Last Updated on April 2, 2023
If someone you love is celebrating the big four-oh, you’re definitely going to need some funny 40th birthday ideas. Because getting older doesn’t have to mean losing your sense of humor… in fact, you’ll probably need it to face the decades ahead!
A 40th birthday represents a pretty big milestone for most people. And celebrating with friends, family –and a lot of laughter! — is the very best way to keep everyone young. If you find yourself wanting for ideas for a 40th birthday, the easiest way to put together a successful party is to do it one piece at a time. From games to music and food, each element can have a light-hearted motif.
40th Birthday Party Games
If you’re looking for ideas that will give all your guests a good laugh –including the guest of honor– party games are perhaps the easiest way to do it… unless you’re planning to hire a comedian! They also act as a wonderful vehicle to get people socializing, and can be a great way to break the ice between people who may not know each other well.
Spotlight on the Guest of Honor
One idea that’s less focused on the specific age of the birthday guy or girl –and more focused on the person him or herself– is having a roast or a game of trivia about the guest of honor.
Set-Up and Game Play: Similar to the old show This is your Life, guests will all be requested bring stories about the guest of honor. Each guest hides behind a curtain sharing their amusing memories until the guest of honor guesses the identity.
Do it a little differently: A simpler alternative to this funny 40th birthday idea is having a hat filled with guests’ stories, randomly choosing one, and each person sharing in turn.
The Time Machine Party Game: 40 Years of History
Another fun game for a 40th birthday party would be a “blast from the past”– that is, a trivia game entirely focused on the past forty years.
Set-Up and Game Play: From Olympians to the space race and celebrities, make up trivia cards covering the entire four decades. Slip in some history about the guest of honor along the way! Hand out pencils and answer sheets. The guest who gets the most trivia questions wins. For this, it’s nice to have some type of theme prize, like a historical coin or other bit of memorabilia.
“How old am I?” Party Game
Among funny 40th birthday ideas out there, this is my favorite one if you’re looking for something funny that’s also a bit sentimental.
Set-Up and Game Play: You’ll need friends and family to collect pictures of the celebrant at various ages and events. Slides work best, or a dvd of photos shown on a large-screen TV so that everyone in the room can see the show together. As you put up
each picture, people guess the guest-of-honor’s age in the photo. The change in styles is enough to keep this game pretty upbeat!
Funny 40th Birthday Gag Gift Ideas
Looking for funny 40th birthday ideas for a great gift for the guest of honor? The best approach will probably be to balance humor with a bit of thoughtfulness. Sure, you want to make the guest of honor laugh… but you don’t want to make them cry!
So choose a gift that the 40th birthday guy or girl really will like… and throw in an over the hill gag gift for a bit of good fun. Or you can even put together a gag gift basket (have all of the guests contribute something!) Some fun ideas for gag gifts to add might be:
- Drugstore reading glasses
- Hair growth products
- Denture cream
- Gray hair dye
- Container of Metamucil
- A cane (or a plastic gag cane)
- The Clapper (if they still sell it!)
- A gift certificate to the local cafeteria
- Depends Diapers
- Brochures for wheels chairs, scooters, or nursing homes (got to send away for them ahead of time!)
Music for a 40th Birthday
Music offers two important elements to your party. First it becomes a backdrop for all the activities. Secondly, it can become an activity in itself either by offering dance space or karaoke (which is always a hoot).
For this part of your party, look to music playing made the year the celebrant was born, or the top songs over the past forty years, or what was the most popular when he or she was a teenager. If you can hire or borrow a karaoke machine and watch the birthday guy or girl sing his favorites… so much the better!
Want to be a little sweeter? You could also ask the celebrant for 40 of their favorite hits from their lifetime, and put them on a CD that you can play throughout the event.
Food for a 40th Birthday Party
There are a lot fun and funny 40th birthday party ideas for choosing your party food. No matter what your menu is, there’s fun to be had.
Senior Citizen Staples. When you set up your party buffet table, be sure to leave some room for some gag items like prune juice or “old people food” like oatmeal. To really get a laugh out of your guests, place a blender on the buffet table with a note saying “To Help Hannah Eat Her Steak” (using the birthday guy or girl’s name, of course!).
Old-Timey Menu. Another fun menu idea for a 40th birthday is to add some classic candy to your buffet table, and perhaps a few items commonly found on menus when the person was born. For example, when Nixon went to China in 1972 items on the menu included three colored eggs and fried spring rolls, both of which make great finger food. Have fun with it!
No matter what you choose for food, entertainment, etc., always keep your celebrant in mind. While you might think one thing is absolutely hysterical… the person turning 40 may not see it the same way! If you put yourself into that person’s shoes and ask for insight from family and friends, your funny 40th.