Fabulous 40th Birthday Ideas

Truly Memorable Party & Gift Ideas for Men and Women

Fabulous 40th birthday ideas to make your fortieth birthday the best birthday celebration yet! Only once in our lives do we really get to wonder, "What should I do for my 40th birthday?" Don't panic! Here you'll find a range of great 40th birthday party ideas to make it a fun and memorable night!

We've organized our 40th birthday ideas collection to make it easy to find the best, most relevant birthday ideas for you. You can scroll the page to browse them all, or use these links to go to jump to specific types of party or gift ideas.

Party Ideas for Men Party Ideas for Women Gift Ideas for Men Gift Ideas for Women

Last updated: 25 June 2019

10 Best 40th Birthday Party Ideas for Men

Whether the celebrations are big or small, your 40th birthday party should be a celebration that suits your style! This means spending time with your favorite people while listening to music you like, doing activities you enjoy, eating your favorite foods, and drinking your favorite drinks.

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1. Cheers to Forty Years

Host a craft beer, whiskey, or wine-tasting celebration with your best buddies. To set up, grab a range of craft beers, whiskeys, or wines for everyone to taste and compare. Be sure to have enough food to go around, so no one drinks on an empty stomach. To keep it budget-friendly, ask guests to each bring a bottle or pack for the tasting.

2. Have Backyard Party

Backyard parties are a great summer 40th birthday idea for men. You can host a lot of people, and the children will have plenty of fun playing outside. For food, make it a cookout or BBQ. Take it easy when it comes to planning by making everything buffet style. For a budget 40th birthday party option, make it potlatch-style (a.k.a. potluck) by asking your guests to bring a dish.

3. Throw a Themed Party

If you miss all the theme-party fun from when you were younger, you're in luck! A popular 40th birthday idea is to throw the themed party of your dreams. Themes include retro decade parties, birth-year parties, sports, comics, or even horror-themed parties. So decorate your house and dust off your dancing shoes!

4. Put Together a Gaming Party

Throw a games night and bring all your friends together to battle it out to the very end! The ideal gaming 40th birthday party for men could feature board games and trivia, retro games, a variety of video games for a couch party, or even a trip to an Arcade. While it's common to divide into smaller groups for game play, try to plan at least one larger group game that you can all play together.

5. Take It Outdoors

Get outside and stage a retreat for your 40th birthday. Plan an adventure, such as a bike ride, kayaking, or hiking. Or go backpacking or car camping for the weekend with your buddies, and make great memories around the campfire. One of the best things about an outdoor party is that all of your planning has to happen beforehand, so that when your special day comes, you and your pals can hit the trails and get away from it all.

6. Have a Destination Travel Party

Make your journey into middle age an unforgettable travel opportunity to a new place. Whether you want to do a bit of local exploring or would rather head overseas, it's a great excuse to step out of the day to day routine. Organize some of your good friends to go exploring with, plan in advance so you're all on the same page with what you want to do, and the world's your oyster!

7. Casino Party

Turning 40 is a great time to live large, spend some money, and take a memorable trip to one of the best casinos in the world, where you'll find fine dining and top class entertainment. However, not everyone has a trip in their budget, so a cheaper 40th birthday idea for men is to bring the thrill of betting, gaming, and gambling in your own home. Make it a ritzed-up poker night by expanding your dealer and game repertoire and readying some cocktails. At least that way, lost money stays in the family.

8. Stand-Up Comedy Night

For an extra fun 40th birthday idea for men, organize a stand-up comedy night, and bring everyone together for a fantastic night of laughter and fun. Don't forget, stand-up comedy can happen just as easily in your home instead of a bar or club. Stock up on joke books, and turn on a curated play-list of some of your favorite comedy specials, or you could stage an open mic to see how funny your friends are!

9. Concerts and Group Events

Pick a concert or festival that you're looking forward to, and schedule your 40th birthday party around that. Birthday events don't need to be big, either. You can create your own smaller event, such as renting a boat for the day, scheduling an activity, such as an escape room, or visiting a nearby food festival. Check your local events calendar and starting searching for 40th birthday ideas that suit your style!

10. Make It a Foodie Party

Foodie parties delight those who enjoy eating their way to good memories with delicious courses and matching wines. There are many ways to go about this, from throwing a top rate 40th birthday dinner party, if that's the sort of thing you like to do, to booking a table at the best restaurant in the city. For an unforgettable experience 40th birthday idea, book a chef's table and enjoy the chef's menu with wine pairing for a truly unique dining experience.


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10 Best 40th Birthday Party Ideas for Women

Kickstart your forties with fun and adventure, inspired by some of these best 40th birthday party ideas for women! Choose to get to know yourself better, delve deeper into already established hobbies, learn new skills, or trying out something new that you've always wanted to do. These 40th birthday ideas are here to inspire you to create a truly memorable 40th celebration.

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1. Throw a Glam Party

Pull out the glam outfits and heels, and step out in style! Go bar hopping, hit the dance floor, and spend time with your friends, making new memories and recalling your favorites from the past. A 40th birthday idea for women that rekindles the fun of your youth as you party like you're in your twenties once more!

2. Seaside Birthday Party

Seaside parties combine relaxation with fun and adventure, for those who are interested in getting their feet wet or catching some sun. Beach parties can generally hold a large number or people without sacrificing a feeling of intimacy and relaxation. They also tend to be family-friendly so are a great 40th birthday idea for women with children. Consider going big by renting out a private beach house or a boat for a day.

3. Foodie Birthday Party

Your 40th Birthday offers all the reason you need to indulge. If you're looking for good food and good conversations, a foodie party could be right up your alley. Keep your celebrations low-maintenance by letting someone else do the cooking. Go out with your friends for tapas or small plates, or find catering to put together your favorite type of food. For a more flexible 40th birthday idea, throw your party at home where you can put together a dessert bar or chocolate tasting, or organize a chef to come to the house and spoil you in the comfort of your own home!

4. Get Playful with a Theme

Theme parties offer us the opportunity to step out of our shoes for a night and have some fun! Enjoy dressing up, and plan specific themed-decorations, activities, and food options to make it even more authentic. 40th birthday ideas for themes run the gamut, including retro, cocktail, and disco parties.

5. Make It a Brunch Birthday

Brunch foods are some of the world's most adored courses, with their unique combination of sweet and savory that gives you the best of both worlds. Dress up your brunch however you'd like, whether you plan on making it the best coffee and tea party of your more sophisticated dreams, or an indulgent waffle bar, or some hearty huevos rancheros. If you don't want to have a morning party, try a brunch after dark. That waffle bar will still be a hit in the evening hours!

6. Staycation Birthday

Staycations give you the opportunity to take some time off and explore the niches in your local town or city. Staycation birthdays can be a solo adventure or one shared between close friends. This is your opportunity to keep it small and personal and do only the things that you want to do. Be a tourist for a day in your own city, visiting the trendiest restaurants, getting some theater or comedy tickets, or scheduling a tour for a part of town you haven't explored before. Take it up a notch by renting a place to stay downtown to get away from it all.

7. Destination Travel

Destination travel marks a birthday as something really special, whether you're doing a historical tour of a part of the world or sampling some of the earth's great gifts of wine and food on a vineyard tour, taking a cruise, or meditating on a yoga retreat. Destination travel is sure to set your birthday apart and stock you with memories throughout your 40th year. And remember, destinations don't have to be global or require plane travel. For some, your destination could easily be right up the road or a train ride away.

8. Spa Day

Treat yourself and your girlfriends to a spa day for your 40th birthday. Try a facial, foot soak, or a massage, and enter your forties feeling refreshed and pampered! On a budget? Host a DIY spa day from home. Set up stations to do a hot foot soak, home facials, manicures and pedicures, or even makeovers. It's a memorable 40th birthday idea that busy working gals will really appreciate.

9. Backyard Extravaganza

Backyard parties don't all have to be cookouts, roughhousing, and beer. Instead, for your 40th, make your backyard party into an unforgettable elegant soirée, with decorations that create a magical environment. This kind of party is all about the atmosphere and details. Use lighting, such as string lights, bottle and jar lights, and even a fire pit to great effect. For personal decorations, create a wall of 40 with forty memorable pictures or forty great memories. Take it up a notch by adding in a cocktail party dynamic, and keep it elegant with small and delicious finger foods.

10. Take a Class with your Girlfriends

A fun and memorable 40th birthday idea for women is to schedule a group class with your friends. Try out a cooking or pastry class for some delicious and educational low-pressure fun. DIY classes might be on the agenda for a crafty group, to make signs for the home or jewelry. Take your artistry up a notch with painting, sculpting, or pottery class. Other options are activities such as a wall-climbing or dancing class with your friends.


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40th Birthday Gift Ideas for Men

Are you wondering "what do you get a man for his 40th birthday?". Don't panic, you're not alone! By the time most men turn 40 they generally have everything they need and then some! The key here is finding gifts that offer a personal touch and show him, whether your his wife, close friend, or child, how well you know him and how appreciated he is. Consider his hobbies, the style he likes, and the experiences that bring him joy.

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Make Him a Video Message

Video messages are a powerful way to capture moments and emotions without sentimental writing. For this 40th birthday idea for men, edit a video message from the people who love him, and add in a few of his favorite photos from over the years. You could film messages on the night of the party, or ask everyone to submit a video message in advance and host a surprise screening on the night!

Schedule a Surprise Weekend Getaway

Birthdays can feel ordinary when we stay in the same place and still have to do all the same routine things. Staying put can make it difficult to escape daily stress. A getaway allows your loved one to go far away from troubles, and it's a real gift to them to be able to enjoy the moment without any planning on their part. To get started, figure out where he wants to go. It might be camping, exploring a new city, or relaxing at a shore somewhere. Then, schedule a getaway where he can unplug and enjoy life without the daily obligations.

Gadgets and Well-Crafted Accessories

There's a reason watches, wallets, and other daily accessories are some of the most common 40th birthday gifts for men. They give your loved one an opportunity to think of you every time they use that item and think of your care and support. Similarly, you can use a name, special date, and message to personalize items that he'll put to frequent use, such as multi-tools, grooming supplies, or a desk or electronics organizer. It's a great 40th birthday gift idea for your husband or a family member.

A Bucketlist or Travel List

On his 40th birthday, help him brainstorm all the things he still wants to do and then start planning how you're going to do some of them! One way to do this is to buy or make him a wall-hanging bucket list. Accompany the list with a five-year planner so he can take steps toward his goals, or get him booked into an activity or two to start him off on achieving his list, whether it's swimming with sharks, special road trip, or tickets to see his team play. It's a great 40th birthday idea for people who could do with a change or fresh start!

Subscribe to a Couple Activity

There are probably many activities that you and your husband have considered doing or learning but haven't gotten around to ever starting! For his birthday, take the initiative to schedule a fun activity or class together. From cooking to kick-boxing, there's a class and venue for everything. It's a simple 40th birthday idea that keeps on giving, week after week, as you learn something new together and spend time on your relationship too!

Indulge His Hobby

Everyone has hobbies. Some of us like to fix things, others like to garden or cook, and others still might enjoy programming their own technology. The list goes on and on, including grilling tools, woodworking, or camping supplies. Hobby gifts generally fall into two camps. For those who are new to their hobby, help them to build up their stock of tools or materials. For someone who has practiced their hobbies for a long time, find a valued keepsake related to their craft that you know they'll treasure!

Treat Him to Dinner

They may not admit it, but men enjoy being treated. Let him know that this meal's on you, take him out to something he'll enjoy, and give him an opportunity to feel special. A delicious dinner can be a great 40th birthday idea for your husband, or from a sibling, son, daughter, or friend.

Bring Him Next Level Technology

High-end technology can be one of those indulgences that makes life easier and more efficient. However, when it's our own habits, we don't always see for ourselves how technology can help to upgrade and improve parts of our lives. It can take an outside perspective to see what upgrades will help us and take that step. So turn detective and scope out what latest gadget he has his eye on, and see his face light up as he opens his gift!

Beautiful Homeware

The items he buys for his house when he's forty will likely last him a long time, much of it even through the rest of his life. It's a perfect time for him to start stocking his home with high-quality, well-crafted items that are keepers. And it's a great 40th birthday ideas for someone whose kids are out of that phase of potentially breaking everything in sight! Consider getting him nice homewares to match some of his interests of favorite hobbies, such personalized whiskey, craft beer, pint, or highball glasses.

Get Him Entertainment

Quality entertainment, such as television subscriptions, premium channels, cable networks, video and movie streaming subscriptions, music, and games are gifts for his downtime and in-between times. While many of the presents that we think of for honoring a 40th birthday tend to be geared to special occasions, entertainment offers something that your husband will use and enjoy on a more daily basis, and is a great 40th birthday idea for men who value their home-time after work!


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40th Birthday Gift Ideas for Women

Her birthday is coming up, and we know what you're thinking, "What should I get my wife on her 40th birthday?" A 40th birthday present should make her feel extra-special and appreciated. Think about her tastes and preferences, and dig a little deeper to find the things that she wants but would be reluctant to get for herself. She deserves to be treated to the best!

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Treat her to a Spa Appointment

A trip to the spa can remove the baggage of an entire year! A full spa visit, though, may not normally be something she would buy for herself. That's a shame, since saunas, massages, and facial treatments can do wonders for her physical and mental health, as well as for her self-confidence. This 40th birthday idea for women is the perfect treat to help her feel relaxed and rejuvenated.

Friends and Family Collaboration Memory Book

Collate a beautiful memory book to remind her of how great her life has been, and how many great things she will still do in the future. There are many elements to a great memory book, but don't forget to leave her space at the end to fill in future memories! For a fun twist on the memory book, try doing a memory jar stuffed with forty scrolls of paper that remind her of how amazing she is and all the memories you've made together.

Craft or Hobby Supplies

The amazing woman in your life will most likely have a number of interests, whether she's a cook, artist, avid crafter, gardener, technological guru, or personal fitness maven, there are always tools that she most likely has her eye on to better enjoy her experiences. From art supplies, to a smart watch, and specialty software, the possibilities here are limitless. This is a great opportunity to splurge on the things that she's always wanted but won't purchase for herself. Don't forget, being treated to a class or masterclass to learn skills can be just as much of a gift as high-end supplies.

Food or Wine Club Subscription

Indulge and explore together by gifting a subscription to a food or wine club to your wife. These create amazing monthly opportunities for you to spend time together, while preparing new meals and exploring the wider culinary universe, or while taking some time to refine your palettes as you get into wine tasting. And this 40th birthday idea is two-fold. Not only do you have the excitement of receiving a regular package, you also get to regularly do an activity with her that you'll both enjoy.

A Week of Meals

Does she have a young family? Make her birthday week a special experience by cooking and curating a week of meals just for her. Don't let her worry about a thing, but make sure to heed her advice when she offers it. This will give her time to catch up on the things that she likes to do, whether it's the luxury time to read a book, research a trip she wants to take that year, or catch up on some much-needed sleep. That's the kind of pampering she'll remember all year!

Beautiful Homeware Gifts

Help her keep her home beautiful with decorations that express where she's from and who she's become. Whether she's into terrariums, lawn ornaments, and expressive artwork in the home, or fine glassware, you'll love making your mark on her home, and helping her bring unique pieces into her style.

Subscription or Curated Monthly Gifts

Make the whole year special with a delivery of regular curated gifts from her favorite subscription brand. Whether it's makeup and skincare, a book club, monthly flowers delivered to her door, or clothes and accessories, having consistently thoughtful packages to open can help to brighten up her whole year.

For a budget 40th birthday idea for women, don't sign up for a pricey subscription. Do it yourself by wrapping a new gift each month. Try shopping for at least three or four months at a time, so that you always have the next gifts ready.

Flauntible Travel Necessities

Many women find that as they get older, they start to feel their sense of wanderlust again. It's time to start packing some bags and taking some trips! One of the best gifts for women to encourage her exploration are attractive traveling goods, such as cute and durable bags for carrying everything, as well as a good camera, and journaling and stationery supplies. And if you're giving a travel-themed gift to your wife, maybe you can surprise her with a short getaway too!

Personal Shopping Trip

Still not sure what to get her? Go out with her and spend some time learning what she likes. Go shopping with her and be patient while she lets you know what she likes and what she doesn't. Stay on your best behavior, so that she feels like she can be herself. This kind of dedicated attention can be as rewarding as getting a present. Then you'll be sure to buy her the perfect gift that she picked out herself.


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Looking for more 40th Birthday Ideas?

For funny 40th birthday ideas, do check out our 40th birthday gag gifts page for a huge collection of novelty gag gifts for this "over the hill" birthday occasion!

And if you're looking for inspiration for what to write in a 40th birthday card or speech, we have lots of ideas on our messages, quotes and jokes pages:

40th Birthday Sayings
40th Birthday Quotes
Funny 40th Birthday Jokes
100+ Happy Birthday Wishes
Happy Birthday Quotes, Wishes, Videos, and Printables


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