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wikiHow to Have a Surprise Party for Your Mom

Three Methods:Planning the PartyPreparing for the PartyExecuting the Party

Throwing your mom a surprise party is a great way to show her that you care about and appreciate every thing she does for you. Planning a surprise party takes a lot of work, but if you do it right, it can be a hugely rewarding experience. All you need to get started is some organization, a little planning and a lot of secrecy.

Method 1
Planning the Party

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    Get permission. Surprise parties aren’t for everyone and if you’re planning one for a parent, it’s a good idea to ask permission first. Since you don’t want to ruin the surprise for your mom, ask your dad. If that’s not an option, try asking a family member that your mom is close to, like an aunt or grandparent.[1]
    • It’s good to have someone else on board who can help plan the party and also weigh in on your mom’s likes and dislikes.
    • Some people don’t like surprise parties, so if the person you ask says no, brainstorm alternative ways to celebrate your mom.
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    Choose a date. The most important step in planning a surprise party is picking the date; this will inform the rest of your party planning decisions. Think about what the party is for – is it a surprise birthday party? A surprise Mother’s Day party? A surprise party to show your mom how much you appreciate her?[2]
    • If you’re celebrating a specific thing, like a birthday or Mother’s Day, try to pick a Saturday night near the date you’re celebrating.
    • Check your mom’s calendar to make sure she doesn’t have any plans that would conflict with the party.
    • If your mom doesn’t have a calendar, ask your dad or one of your mom’s friends to check to make sure the date is okay (make sure you let them know it’s a surprise!)
  3. 3
    Create a budget. In order to effectively throw this party, you need to know how much money you have available to you. Ask your dad, a relative, or one of your mom’s friends to help you plan the budget for the party.[3]
    • Make sure to factor in things like the venue, food, drinks, decorations, invitations and cake.
    • If you’re working with a small budget, figure out how many of these things you can do yourself to save money.
    • There may be small ways you can cut costs. Instead of sending out physical invitations, you could try inviting people online via email or social media. You could also consider throwing a potluck to cut down on the costs of catering.
  4. 4
    Make the guest list. Decide how big you want the party to be. If you’re planning a big party, you might want to consider inviting the following people: your immediate family, extended family that live nearby, and people that your mom is close to, like co-workers, friends and neighbors.[4]
    • If you’re planning a more intimate party, maybe stick to just immediate family with a few close friends.
    • Ask your dad or one of your mom’s close friends to help you construct the guest list.
    • Make the guest list a month before the party is scheduled to happen.
  5. 5
    Decide on a venue. Once you know how big or small you want the party to be, it’s time to figure out where to hold it. If it’s a smaller party, consider having the party in your own home or in the home of a friend or family member.[5]
    • If it’s a larger party, you may need to rent out space, which will cost money.
    • Look for free spaces in your area. If you belong to a church or synagogue or community center, they may rent out rooms for free for members.
    • Make sure you choose a place where your mom is unlikely to go leading up to the party. If you end up selecting a place that your mom frequents, you will have to find ways to keep her away while setting up the party. This adds an extra layer of complication.

Method 2
Preparing for the Party

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    Send out invitations. Once you have the date, guest list and venue confirmed, it’s time to send out invitations. Invitations can be sent out in a number of different ways: you can make or buy physical invitations, invite people online using e-mail or Facebook or call the people you’re inviting directly.[6]
    • Send out invitations roughly four weeks before the date of the party.
    • Make sure to ask people to RSVP by a certain date so you can get an accurate headcount.
    • Remind people that this is a surprise. You don’t want someone accidentally ruining the party.
    • Make a note on the invite for people to park away from the venue. You don’t want a bunch of cars ruining the surprise.[7]
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    Choose the menu. The menu for the party will depend on the size of the guest list and the party’s venue. Some venues insist that you use their food and beverages, whereas others will allow you to cater or hire someone else to cater your event.[8]
    • If you are planning a party at home or at a venue that allows outside food, make a list of what you want to cook or order.
    • Consider having a potluck. This will take some of the pressure off you to cater the entire party. Plus, people like being able to contribute something to the event.
    • Plan the menu and order any catering you might need four weeks before the party.
    • Decide if you are going to order a cake or make one on your own. A homemade cake can be more sentimental, but it may take more time. If you're already busy planning a party, ordering a cake may make more sense.
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    Plan the decorations. Party decorations are a chance for you to really get creative and have fun. Try to make the decorations personal to your mom and her interests – if she loves gardening, plan to incorporate a lot of flowers into your décor.[9]
    • If you want to keep the decorations simple, plan for balloons, streamers and possibly a banner of some kind.
    • If you’re holding the party outside, make sure to decorate with things that won’t get blown around.
  4. 4
    Choose some sentimental decorations as well. As the party is for your mother, see if you can think of sentimental decorations. Your mother may appreciate decorations that show her how much you appreciate her as a mother.[10]
    • Photos are a big plus for a party for your mother. Hang up photographs that showcase her role in the family. Go through old photo albums and find pictures from big vacations, milestones, and events in your family's history.
    • If you're tech-savvy, go through old movies and photographs you have on a computer. You can create a short movie to play in the background including photos and videos of your mother.
    • Find decorations that speak to your mom's interests. For example, if your mom is an avid horseback rider, consider having little horse figurines lining the tables and having horse-themed tablecloths.

Method 3
Executing the Party

  1. 1
    Go shopping. One week before the party is slated to start, go shopping for everything you need. If you aren’t able to drive, ask your dad or one of your mom’s friends to help you with the shopping trip.[11]
    • Don’t forget to pick up things like cups, plates, napkins and utensils. You can hide these things somewhere in your room so your mom won't see.
    • If you’re buying lots of food, don’t store it in your family refrigerator.
    • Ask a friend or family member if you can store the perishable party supplies at their house so your mom won’t notice.
  2. 2
    Make sure your mom does not get suspicious. In order to throw a good surprise party, you need to be good at deception. People are often able to tell when something is up, so your mom may start asking questions. In the event this happens, do not panic. Try to smooth over the situation.[12]
    • Play dumb. If your mom asks if something is going on, say something like, "I don't know what you're talking about." Keep playing dumb and your mom's suspicion may pass.
    • Try to distract your mom as you plan party events. If your mom has something else going on, she is less likely to notice you sneaking around. You can, for example, have your dad take your mom out to the movies when you need to start gathering decorations.
  3. 3
    Figure out the logistics. Since this is a surprise party, you need a way to get your mom out of the house while you’re setting up and while guests are arriving. Ask one of your mom’s friends to invite her over on the day of the party.[13]
    • Make sure the person hanging out with your mom knows to bring her to the party at a certain time.
    • You could also try having your dad take your mom on a date. When they return, the party begins.
  4. 4
    Clean the house. If you’re holding the party at your home, you need the place to look nice. But cleaning the house for a surprise party can be tricky because you don’t want your mom to get suspicious.[14]
    • Make sure your mom is out of the house before you start cleaning.
    • Prioritize cleaning the bathrooms, living spaces and kitchen. These are the places where people are likely to congregate.
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    Set up and decorate. While your mom is still out, hang all the decorations and set out the food, drink and cake. Make sure you have lots of ice in the freezer and avoid setting out any food that needs to be refrigerated until just before the party starts.[15]
    • If guests bring presents to the party, group them together on a table.
    • Put on some background music to keep the party from feeling still and silent. It's a good idea to make a playlist featuring your mom's favorite songs.
  6. 6
    Figure out how to reveal the party. There are a lot of ways to successfully execute a surprise party. The classic idea is to have the guest enter a dark room where everyone is hiding. Then, when the guest enters, the lights are turned on and everyone jumps out and yells "Surprise!" However, this has become somewhat cliche and it may give the party away prematurely. A dark room is suspicious.[16]
    • If you want a dramatic surprise, you can go with the classic. However, a low-key surprise can be just as fun for your guest. You can have the party in progress when your mom enters. She'll be surprised to come home and have friends and family members waiting for her.
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    Have fun and roll with the punches. Sometimes surprise parties go awry – someone spoils the surprise accidentally or someone comes home too early. No matter how hard you plan, you can’t account for everything that might happen before or during the party.[17]
    • If the surprise gets spoiled accidentally, shake it off. Your mom will still be touched that you thought to throw her a party in the first place.
    • Be a good host. Even if you’re upset about the way the party is going, it’s your job to make sure everyone else is having a good time.


  • Make sure to delegate. Planning a party takes a lot of work, so get as many people to help you as you possibly can.
  • Make sure to thank all your helpers after the party is over.

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