30+ Unique 40th Birthday Ideas

30+ Unique 40th Birthday Ideas (2024)

Congratulations, you are officially 40! Reaching the age of forty is a significant milestone that truly merits its time in the limelight. However, it is one of those life occurrences that is highly personal, and precisely how we wish to commemorate this occasion is also a very individual decision. Those among us who are party enthusiasts might desire to go all out with brilliant 40th birthday ideas, while others would rather have a more subdued gathering, or might even choose to completely skip a formal celebration in favor of a simple day out or a distinctive keepsake.

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With Arvin’s unlimited inspiration, you’ll find the perfect ideas to make your party absolutely perfect! If you need more inspiration, just ask Arvin, your Ideas Generator! Arvin will provide you with the best service!

Retirement Party Ideas

Funny 40th Birthday Ideas

1. Rent Out a Roller-Skating Rink

It may not seem like the most original idea in the world, but who cares? It’s fun, especially when you avoid the crowds and get the entire rink to you and your wild—or incredibly tame—party. And if you really want to commit to this idea, invite your friends and family to dress up. Whether it’s ’70s-themed, ’80s-themed or a Halloween choose your own adventure, adding a costume element will take this party to the next level.

2. Go Camping

All you want for your 40th is to get out of dodge and decompress in the wilderness. So…why not take a few of your favorite people with you? If your crew already has a camping pro or two, simply reserve the grounds you want to stay at and tell everyone to bring along their gear (and extra marshmallows). If camping is new to you, look into options that have sleeping arrangements and grills already set up. And if you’re fancy, research glamping sites near you. No one said you had to rough it to enjoy Mother Nature.

3. Rent a House a Couple Hours Away

An Under the Tuscan Sun moment would certainly be amazing. But now is probably not the time to invite 16 of your dearest friends to an international soiree (and the child care cost…yikes). But that doesn’t mean you can’t get away. We’re guessing a short drive, within a few hours or so, could land you at a beautiful beach house, a scenic mountain abode or even in the vicinity of a winery—and such a rental, especially in shoulder season, could be lovely, affordable and low-risk. Check out some gorgeous options here.

3. Volunteer for Something You Care About

Instead of cashmere sweaters and gift certificates, ask your loved ones to take part in helping a cause that’s close to your heart. It could be volunteering at a soup kitchen, building a playground for an underserved community or tutoring children. You can even volunteer virtually these days. Whatever it is, you and your crew can make a difference (and still go for drinks after).

4. Take a Pottery Class

You’ve always wanted your turn at the wheel. It just seemed so…cool! Spoiler alert: It’s way harder than it looks, but that’s no reason you can’t get your hands dirty. (a la Demi Moore in Ghost, perhaps?) Look for pottery studios near you that offer group lessons. Hint: If you keep the party extra small, you’ll also benefit from more one-on-one time with an instructor.

5. Host a Small Dinner Party

You love cooking and hosting. So whether you keep it simple with some hearty big-batch recipes or you put on your chef’s hat, dust off the ramekins and whip up a few brag-worthy perfectly risen soufflés, a small dinner party at your own home is a wonderfully intimate 40th birthday party option and there are services that can help you prep for the occasion. And hey, if you’re doing all of the cooking, ask your guests to bring the wine.

Creative 40th Birthday Ideas

6. Hire a Private Chef

Or maybe you don’t want to actually cook yourself. Bring in a talented private chef to serve up a delicious dinner. If you keep your guest list small, it may not be as expensive as you’d assume. Plus, isn’t it just so nice thinking about eating a five-star meal in your home that you had nothing to do with? Dreams do come true.

7. Plan a Pizza Party with a Sommelier

You revel in playing on both sides of the high-low spectrum—you can talk about the use of the fisheye lens in The Favorite all day long, but you also make time for every franchise in the Real Housewives universe. Which brings us to humble pizza and fancy wine. Uh yeah, that’s your calling in a nutshell. Order in the pizza from your go-to spot, whip up a simple side dish and hire a somm by asking around at your local wine shop, five-star restaurant or Facebook wine snobs. Then, invite a few friends over so you can wine n’ dine them al fresco.

8. Plan a Potluck

Make things incredibly easy on yourself and ask everyone to chip in. You provide the location, ambience and time, and everyone else brings the food. (Just make sure somebody’s on birthday cake duty, OK?)

9. Book a Private Room at Your Favorite Restaurant

It’s your fav joint for a reason—the food’s consistently delicious, the service is great and the prices don’t break the bank. You go there at least once a week with just your partner or fam, so why not give them the business on your birthday, too? And if they know you as a frequent customer, chances are they’ll throw in some things to wet your whistle.

10. Tour a Brewery

If you’ve always wanted to see how the sausage is made—but way less bloody—visit a local brewery. It doesn’t have to be Budweiser or Coors Light; often, the smaller the brewery, the better the beer. Bonus: Many taprooms feature outdoor tastings, a great option for folks who aren’t comfortable with indoor celebrations right now. And chances are there will be some great menus to go along with those great beer flights.

Unforgettable 40th Birthday Ideas

11. Go Wine Tasting

There’s nothing quite like sipping on the juice of the Gods at a winery or vineyard. While many vineyards will welcome walk-ins, others require reservations, so be sure to look up your favorite one before heading over. Alternatively, you can explore virtual wine tasting options for a cozy, at-home experience that goes down just as easy.

12. Karaoke Your Heart Out

Reserve a room for a group. Order some pitchers of beer. And have your go-to song at the ready.

13. Catch a Movie

A trip to the movie theater is always a good time, but don’t knock a home movie theater experience. Complete the shindig with cocktails and good eats, it’s hard to justify dragging yourself out. The options are plentiful—a streamable new release, a classic you never got around to watching, or a cheesy rom-com you’ve seen a hundred times are all fair game—and if the weather is nice you can even set up a projector in your backyard and make it an outdoor event.

14. Or Rent Out a Theater

Ever wanted a private viewing experience for your favorite film? Good news: Some theaters, like the Alamo Drafthouse in various cities across the country, allow you to rent out a theater and screen the movie of your choice for all your buddies. (That’ll be A League of Their Own, thank you very much.) The sweetest part is that, because it’s a dinner theater, you can also offer all your pals some food and drink while they’re there.

15. Go Bowling

It never sounds as fun on paper as it actually is, and it’s a great icebreaker if you’ve got a diverse guest list. Divide your party into teams to up the competition, and perhaps ask for bumpers and extra beer to keep things fun for all.

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Low-key 40th Birthday Ideas

16. Have a Night at the Museum

Remember that scene where Ross and Rachel get it on in the planetarium? Yeah, don’t do that. But do look into adult or member nights at your local museum or inquire about renting out a space for a private event. Cocktails in the Egyptian wing? Don’t mind if we do.

17. Plan a ‘Long Walk for a Ham Sandwich’ Night

You’ve heard the phrase “that’s a long walk for a ham sandwich,” maybe after telling a really long story with an uneventful ending? (We’ve all been there.) Well, why not plan an actual long walk for a ham sandwich…or several? Invite your group of friends to take part in a ham sandwich crawl where participants plate their own take on a ham sandwich (perhaps with a signature cocktail). Whether the group actually walks, Ubers or bikes from home to home is up to you.

18. Take a Best Friends Only Trip

For those of us who want to crawl under the table at the thought of having everyone we know in the same room, a party with just a few of your very best friends might be the best option. Our advice? Take the celebration up a notch and make it that much more memorable by getting together at a vacation house or fancy hotel—spouses included (or not).

19. Have a ‘No-Phones’ Party

It’s like a normal party, but with only a small number of guests (depending on your comfort level) and without the distraction of screentime. Yep, you collect everyone’s phones. No, you’re not holding them hostage—you can make it so anyone can easily access their phones if they need to—but you are inviting your guests to be more present and engaged. It may wind up being a hit, it may be total failure, but hey, at least you’re giving yourself some good banter to kick off the night with, whilst providing an opportunity for the kind of human contact we could all benefit from right now.

20. Bring in a Tarot Card Reader

It may sound a little woo-woo, but you’d be surprised how your party guests will flock to have their cards read. After all, even if it’s just a small shindig in your own home, breaking the ice with some one-on-one entertainment is party hosting 101.

Fabulous 40th Birthday Ideas

21. Have an At-Home Spa Day

Score some top-notch skin care products and have a couple friends over for a day of pampering. You can even go all out and hire a masseuse and/or manicurist to come to you. (If you’re choosing between the two, we cast our vote in favor of deep tissue massage.)

22. Take a Dance Class

You may have an aching back and flat feet that are no longer capable of wearing stilettos, but don’t let anyone tell you that you’re too old to dance. Sign up for an in-person or virtual dance class and get ready to cut a rug. It sure beats a crowded dance floor teaming with 20 year olds, right?

23. Take a Hike

Want to earn that birthday cake? Well, now that you actually are over the hill, why don’t you climb one? It doesn’t have to be Everest (or even basecamp), but find a local hike near you that everyone in your party can conquer. Pack some trail mix and water for the road and celebrate your summit with hearty PB&Js and some incredible photos at the top.

24. Picnic in the Park

But do it like an adult. This means matching table cloths, adorable wicker baskets, cheese from your local farmers market and enough wine to satisfy a small army. Not so into sitting on the ground? It’s your birthday— be a diva and bring your own table.

25. Organize a Field Day

This one’s all about nostalgia. Tap into those elementary school memories by organizing a 50-yard dash, game of capture the flag, long jump, kickball and more. You bring the equipment and some unbiased referees (hey, it’s OK to ask for some birthday leniency), and your family and friends can bring healthy competitive attitudes. Heads up though: Grilling in the park is basically mandatory to help everyone replete their energy afterwards.

26. Buy that thing you REALLY want

And when we say want, we mean WANT – not need! All too often, we feel guilty about spending money on something that’s purely about pleasure rather than practicality. No more! That handbag you’ve had your eye on for years? Add it to cart. The killer heels you’ll probably wear once in a blue moon? Go for it. You only turn 40 once and if you can’t truly treat yourself now, when can you?

40th Birthday Ideas for Her

27. Backyard BBQ

Most people love a BBQ during summer or springtime (if she is lucky to be born in those seasons!), so you can’t go wrong with this idea. Invite family and friends over for a fun grilling day – think sausage, ribeye steaks, burgers and more! Remember to add some vegan and vegetarian options for your guests to ensure they all enjoy the event.

28. Play Dress Up 

How about throwing a costume-themed party for your partner’s birthday? Select a theme that she loves, like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. Dressing up is a fun activity that takes you back to your childhood and gives you a chance to celebrate your favourite characters.

29. Relax at the Spa

A spa session’s effects are longer lasting than a box of chocolates! If she’s one of those who rarely has time to unwind, why not offer her a well-deserved treat at the spa?Treat the woman of your life to a relaxing Ayurvedic session or a deep tissue massage to help her release stress and tension and enjoy her birthday in a relaxing way.

30. Paint and Sip

We recommend hosting a paint and sip session for all of the creative birthday girls out there. You can even go all out and make it an unforgettable 40th birthday by customising the painting kit. Don’t forget to share her best shots and ask the guests to show off their painting skills to the star of the party!

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40th Birthday Ideas for Him

31. Sports Game and Cheer

Another alternative to the standard birthday party for those who prefer to hang out with smaller groups of friends is a trip to a sports game to watch their favorite team. Whether it’s football, basketball, baseball, or hockey, this will make for a fun and memorable day that might well be a big improvement over a regular party.

32. Catch a Great Concert

Did you hear that one of your favorite musicians is on tour and will be in your area around the time of your upcoming birthday? If so, here’s yet another 40th birthday idea for men who don’t want to have a party. Instead, rock out to music you love while welcoming the next decade of your life in style.


Turning 40 is a major life milestone that deserves to be celebrated in an extraordinary way. Whether you’re planning a 40th birthday bash for yourself or a loved one, the ideas highlighted in this guide will ensure it’s an occasion to remember for years to come. So go ahead and start planning an epic 40th birthday celebration. It’s not just about marking another year older, but embracing this new decade with enthusiasm, gratitude, and an unshakable sense of who you are. After all, you only turn 40 once!

If you have any other inspiration needs, or need a variety of party ideas, you can ask Arvin for help! Arvin can develop a unique plan based on your needs.

retirement party ideas


Why is 40th birthday a big deal?

Turning 40, in particular, symbolizes the start of a transformative chapter, brimming with potential for unparalleled growth and new beginnings. The number 40 can be found across religions and cultures as a number that holds significance.

What is the traditional gift for a 40th birthday?

Rubies are the most traditional gift for someone turning 40. A stunning ruby necklace, ring or jewelry pairing are meaningful 40th birthday gift ideas for a wife who loves luxury accessories.

What is the saying about turning 40?

Famous Quotes About Turning 40. “At twenty years of age, the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment.” “What most persons consider as virtue, after the age of 40 is simply a loss of energy.”

What would you do for your 40th birthday?

Camp out under the stars. Take an online workshop. Host a Bob Ross paint party. Choose your own 40th birthday adventure.

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