Passing the half century mark is a milestone, but it's nothing like it used to be and really can be a laughing matter. Celebrants are generally healthy, active and enjoy jokes about their venerable age. Using tools as a theme personalizes the party and lets guests bring real or gag gifts. Start by giving guests disposable cameras as a tool to record the event and make a slideshow of the funniest ones for your gift.
Buy or borrow a pottery wheel, get a supply of carving and polishing tools from the craft store and furnish each guest with a lump of clay. Challenge everyone to create a portrait of the birthday girl when she was 25 by sculpting or building the clay into a figure, or molding one on the wheel. Provide decorative bits like pieces of cloth to make gag clothes of the era; feathers for boas, beards or hair and glazes to paint facial expressions and details. Give prizes for the most appropriate, outlandish and hilarious.
Buying a new car is common for those moving into the second half of a century. If the birthday boy hasn't yet picked his new ride, rent a high-end luxury model for the party and invite guests to bring tools for it. Even Ferraris need tire gauges, and radar is a survival tool for Lamborghinis and are handy whether the birthday girl drives a Porsche or Smart Car. Entertain guests with rides in the luxury cars and decorate the party with posters, models and videos of fast cars. Have guests write odes to their favorite cars and read them while the birthday boy slices his car-shaped cake.
Hold the party at the celebrant's favorite sport venue. Book rounds at the golf course, courts for tennis or bike to a sports bar where you have reserved tables to watch the Tour de France. Start the party by gifting the new 50-year-old with tools to tune up her golf clubs, tighten her racquet strings or adjust her bike gears. Then acknowledge her ripe old age by giving her training wheels for her bike, oversize racquets with targets painted on the strings or golf clubs with giant heads.
Tickle a 50-year-old handyperson with a party centered around his childhood tools. Get some tools available when he was young and use them to decorate the table and venue. Let guests share their memories of manual hand saws, monster Walkmans or massive computers with tiny memories and no undo buttons. Provide bulky manual calculators and see who can add faster or have rough wood to sand by hand and give prizes for those who make their wood the smoothest.
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