Surprise Welcome-Home Party Ideas

by Barbie Carpenter

Pull off a surprise party for the person in your life who has been away from home. Celebrate the return of a soldier from overseas, a college student from campus or a family member moving back to her hometown. A surprise party takes some planning to pull off, so don't delay. Welcome your friend or family member home with the surprise of a lifetime.


Choosing an unexpected location can ensure that you truly surprise your guest of honor. If you invite her to your home on the first Saturday night that's she back in town and she sees cars parked up and down your street, she's sure to be suspicious. On the other hand, if you invite her for a walk in a local park and she stumbles upon all of her family and friends in a nearby pavilion waiting to greet her, you'll catch her off guard.


Make your surprise welcome-home party memorable by choosing a theme that fits the guest of honor. If he is returning home after serving overseas, an all-American bash will work well. Decorate in red, white and blue and serve classic American foods like burgers, hot dogs and apple pie. If your long-lost relative spent the last two years living in Paris, a French-themed welcome-home party with French-inspired decor and food will help him transition from Paris to his hometown.


Determining how to inform you guests, hide them before the guest of honor arrives and keep them quiet can be a challenge with a surprise party. Because your guest of honor will be out of town during much of the planning, keeping guests quiet might be a little easier; the honoree is less likely to accidentally overhear or see anything suspicious. However, you still need to ensure the surprise stays a surprise. Ask guests to arrive at least an hour before the guest of honor will; this will give even latecomers an opportunity to make it with plenty of time to spare.

Special Touches

Welcoming a friend or family member home with a surprise party can be even more special if you decorate your party venue with a personal flair. Collect pictures of your guest of honor from her hometown days and display them throughout the venue. Scatter framed pictures on tables, or make a collage of photos from her past. If the guest of honor has a favorite food or drink from his hometown, serve it at the party. Bring in some barbecue from his favorite restaurant or the best sweet tea in town. He'll feel right at home.

About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.

Photo Credits

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