelming.
Jump ahead to these sections:
Some seniors may be more open to a full-on blow-out, while others may want to keep the party low-key. It’s your job to determine which type of party this is, and here are 20 themes and unique decor ideas to help.
100th Birthday Theme Ideas
The first step to plan any party is to choose the perfect theme. Depending on the size of your guest list and the personality of the guest of honor, you may need to decide between a few different ideas. Here are some great themes that are sure to make the party special.
Your loved one has seen ten decades, experienced trends come and go, dressed in the latest fashion and danced to the ever-changing popular music. A decade party has the potential to bring back fond memories as your loved one reminisces his or her favorite decade.
A decade party could be one decade, such as the roaring twenties. Or your invitation can suggest dressing in your favorite decade of fashion!
If you go with the roaring twenties, have your guests wear flapper-inspired attire and play ragtime dance and jazz music over the speakers. Continue with decorations similar to a speakeasy and serve mocktails to tie it all in!
A music-themed party might be the way to go if your 100-year-old loves music. He or she can choose a decade of music for the most nostalgic songs of the last 100 years.
No matter how you choose to run it, include these tips for music-themed decorations, food, and activities: Transform any space into a music-themed party or look into private party options at a music museum or studio. Decorations can range from do-it-yourself cutout music notes to a cake shaped like a snare drum.
Your favorite 100-year-old has seen the evolution of music, so records (real or fake) could be incorporated as well as plates or serving dishes.
A sports-themed party is pretty common for kids, but why not tweak the idea by choosing a sports team or event from the last 100 years?
If your loved one is a baseball fan and his or her team won the World Series 20 years ago, create a party in tribute and to bring him or her back to the excitement.
Sticking with a sports theme should be easy. There are plenty of sports-themed decorations at party supply stores in team colors. The party can include activities like watching the actual game over again, or the highlights, or creating a way to play the sport with your loved one.
For example, he or she may be unable to play baseball with you, but consider creating a mock-up baseball game using a balloon for a ball and a Wiffle ball bat. The possibilities are endless!
The best “on-theme” food and drinks can be concession food — hot dogs and popcorn, sodas and ice cream cones.
4. Pastime or hobby
Most 100-year-olds are no longer able to do their favorite things. If your loved one had dogs his or her whole life or enjoyed gardening every morning, these can be perfect themes for your party.
Choose a hobby or something else your 100-year-old loved and go from there! A dog- or cat-themed party might include everyone bringing his or her dog to the party for the birthday person to enjoy. A gardening party can take place at a park and provide an opportunity for your loved one to pot plants.
5. 100 years ago
An interesting theme would be to create a setting where everything is the way it was 100 years prior. Google the popular music, fashion, activities, and events from 100 years ago to find theme-worthy additions to your party planning!
Guests can be instructed to dress similarly to the time. How about food? Research what foods were popular 100 years ago. Similarly, what had not been invented yet?
6. 100 years in the future
Similar to 100 years in the past, 100 years in the future is a possible theme. This would take some creativity but could revolve around whatever your loved one would enjoy.
You might celebrate it somewhere on-theme. If you have a knack for cooking, you might be able to whip up new and creative “futuristic” dishes to complement the theme as well.
One hundred years can hold thousands and thousands of movies. Let’s say your loved one is a film buff. A movie-themed party might be the ticket. Have your loved one choose his or her favorite movie of all time and center the theme around it.
You can throw the party right at the movie theatre, or create a movie theatre-like atmosphere at your home for this one. Of course, one food option will be popcorn, but boxes of candy or a movie-inspired cake could work, too. Spend the party watching the movie of choice, playing movie-themed trivia or recreating favorite scenes!
8. Jazz party
Many senior citizens enjoy the soft sounds of jazz. A jazz-themed party can be modestly decorated with music note decor and music playing throughout the night. Or you can go a few steps further and go all in to simulate a jazz club with a jazz band in the flesh!
Your party space can be lit with low light and guests can be asked to dress nicely for the occasion.
Join Cake's monthly newsletter.
Learn all you need to know about end-of-life.
A celebrity-themed party is a fun idea for all ages. Does your guest of honor love Elvis? How about Audrey Hepburn?
Playing dress-up is a fun way to nail a theme on the head with costumes and props. Have guests choose a celebrity who has lived in the last 100 years to dress up even act as throughout the party.
10. Past profession
Once you are 100 years old, that nine-to-five job has been long gone for many years. That doesn’t mean your loved one doesn’t miss it and wouldn't like to reminisce about days as a nurse, teacher, construction worker, or whatever job he or she worked at for decades.
This theme can make for a fun location, depending on what profession it is.
If your loved one was a teacher, look into celebrating his or her birthday in his or her old classroom after hours. Guests can get in on the fun with costumes for this theme, and if the theme is teaching, for example, they can come as students or teachers themselves.
Continuing on the teacher theme, food might be apples and school lunch staples like pizza.
Spend the party playing on-theme games, like a spelling bee for a teacher or Jenga for the construction worker.
11. Aging, being old, or old age
How about a theme on growing old if your loved one has a sense of humor? This is bound to generate plenty of laughs and a good time. Guests can dress up in their best senior citizen costumes — glasses, cane and all!
Decorate with large text birthday signage, false teeth and play some bingo. Top the cake with a ridiculous amount of candles or a sign that says “too many to count.”
12. Favorite things
Who wouldn’t love a party that has everything you love? You could fill a room with favorite food and music, a perfectly chosen guest list at the ideal location and favorite activities.
Seniors have been around the block and seen more than the majority of us have. They are often content with the simple things in life. Host the party at a relative's home and be sure to invite the ones who matter most.
An obvious 100th birthday party theme would be “100” with 100 cut-outs everywhere! Anything that has 100 in it or there are 100 of them, use it to bring the theme together. Use fake $100 bills (or real ones, your choice), 100 candies in a jar, 100 cookies, you name it.
Celebrate the century. Your loved one has been alive for 100 years and is here to celebrate it.
There are many seniors out there fully embracing today’s technology, whether they understand it or not. A 100-year-old has lived to see the rapid evolution of technology, and with each innovation, can be further impressed and brought to places they never knew possible.
Have guests bring their techy gear to show off and allow the guest of honor to experience it. Your loved one can play video games, experience virtual reality, use voice-activated technology and more!
100th Birthday Decoration Ideas
When you think of birthday decorations, you probably think balloons, banners, and streamers. Add some personalized extra touches to make the birthday person feel extra special and do the 100-year party the way it should happen.
15. 100 years ago board
This do-it-yourself idea can be done with a poster board, colorful markers, and Google. One hundred years ago, almost everything was different, from the cost of milk or gas to the music on the radio. Looking back on the radical differences in the world can be a fun attraction for all party goers.
Search the guest of honor’s date of birth and pick out some interesting, surprising and fun facts.
16. Family tree
Another unique decor option is a family tree. It’s another DIY project, although you might have to enlist the help of your other relatives to get the relations correct.
Create a tree with materials of your choice, being a square poster board or a construction paper tree. You can write names on branches or go a step further and print photos of each family member. This doesn’t only provide decor for the party, it’s a great gift as well.
Tip: If you're interested in other unique ways to remember the legacy of someone in your family tree, you can consider a custom urn from a store like Foreverence or even have a memorial diamond made from ashes with a company like Eterneva.
17. Photo table numbers
You may be using several tables if this party has a large guest list. A fun decor idea is to personalize table numbers based on the birthday person.
For example, “Table One” might be a photo of the person at one year old (or 10, if you go by decade).
18. Photo display memory board
Similar to a family tree, it’s never a bad idea to devote some time to a keepsake like this. A memory board is a hit at parties, with photos from the birthday person in diapers to recent photos of a family trip. It’s sure to be a tear-jerker, too.
Go digital with a video slideshow! This is also a great option if you have family videos to play as well. One hundred is a milestone birthday and celebrates so much love, family and change that has gone on through the years.
A video to commemorate the last century of your loved ones' life is a great idea and can be projected throughout the party or shown at a particular time of the night.
21. Memorabilia from the past 100 years
Even if you’re using a particular theme for the party, decorations that honor different times of the guest of honor’s life fit in just fine.
Yearbooks from high school, a wedding album, photos — even old newspaper cuttings or items that represent historical events from the last century.
22. Keep it simple
Decor doesn’t have to be over-the-top to be perfect for your loved one. Be sure to always make choices in party planning based on the birthday person's taste, personality, likes, and dislikes.
There’s no doubt your favorite 100-year-old will still appreciate a simple, tasteful decorating job of balloons, streamers and a birthday banner. If you’re feeling drawn to simplicity but want to spice it up a bit, go for the number shaped balloons for a great photo-op.
23. Punny decor
There’s no shortage of pun inspiration for senior citizen birthdays! As long as your loved one is not offended by the jokes, there are plenty of ways to decorate with a side of pun.
One idea: Put out 100 grand candy bars with a sign that says, “Thanks for making 100 grand!”
Celebrate a Century
The truth is, no matter what you plan, chances are the most important thing is that you’re there.
Discuss what your loved one wants for a party and go from there. As long as the people you love are present and some thought is put into the theme and decor, you’ll throw a great celebration.
Looking for more ideas? Read our guides on 100th birthday party cake and theme ideas.