As you plan a retirement party you should do it with diligence and creativity so that the retiree will remember the party for the rest of his or her life. It is important that the party highlights the retiree’s career and recalls happy memories. Use this opportunity to honor the retiree and make them feel special and loved.
When planning a retirement party first consider the honoree’s preferences. Create a reasonable budget, find a venue that will be suitable for festive decorations, plan for food and drinks, buy a cake decorated with retirement cake sayings and send out invitations. The key to a great retirement party is a great theme that highlights the retiree and reflects his or her personality. Make your honoree feel extra special by tailoring the party to his or her specific hobbies, interests, activities, and passions.
Below are 20 creative and fun ideas, games, themes, and activities that can help inspire the planning of your retirement party:
1. Plan a “gentle” roast. Get co-workers and family members to brainstorm jokes and funny stories about the retiree. Make sure to keep these lighthearted and not mean spirited.
2. You can have a party themed: “Things that don’t work anymore.” Have guest bring gifts that are broken and cannot be repaired. Make sure to have a real gift at the end of the party to present to the retiree.
3. Have a ceremony to symbolizing no longer having to get up and go to work. Before cutting the cake, wrap an alarm clock in a bag and have the retiree smash it.
4. Have a round of toasts. Allow guest to tell the honoree what he or she did that changed their life and share sincere words of appreciation.
5. Put together a PowerPoint presentation of pictures from the retiree’s career. You can have this running during a meal or just set it up in the corner and have it loop all night long. Or before the party date compile a video by having co-workers and family members perform skits, songs, poems, or other tributes to the retiree. Show the video during the party.
6. Decorate the tables with a theme that relates to the retiree. You can do the same theme for all tables, but a different theme is also fun. Highlight different aspects of the retiree’s life (e.g. he was a photographer, Army veteran, baseball fanatic, father, husband, golfer, handyman, etc). On each table decorate accordingly and provide a brief description as to why the items are there and how they apply to the retiree’s life.
7. Place a large glass jar on the retiree’s table. Give each guest a marble and them go up to the table sometime during the meal and drop the marble in the jar to represent all the marbles the retiree has lost over the last years. Each person can wish the retiree well as they place their marble in the jar.
8. Theme the party by where the retiree likes to vacation or would want to retire. Vegas: Have a casino night. Tropical paradise: Have a luau. South America: Have a Mexican Fiesta or Rio Carnival Night. New Orleans: Mardi Gras! The Amazon: Have a Jungle theme. Texas: Have a Wild Wild West party.
9. Put up photographs and a few quotes around the room the room (either from the honoree or choose famous quotes that are especially meaningful).
10. Ask each guest to write down a suggestion for a leisure time activity, a recipe, or retirement advice for the retiree in a guest book. Or compile a book of photos and have everyone write a personal note on the back of a page that is most appropriate when they come in or leave the party.
11. Near the entrance set up a small hammock and retirement scene with tropical drink, newspaper, pillow, hat, radio, etc. where the guests can leave presents.
12. Hire a photographer and/or videographer to record memories of the night. You can later make these into a memorable gift for the retiree. Or consider putting a video camera in the corner of the room where guests can leave a message for the guest of honor.
13. Cut out funny photos of magazines and make them into slides. Write a script that uses the slides to tell a silly story on the guest of honor. Set this to music if possible. Have someone with a great sense of humor read “The Story of ______.”
14. Make a life size cut out of a silly photo of the retiree and tell him/her that his/her replacement has been hired. Unveil the photo. You can use it as a “guest book” by letting all the guests sign somewhere on the photo.
15. For someone with a good sense of humor, have everyone come to the party with a sample size of old people products such as denture cream. Have the retiree sit in a rocker or wheelchair for all presentations and put a shawl around his/her shoulders.
16. Consider creating a mini quiz that the guests can take with a small prize for the winner. Make sure some of the questions are ones everyone will know so that all will have fun participating, but still have a couple stumpers so that it ensures you do not have too many winners.
17. Make a t-shirt with a funny picture of the retiree that everyone wears to the party. Or have guests dress up in themed clothing that somehow represents the guest of honor.
18. Set up a money tree. Take a branch of a tree that has many smaller branches on it and “plant” it in a pot. Have guests contribute one, five, or ten dollar bills folded into bow for the leaves of the tree. Attach the money to the branches and give this as a gift to the guest of honor.
19. Have everyone write down what they think the newly retired person will be doing now that they are no longer working. Read the answers out loud and award a prize for the most creative and outlandishly funny answer.
20. Divide the guest into a few groups and give each group a piece of paper with the letters of the alphabet down the side of the paper. Next to each letter have them write an activity that the retiree can do that begins with that letter. When the time is up, have teams call out answers and cross off any answers that are duplicates. For each unique answer give the team a point. Give a prize to the team with the most points.