Surprise parties can be incredibly rewarding if pulled off correctly. When planning for one, the organizer always hopes that everything runs smoothly and that nothing goes wrong; but obviously, that isn’t always the case. The following stories of ruined surprise parties may be enough to convince you that maybe they aren’t worth the risk.
1. Not My Thing
I ruined my own party when I was seven years old. My mom insisted, on my birthday, that we drive 45 minutes to my aunt’s house a few cities over. I was already upset that we had to do that…but my mood worsened when we got there. I walked into a sea of people SCREAMING AT ME. I knew maybe a fifth of the people there and the rest of the guests were total strangers. My reaction shocked them into silence.
I had no clue who they were. None of them were my friends. I freaked out, screamed, and started flailing my arms as I ran into a closet. I refused to come out and I was ticked off for the rest of the day. To this day, I still hate surprise parties.
2. “That Guy”
It was actually at my own party. I had just “broken up” with a friend-with-benefits, and she took it really badly. I felt horrible about it, so I thought, “Hey! I’ve got an idea! I’ll get totally plastered!” So I did. Unfortunately for me, I went on that bender on the same day my friends were throwing me a surprise party. I have absolutely no recollection of what happened at the party between midnight and 4 am.
Ironically, I somehow magically became coherent around 4, but for hours before that, I had no idea what I was doing. I felt awful the net day—but what came next was so much worse. For about a week, people were telling me about my shocking behavior: rudely interrupting personal conversations, sitting in between couples while sobbing violently, taking people’s cell phones away from them…all sorts of annoying things.
According to three separate people, I toasted an entire sleeve’s worth of bagels one after the other, then slathered cream cheese on each one. I proceeded to crawl underneath the dining room table and eat them all. I later crawled out and then walked back into the kitchen to shout, “Who the heck ate all my bagels?! Who?!” I also started individually accusing about 20 people and I told them that they needed to go buy me more bagels.
Yeah, I’m that guy.
3. It Just Gets Worse
I didn’t ruin the surprise, but I still ruined the party. I bought an expensive bottle for the event. Good times were had until my girlfriend and I got into a huge fight. It started after she gave me all the money she had to go and get her some more drinks. I came back with walkie-talkies. Things just spiraled after that.
“Where the heck is my bottle? Whaddya mean you drank it all, buddy? I’ll end you!” Cue fight scene. Then, a few minutes later: “Where’s my GF? Whaddya mean she left in the taxi? Screw you! I’m going to sleep in the dog’s kennel. Screw you, dog! Leave me alone!” Cue silent sobbing in the kennel all night.
4. Villain For A Night
I was at my friend’s afterparty. I wasn’t too tipsy and I thought everyone was having a good time. There was this local girl at the party who I had seen on a dating site and I remembered from her profile that she lived in my hometown. Since I was back home for a few weeks that summer, I thought to myself: “Lucky me, I have a chance.”
I knew she already had a boyfriend, but since we sat next to each other, we started talking. I also flicked up my digicam and took some pictures with her and my friends. From that moment on, a series of foot-in-mouth coincidences fell in place, and they made me the most obnoxious person possible that night. The girl was totally cute, but for some reason, she looked funny in my pictures.
I did not notice the hostility that was growing around me and moments later, after having talked to this girl, I left the party at about 3 to 4am. The day after, my brother came to see me. He told me it was good that I left when I did, because a bunch of people had been close to knocking me out flat. My brother and I are quite known to be the nicest guys around, so he was shaking while telling me this.
He told me that I had ruined the night of this poor girl with my comments about her pictures. Apparently, she had just fully recovered from a nasty infection in half her face, so it was swollen and it had obviously ruined her self-esteem for a long time. She had been so self-conscious of it and yet there I was, rubbing it in her face.
People must have been staring at me in disbelief that night. I have, several times, apologized for the situation, but I still feel there is some lingering doubt about the genuineness of my apology.
5. Can’t Hold It In
In high school, I was responsible for keeping a friend busy while her parents set everything up at their house for the surprise party. We got back to her house and all lights were off. Her first words were mortifying. She walked through the door and announced: “I have to take a huge dump!” That’s when the lights turned on. “Surprise!” Embarrassment ensued.
6. Talk About Clueless
One time, my mom told me that we were running low on funds and we couldn’t have a birthday party for me. She said the best she could do was take me to McDonald’s with my friend, who we’ll call Jack. We got to Jack’s house and my mom told me that he was out at his pool. I walked over to the gate outside and twenty people jumped out yelling, “SURPRISE!” I was confused as heck.
I walked over to Jack and asked him if he was ready to go to McDonald’s and my mom had to pull me off to the side and explain it was a surprise birthday party…I was not a smart man.
7. Run Belly
My aunt had set up a surprise 40th birthday party for my uncle. Everyone (about 30 friends, neighbors, relatives) was hiding in the basement waiting for him to come home from work. His car pulled up and he ran into the house, then everyone yelled “SURPRISE!” It seemed like everything went according to plan, except my uncle’s face had turned very red.
Turned out, he had the runs that day and really had to go #2. We all had to wait until he got out of the shower for cake. I was nine years old at the time and I couldn’t stop laughing.
8. Late To The Party
My friends, family, and coworkers planned a surprise birthday party for me at my house. In order to give everyone time to get there, my coworkers had my boss ask me to stay late at work “because we might have an emergency project to do tonight.” The night did NOT go as they planned. 5 pm rolled around and everyone headed home (but really, they proceeded to my house). I sat around in the office.
6 pm. 7 pm. 8 pm. Then, finally, I texted my boss that I’d be headed out unless she really needed me to stay. Turns out, she was supposed to have me go home at 5:30 pm “because the project didn’t pan out,” but she totally forgot. Since I figured my evening was basically over anyway, I headed to the grocery store, picked up my dry cleaning, dropped off the recycling, etc.
I walked through my door at around 9 pm to find all my friends, family, and coworkers tipsy in my house! They were all a bit too in their cups to muster a coordinated “Surprise!” but I figured it out.
9. Unsuspecting Victim
We threw a surprise party for my brother’s 30th birthday. We did such a good job planning it that he didn’t even have any idea it was for him. My sister’s birthday is about 10 days before my brother’s, so we told him we were throwing a surprise party for her. Since it was before his birthday, we figured he wouldn’t suspect a thing. He didn’t.
We actually had him in on the planning of his own party. Asked him for his thoughts on food, drinks, etc. We had all of his best friends plus the entire family over (minus my sister, oddly enough) and he walked through the door. “SURPRISE!” we yelled. His response? “Idiots, I’m not my sister.” When he looked around and saw all of his friends, it finally registered.
He was so grateful for the awesome party and he had a blast, but his initial reaction made it feel like the biggest failure.
10. The Sleepy Celebrant
One of my roommates last year had a girlfriend who was sweet, but also very clingy and controlling. She decided to throw a surprise birthday party for this roommate, K, and she had been planning it for an entire month beforehand. She invited all of his friends, had us decorate the apartment, fix some food, and she even baked him a HUGE elaborate cake.
On the day of the party, he came home four hours early. The girlfriend was absolutely crushed—then things got brutally awkward. She spent the next half hour screaming at him about how he’d ruined everything. We convinced her that all was not lost and finished decorating while K slept. A note about K: At the time he worked nights at a bar. He normally slept during the day and was awake at night, but that day, he’d been asked to work a double shift for some reason.
When he arrived home, he’d been up for at least 24 hours straight. Anyway, a few hours later, the guests arrived and everyone was having a good time except for the girlfriend, who was still distraught that the surprise was ruined. K was also still asleep. Then the night somehow got even worse. The girlfriend got outrageously tipsy and spent an hour or so trying to get K out of bed to enjoy the party she threw for him. But he wasn’t having any of it.
When she finally managed to drag him out of bed, he pounded a few shots and we sang happy birthday. A few minutes later, he passed out again. The girlfriend, at that point, gave up and passed out on the floor in his bedroom. So the rest of the night was spent partying with these people we really didn’t know. We left up most of the decorations for K and his girlfriend to take care of in the morning, which they never did.
The monstrosity of a cake the girlfriend made sat in our fridge for a week before she remembered it existed.
11. Birthday Takeover
A girl I was dating in high school set up a surprise birthday party for me but chose to not invite most of my good friends because she didn’t like them. Well, they caught wind of this party and took me out for some drinks instead, as their own birthday surprise. This was before the time of cell phones, so she didn’t have a way to get in touch with me to make up a reason to get me back to her house.
Halfway through the night, one of them spilled the whole story, and I decided it wise to make a rather-late appearance. It was very awkward walking into a room of her tipsy friends, with her crying in the bathroom, needless to say.
12. The Ultimate Betrayal
A buddy of mine set up a surprise party for his fiance. She thought he was off to another state for a week for work. He came back early on her birthday and set up a huge surprise party for her at home. She usually got home at like 6 pm from work, but it was already like 7 pm and we were still waiting for her. We finally heard her coming so we turned off the lights. No one could have expected what was about to happen.
To our surprise, she came home hammered with another dude she was going to bang, so there was DRAMA all over the place. There was a huge chaotic argument with people taking sides. My buddy was really upset and faked that he was calm…but then, like a cheetah, he jumped out of his seat, decked the dude in the face, and knocked him out. The guy deserved it, too—he was a pick-up artist and knew she was engaged.
She was just an easy catch, but still…she was at fault and they ended up separating.
13. Total Buzzkill
I went out for a romantic dinner with my then-wife. She was being unusually flirty; showing cleavage and all that. At one point, she went to the restroom, brought back her undergarments in her hand, and gave them to me. She said she couldn’t wait to get back home so we could get cozy and intimate with each other.
So, we arrived back home and she told me to meet her in the basement where we have our entertainment room and TV. She said she just needed to go upstairs to change into something for the evening. I immediately got “in the mood,” if you know what I mean. I went down the stairs and started taking off my pants.
That’s when I heard it: “Surprise!!!” About 30 of my friends were in the basement for an early surprise birthday party. I fell backward on the stairs, and I could feel my heart racing. My “little guy” was barely covered and now rapidly deflating. I would rather have had the intended evening’s activities. I never did end up getting any birthday nookie.
14. Mr. Grumpy
My mother and now-ex-girlfriend conspired to throw me a surprise party for my 18th birthday in a conference room at a local hotel. I was under the impression that I was going to pick my girlfriend up and we were going to go on a birthday date. I was already a little frustrated because I had made dinner reservations and by the time she got in my car, we were already late.
She proceeded to tell me that she needed to take her class notes to her friend who was staying at this hotel because her house had burned down. I didn’t remember hearing anything about that, and I just wanted to make it to our dinner on time, so my frustrations increased. We pulled up outside the hotel and I became more frustrated over the fact that her friend couldn’t just meet her outside.
When she told me I had to come in with her, I said something along the lines of, “Jesus Christ, Lauren.” By the way, this was seven years ago at this point, so the details are a little fuzzy. Anyway, we got inside the front doors of the hotel and the lady at the front desk asked me, “Are you here for the party?” I was really confused. I just said, “No.”
Lauren kind of shushed her. Then, within 30 seconds of walking down the hall, I heard the distinct voice of my friend, Brent, from an open door a few feet away. I realized what was going on, and my stomach dropped. I acted like such a jerk. I grabbed Lauren, gave her a huge kiss, apologized to her, ran inside the room, and proceeded to have a really awkward birthday party.
What really made the party, however, was when I picked up my friend John, lost my balance, and we both went through a wall.
15. What Party?
Apparently, I am so utterly oblivious that my surprise party was “ruined” numerous times in the weeks leading up to it. My girlfriend had set it all up weeks in advance and invited my friends, family, and even my co-workers. Every single group, at one point or another, slipped up and mentioned the party in front of me.
I honestly had no clue. The day before the party, my brother was in town and I had hinted that we would have a great time the next night. My girlfriend apparently cringed. Everyone was sure I knew, but no one directly asked me. Lucky they didn’t—I was blown away when I got to the party. No one believed that I didn’t know.
16. Jerk Supreme
A female friend of mine threw a surprise party for her boyfriend. She invited all his close friends and some of her own friends as well. He was at his mom’s place having a mini party with his family whilst we were all waiting at his place where they would then be supposedly going out for dinner. We had decorated the house with really awesome stuff, hired a DJ to play music, and bought really nice food.
It was all adding up to an awesome night. Then everything went so wrong. At some point, the dude then realized that something was going on, and after 30 minutes of texting, he told her that she should screw off since she apparently knew that he hates surprise parties. He said he wasn’t going to show up and that he was going to go watch a football game instead.
He checked himself in on Facebook at the game 20 minutes later, ignored everyone’s calls and messages, and about an hour later, he showed up after half the people left and broke up with her.
17. Break-Up Gift
On my birthday, I confessed my love to the girl I was seeing at the time. She shot me down. Bad. I was a husk of my former self; just kind of broken. She insisted on hanging around for the next few days, saying she still wanted to be my friend, and back then I was too much of a pushover to tell her to leave. The following Friday, she dragged me to the movies and I couldn’t figure out what the heck she was thinking.
Turns out, she was planning a surprise party with my friends and didn’t want us breaking up to ruin my birthday. I ended up sitting on the couch with my face buried in a pillow for the entire party. I never want to turn 22 again…
18. An Overwhelming Surprise
I had been talking to this girl I met through my friends on MSN. She lived in the same town as me, and we would chat everyday. For some reason, she was afraid of talking on the phone. Before I go any further, yes she was real. Anyway, I kind of started to like her and I thought maybe she liked me back. I say that because I got a call from her best friend who told me she always talked about me.
So she invited me to her friend’s surprise 16th birthday party. I came early and met her parents, her brother, her friends, and some of her extended family. They all said, “OH! So you are who she’s been raving about..!” After a few minutes, we got word that she was on her way. We closed the doors and hunkered down. She came through. She seemed really happy…until she saw me.
She started crying and wouldn’t talk to me. She hid in the backroom and didn’t come out until I left. I still don’t understand.
When my son was turning 5 years old, he told us he wanted a surprise birthday party. He gave us the entire rundown on how it was going to go, and we followed his instructions to give him exactly what he wanted. He had been out with his grandma and when he walked through the door, all 40 of us yelled “Surprise!” He just sat down on the floor and cried and refused to even stand up.
It took us about 20 minutes to calm him down. Needless to say, we won’t be throwing him any more surprise parties. It was pretty funny though…Maybe that’s how I’ll scar him for life, surprise parties every year!
20. Feeling Nasty
It was my birthday. I told my wife that we should have our friends over for a BBQ. She said “OK.” I spent the afternoon mowing the yard and setting up the patio, etc. About an hour before people were supposed to show up, my wife said I needed to help her run to the store to get supplies. At that point, I was filthy, covered in grass and dust, and sweaty as heck, so I said, “Let me take a quick shower.”
She said we didn’t have time because she needed to start cooking, etc. “Just take a shower when we get back.” Okay, okay, I replied, slightly irritated to have to run to the market dirty. But no biggie, right? Did I mention she’s dressed up? Well, she seemed to be dressed too nicely for the market or a BBQ, but I didn’t really think much of it.
I hopped into the car and she pulled us into an upscale restaurant parking lot. I was like, “What??” Then, I saw all of my friends’ cars parked in the parking lot. Did I mention I was dirty and sweaty? Well, I was dirty and sweaty and smelly as heck. I wanted so badly to be a jerk and throw a complete fit and just go back home…but I didn’t. I spent the evening in a nice restaurant with my nicely dressed wife and friends while I looked and smelled like garbage, pretending to have a nice time.
21. Secret’s Out
It was about a month away from Christmas and I was turning 16. My mom and I were looking around for cars but I really didn’t think I was getting one. Well, she spotted a car and said I should go look at it. It was an Acura and I was like heck yeah, I’d take that car. She didn’t get it for me right away, so I figured we could go back and get it later when we were more prepared.
But the second we pulled away and drove by it, it was gone. I told my mom, “Wow, we missed it!” I wasn’t actually mad; just disappointed because she got my hopes up. Fast forward a few weeks later—I was at a Christmas party for my dad’s side of the family. Everyone was talking and suddenly, someone said to me, “I heard you got a new car.”
That pretty much blew the surprise. My dad was there and he tried to cover the tracks. He said something like, “No, his mom was looking but…” Yeah, at that point, I was sitting there thinking to myself, “I got a car, didn’t I?” Jump to Christmas Day and I had it in the back of my mind that I was probably getting a car.
My dad at that point had told my mom what happened at the party. I was shown the car and, well, I couldn’t fake my enthusiasm. I was happy but it wasn’t the reaction my mom wanted. I was, however, quite surprised by the fact it was the car she pointed out weeks ago. I said something like, “Oh, this is that car!” So yeah, I got a brand-new car, but it haunts me that my parents’ surprise got ruined.
My mom even cried about it because she put a lot of effort into it. I mean, what idiot ruins that surprise?
22. Trigger Warning
I was delivering a hot tub to a customer. She had bought it for her husband who had been over in Iraq training the Iraqi forces. She wanted it to be a surprise for him. She had me arrive exactly ten minutes before his party. Everyone was on the back deck but me. I had my trailer backed up with his brand new hot tub and I was in the process of unloading it for them.
He then walked through the door and everyone shouted, “Happy Birthday!” at about the same time that I popped the strap on the hot tub. The strap releasing made a loud snap noise, followed by a heavy boom as the tail gate released. But there was one HUGE problem. The man was suffering from PTSD. He screamed and dove back through his door, knocking his wife into the cake. He just laid there curled up, bawling his eyes out.
23. Numb To It All
I don’t like surprises, and my sister and bro-in-law took me out to distract me while my family set up a surprise back home. I had no idea and I was just having a wonderful day, hanging out. When we arrived home, everything looked normal because my family parked their cars a block away. As I was walking in, there were streamers hung on the walls and my first thought was, “What the…”
Then, right before I even escaped through them, my family jumped out from behind the furniture yelling: “Surprise!” It scared the heck out of me, and I just stood there with a blank face staring at everyone. I then walked awkwardly away down the hall to my bedroom. I still feel like an idiot to this day.
24. Purse Snatchers
When I was 13, my mom’s boyfriend wanted to throw her a surprise 40th birthday party. My job was to keep her out of the house after work long enough for him to set everything up and for everyone to arrive. I told her I wanted to use my saved-up allowance to take her shopping for a new purse. We were leaving the store and as we were walking to her car, two men rushed by us and took off with her purse.
She was happy with the party, but her worrying about having to cancel her credit cards put a damper on the occasion for sure.
25. Bad Call
Right before we moved to Europe last summer, my husband’s family attempted to throw us a surprise going-away party. My parents were in town visiting and we went to the beach. On the way back, my mother said she needed to pee, but there was nowhere around to go except my mother-in-law’s house. So I called her up and asked if she minded us swinging by for a quick chat.
She seemed a little annoyed, but she hates drop-ins so that was an expected reaction. I’d learn the truth soon enough. Ultimately, she agreed to have us over because she wanted to see her grandson anyway. We pulled up and saw balloons out front, in German flag colors (which represented where we were moving). I looked at my husband and he kind 0f had the same look on his face. “Is this a…ugh.”
We got inside and none of the guests were there—nothing was set up, nothing was ready. My mother-in-law was like, “Surprise…” in the most deflated tone ever. Turns out, my parents were supposed to get us there two hours later, under completely different pretenses, but I screwed it up by suggesting the house as a quick potty spot.
My mom couldn’t think of a quick excuse to not have us go there, and my mother-in-law didn’t want to refuse us and make us upset. We ended up hanging out and eventually the guests showed up, surprised that we were already there. It was a lovely get-together, but I really wish they had just let us know beforehand rather than play it off as a surprise.
My husband and I both dislike surprise parties, and we were in ratty clothes while all the guests were dressed nicely because they knew about it ahead of time.
26. Inexperienced Couple
A bunch of my friends and I planned this big surprise birthday party for our friend Andy. He was turning 18. The plan was that he would be spending the day with his girlfriend and when they came back to his house, in the early evening, we’d surprise him. What we didn’t know was that earlier that day, while he and his girlfriend were hanging out at her parents’ house, they had a little ordeal.
Both of them were virgins at the time, and they had begun talking about the possibility of doing it. Well, that morning, while they were fooling around in her room, she suggested that they try it as a sort-of birthday present to him. She had bought protection for him and he’d never even tried to put one on before. Unfortunately, after he got ready, he lost the mood.
Anxiety and embarrassment overcame him, and after a few moments of trying to get in the mood again, he excused himself to the bathroom. He probably stayed in there for five minutes, giving himself a pep talk in the mirror to snap out of it. So he came out of the bathroom, ashamed, and he told her they might need to try it another time. That’s when she lost it.
She started crying and said that it must be because he was not attracted to her, and that started this big argument. He finally calmed her down and they went to the movie that they were supposed to go to. He said that all he could think about on the way back to his house—where he was told it would be empty without any family—was trying it again and getting it right.
He started the dirty talk on the ride there, and they even made out in the car for a bit, feeling each other up. Once they got to the house, they got out of the car, and she trailed behind him as he opened the back door, ready to head straight upstairs. Then it came: “SURPRISE!!” Twenty of his closest friends were there with smiles on their faces.
The lucky few of us found out later why he had such a defeated look on his face when he opened the door to find us all there.
27. Birthday Misfortunes
When I was 13, my mom threw yet another surprise birthday party for me. We had previously moved three times, and it sucked because I was already well-adjusted and had a bunch of friends. So, to ruin my birthday with a surprise party this time, she really had to work at it. Even though she knew who many of my friends were, she didn’t invite any of them.
In fact, she invited all strangers who I had never met before, and none of them even went to my school. For my birthday, my dad knew I was saving up for a Sega Saturn and that I had saved up half of the money already, so being the awesome dad he was, he gave me the other $200 I needed. Unfortunately, a group of the kids at my party were real jerks. The night quickly spiraled out of control.
They had already “accidentally” broken a couple of my toys, and eventually, this led to a fight. I got beat up by three kids who later got on their bikes and left. My dad got home from work and I told him about what I had just been through, so to make up for it, he said, “Let’s go get your new ‘Nintendo.'” Excited, I went to get all my hard-earned and saved cash. But the worst part came last.
It turns out the kids who had beat me up and broken my toys had also found my piggy bank and they took all my money.
28. A Loner’s Trauma
In the 5th grade, we had moved to a major city and I was having trouble making friends. My mother, who was oblivious to everything, decided to throw me a surprise birthday party. She didn’t know who any of my friends were…Not that it mattered, I didn’t really have many; but she ended up inviting my entire 5th-grade class. As usual, she didn’t really have a plan, so she mailed out the invitations the day before.
When I got home that day, the house was decorated for a party. I was excited to get to spend some time outside of school and build some friendships…but no one showed up…at all. I was devastated. It seemed that no one even wanted to even try to be my friend. I cried for three days until finally, one of the kids in my class said that he had just gotten the invitation.
I just assumed that no one else had gotten their invitations either, but I never really recovered from that.
29. A Child’s Burden
My father had just gotten back from the first Gulf War. My mom decided to throw him a surprise coming home party. I was like seven years old and my job was to go run errands for an hour while she set up and everyone came over. The problem, however, was that she gave my dad a list of things to do that would take at least five hours.
My dad was a marine—he was not capable of leaving things unfinished. So, after an hour when I was supposed to get him home, he would not stop until the list was completed. I ended up crying and throwing myself on the hood of his truck and it was just a freaking mess. We ended up being four hours late and the party was almost over by the time we got there.
My mom was upset at me for not getting him home on time, and he felt awful for the scolding that he gave me for behaving so childishly earlier that day. As a child, it was just an emotionally destructive incident.
30. Being Proactive
A friend of mine was about to leave for Africa and spend two years there in the peace corp. The week before his departure, I took him out for drinks to say goodbye. We got tipsy and he told me he was planning on breaking up with his live-in girlfriend the day before he flew out. The next day, I got an email that made my blood run cold. It was from his girlfriend…inviting me to his surprise going-away party the night before he was to leave (i.e., his designated breakup time).
I wasn’t able to attend the party because of work but thought it would be best if I called him and told him it was really important for him to break up with her ASAP rather than wait until the last minute. He wasn’t sure why I was so concerned, but he eventually decided I was right. I guess it put a damper on the party for her, but from what I heard it was still a good time, and he thanked me later for not having to do the breakup at his surprise party.
31. Anger Issues
I was nine and my mom was pregnant with her third kid. Her family planned a surprise baby shower at her house but in order to set up, they needed her to be gone for a bit. So, like the geniuses they are, the family assigned my dad with the task of keeping her busy—my temperamental, immature, and stubborn dad.
On the day of her shower, he announced over breakfast that he wanted to go to the mall. My mom was tired and asked why but he wouldn’t give a reason; it was just imperative that they go to the mall. “Can we go tomorrow? I want to stay home today.” “No you HAVE to go with me and we HAVE to go today.” That very response led to a yelling fight and an angry car ride to the farthest mall he could think of.
Why did it have to be far? I still don’t know. “So what’s at this mall that you needed so badly??” “I don’t know, let’s go to this store.” In. Out. “OK, if you tell me what you’re looking for, I can help you look so we can go home.” “I DON’T NEED YOUR HELP.” Imagine two hours of this for my pregnant mother who was dragging two crying kids around and following an angry husband.
Finally, my mom decided she was hungry and she wanted to get some food at the food court. My dad looked at his watch and decided we needed to leave the mall IMMEDIATELY. “Why do we need to leave now? We’ve been walking around aimlessly for two hours and now suddenly we have to leave right this second??” Cue more loud fighting through the mall, into the car, and all the way home. We finally get to the house and “SURPRIIIiii… Why are you crying?!”
32. The Neighborhood Maneater
My family threw a surprise party for me when I was 17 years old. Unfortunately, what ruined it is that four guys all thought they were my boyfriend. I had told the first guy time and time again that I was interested in nothing other than a friendship. He ended up throwing his cake in the street along with a cross he got me (he was super religious and tried to convert me a few weeks prior). Somehow, the others were even worse.
Another was my EX boyfriend who I broke up with several weeks before. For some reason, he thought we had gotten back together because I was “being nice to him.” The third was an absolute nut who I had only met two weeks earlier but he somehow made it to my party and attempted to serenade me with his acoustic guitar. I could only cringe.
And finally, the last guy was the only one I was actually interested in, but after he saw the fallouts I had with the other three, he lost interest in me. It was an absolute horror show. The whole party scattered and I was left with a ton of cake and dirty looks from two dozen people as they exited. Of course, everyone in the small community knew by Monday.
To this day, everyone still maintains that it was entirely my fault.
33. I’m Outta Here
My uncle is a pretty introverted guy. He’s a recovering drinker and typically keeps to himself. He’s really made a push to become healthier, and I have been doing activities with him that he seems to enjoy. He’s not married, but we have a big family. His sister (my aunt) decided to throw him a surprise 40th birthday party at her house this summer.
After multiple rounds of “This is NOT a good idea; he does not like attention to be placed on him,” she still pressed on. We all arrived an hour early to set up balloons and the cake on the table. It was a beautiful day. We got him to the house on the grounds that he and my aunt were going to go shopping for kayaks, which was his newly-found hobby.
He pulled into the driveway and all of us were outside greeting him, doing the whole “Surprise!” thing… He rolled down his window and with the straightest face he could muster and simply said: “I guess we’re not buying a freaking kayak today.” Then he put his truck in reverse and peeled off. Basically, everything that we thought would happen, happened. It was still hilarious though.
34. The Quickdraw
I went to the 50th birthday party of a friend who was a Secret Service agent. He wasn’t currently on Presidential security detail, but had been previously during his career. A bunch of his co-workers and his boss were at the party. Someone thought it would be fun to have everyone set off “party poppers” as we were yelling “Surprise!”—you know, the ones where you pull the string and confetti blows out the other end.
I asked his wife if that was a good idea and she said his hands would be full with his briefcase and laptop, so it wouldn’t be a problem…Yeah, right. He opened the door, the poppers exploded, and he dropped EVERYTHING in order to draw his pistol amazingly fast. He quickly disengaged, but he was so keyed up from the adrenaline, he had a hard time enjoying the party. At least he didn’t shoot anyone on his birthday.
35. That’s A Shocker
I have a late summer birthday, so the year I started college, I celebrated it the week before I left home. On that particular day, I had been planning to go shopping for some dorm stuff with my mom, but she unexpectedly said she couldn’t take me that afternoon. I had been dating a classmate from senior year, and we had agreed to go our separate ways as friends once we went off to college.
However, that meant our time together had a deadline, and as that got closer, she wanted more and more of my time. It was flattering, but I wanted to share with other people as well. She and I had been planning to hang out, but I was packing and stressed, so I jumped at the opportunity to go dorm shopping and let her know I couldn’t see her until later in the afternoon.
Not long after, my mom let me know we were canceling our shopping trip. Suddenly, I had a free afternoon, and had already told my girlfriend I would be busy until later. As I mentioned before, I was still trying to see a bunch of people before I left town. One of them was a good female friend who lived just a few blocks from me. I will stress that this was a completely platonic friendship.
But obviously, my girlfriend wouldn’t have been happy that I ditched her to see this other friend. Anyway, I took my newfound free time and came impossibly close to calling her up and seeing if she was free to meet up. Instead, for reasons I still can’t place, I called my girlfriend and let her know that I was actually available to see her.
Everything was working out…until she told me that she was currently at the other girl’s house and that I should come over to see them. I walked over to the house, thinking the entire way how much I just dodged a huge bullet. I stepped through the door, the two of them greeted me, and then all of my friends jumped out and yelled “Surprise!” Needless to say, I have never been more surprised at a birthday in my life.
36. Annoyingly Snoopy
My friend’s wife and family decided to throw a surprise party for him, so we took him golfing to get him out of the house so they could get things ready. My friend decided to use another friend’s cell phone and for some reason, he scanned through his text messages. He then saw a couple of texts about the party. He looked up from the phone and said, “So, surprise party huh?”
When we got back to the house, the birthday boy played it off well and I believe, to this day, his wife thinks she successfully surprised him. We all still felt bad because of how excited his wife was to do this for him. It’s hard to see somebody so proud of their effort only to know it really didn’t work.
37. 20-Minute Mayhem
I once helped plan a surprise party, but I didn’t know the celebrant. I was just a friend of a friend, yet everyone had this great idea to have me greet the celebrant at the door. Me, a stranger, hugging him and telling him “Happy Birthday.” I didn’t realize what would happen until it was too late. It went smooth for all of two seconds—before I was thrown on the ground and beaten by the guy, who was a total muscle head.
I tried to signal the others, but no one did anything, and they gave him free rein to beat the living heck out of me. After about eight seconds, they all yelled “Surprise!” while I laid on the ground with a bloodied nose. The muscle head apologized to me at least, and I followed with a “Happy Birthday” before I promptly left. That was some 20 minutes, I tell you what.
38. Birthday Grief
A former friend of mine took his birthday off of Facebook and spent the week complaining about how no one could remember his birthday without the help of Facebook. The kicker is we had only known him for a few months, and he never told us when his birthday was otherwise. We decided to throw a party on his birthday, told him it was for someone else, and the big surprise would be his name on the cake.
The plan was going well—but then he started drinking too fast and ended up crying that we would remember someone else’s birthday before his. He blacked out from grief before he even got to see the cake.
39. Tell Me How You Really Feel
We threw a surprise party and dinner for a friend and everyone was hiding in the kitchen. The host brought her into the room, and the entire time, the celebrant thought it was just a dinner for the two of them. Then, suddenly, the birthday girl said, “I can’t believe Emma couldn’t make it to this dinner. She’s so stuck-up and only cares about herself, I mean it’s my birthday?! She does this every time…”
The girl she was talking loudly about was also hiding in the kitchen and she heard every word. Let’s just say that the rest of that evening was a bit awkward.
40. Sister A Or B?
Both of my sisters were pregnant at the same time. We planned to throw a baby shower for Sister A, and Sister B was in on the surprise, helping us prepare the upstairs area for the party. Sister A rented our downstairs area and kept coming upstairs for usual reasons. Every time she came up, we kept acting suspicious and secretive, so she figured something was up.
Finally, she walked into the room where all the gifts were and we knew she had figured it out. She walked out of the room, went downstairs, and didn’t come back up. Even if the surprise was blown, we didn’t want our effort to go to waste. 7 o’clock rolled around and she was still downstairs in her room, watching TV. She seemed upset.
But then I asked her to come upstairs, and when she did, we all yelled “Surprise!” That’s when she realized the baby shower was actually for her, not Sister B. Her bad attitude immediately went away after that.
41. The Wrong Hunch
My dad had apparently spent all day accusing my mom of cheating on him. She had recently returned to her old place of work, and there was a guy there who once tried to get her to leave my dad when we were kids. But she had actually been planning his 50th birthday party for weeks with one of his female co-workers. They were to go over to the co-worker’s house to celebrate someone’s anniversary, as far as he knew.
We had been there an hour or so and I texted my dad to see if they were headed out already. His reply made me panic: “I’m having a life-ending fight with your mother.” A couple hours later, they walked through the door and yelled, “SURPRISE!” My dad shook his head, figuratively stuck his foot in his mouth, and walked back out the door.
42. Mixed Signals
The girl I liked tried to throw me a surprise party over the Christmas break when I was in high school. I’d told her I liked her three months prior, but she said we were just friends. Since then, we became really close and she kept asking to meet up over the Christmas break. However, I kept telling myself, “I’m not going to make myself available just because she wants me to be. I need her to think I’m really busy and cool.”
So, I pretended I was super busy all Christmas when really I was just playing video games. Then, I found out a few months later from another friend that she had put a lot of effort into organizing a surprise birthday party for me with loads of people from my year at school. Needless to say, that sent teenage me mixed signals and I asked her out again later, only to get rejected again.
43. What A Mess
One of our friends decided to throw a surprise birthday party for her husband a few years ago. We all dressed up and went out to a fancy restaurant attached to a mini-resort overlooking the city for brunch. We ate, drank, laughed, and generally had a great time. Then, we went to chill by the pool and everything went south. When we got outside near the pool, there was another party there that was also celebrating a birthday.
They invited our very tipsy birthday boy to take a shot with them. So he went over and hung out with them for a little bit. I don’t remember exactly how long he was with that other group, but it seemed like a good 20 minutes at least. Next thing I knew, the birthday boy was crying. The other group had no idea what was going on (and we didn’t either).
The birthday boy was just crying at their table and he was refusing to leave despite us trying our best to get him away and stop freaking out the other party. The birthday boy’s brother was also with us, and I guess in the confusion, he thought the other group said something to make his brother cry. That’s when things went from bad to worse. The brother started picking a fight with this group of older people.
He was 24 at that time and these people were all easily in their mid-to-late 40s. The authorities were called. Our entire party of 20+ people was asked to leave. People who had booked rooms at the resort had their reservations canceled. We no longer plan surprises for him.
44. Not-So-Sweet 16
When I was 15, I moved away from my hometown and friends. When I came back on the holidays, they decided to throw me a surprise party for my 16th birthday. I didn’t really make any plans myself; I just called up a friend and asked if she wanted to hang out. All of my other friends said no and I was a bit bummed, but eh, I should have planned better right?
So the next day, I headed over to her place; not really on time because it wasn’t an “event” or anything, and I assumed the arrival time we’d set to be more of a suggestion. By the time I got there, I realized they were waiting to surprise me. Unfortunately for me, they’d already gotten through all the drinks and everyone was hammered.
So I spent my 16h birthday party taking care of puking girls who periodically ran off into the darkness to cry about their jerk boyfriends.
45. Party Poopers
Oh boy…this reminds me of a cringe-worthy story that happened back when I was in second grade or so. It was my friend’s actual birthday. Her parents told her that they were going to celebrate it a few weeks later because her dad was out of town or something. However, they had actually planned a surprise party for her at school on the day of her birthday.
A few hours before, I wished her a happy birthday. As I was talking to her, two guys from my class came up out of nowhere screaming at me and accusing me of ruining the surprise. Needless to say, my friend and I were all like: “What?” and there was a bit of explaining to do after that. To this day, I kind of feel guilty about it, and at the same time, I’m still upset at those classmates for ruining it.
46. Good Soup
At my surprise dinner party, I drank a bottle of vino way too quickly, despite not eating anything the whole day. I ended up puking purple into the soup. When someone said, “John, on the floor,” I responded with, “No.” I continued to throw up in the soup. This was in front of my host’s entire family—his wife, his three small children, and one of his best friends.
47. Ungrateful Uncle
A few years ago, we threw a surprise party for my Uncle Tommy. It was gonna be at the Elks Club where he was Vice President or something like that, so we all got set up and ready to go. We were waiting for him to arrive and he was supposed to arrive at 6 pm, but they never showed up. Once it was around 7:30 pm, we started to get worried.
My aunt planned to take my uncle to the park for a romantic walk first, then bring him to the club so he’d be shocked to see everyone. But they got into this huge fight and he wanted to go home. Eventually, she convinced him to come by telling him he left his expensive hat there (even though she actually took his hat in the middle of the night and dropped it off at the club).
His reaction when he finally walked in was deranged. He said: “Yeah, I heard her talking about this three freaking weeks ago. I told her I didn’t want a party and what did she do? Throw me a party.” He knocked all the presents off the table, punched the cake, then left. He filed for divorce the following week and then moved to Florida.
48. Turning The Tables
For my bachelorette party, my friends insisted on getting an exotic male dancer. Ugh. When he got there, I immediately went up to the guy and said, “Don’t touch me. I’m getting married for a reason.” Then he got a devious grin on his face: “You see those girls? I want you to think about every time they have made you mad. Every time they played a joke on you. Then, you are going to tell me who to dance with.”
I got so many pictures of that guy’s sensitive parts in my friends’ faces. Freaking awesome! He literally had no shame around them and I have all the photos. The only person besides me who I told him to stay away from was the one who paid—she was also married and extremely shy and uncomfortable. Overall, it was pretty fun. It was my way of ruining their surprise, I guess.
49. Shock Of His Life
The person we were throwing a 63rd birthday party for was coming back from a trip with his wife. There were 50+ people in the backyard with all the decorations set up. His wife texted us when they were five minutes away and we all gathered at the fence gate where they would soon enter (the fence was about seven feet tall, so you couldn’t see anything over it). When they entered, we all yelled “Surprise!” and his face looked like he was about to sneeze.
Turns out, the truth was much more disturbing than that. At that moment, he was really having a stroke and he ended up in the hospital for the evening. The food was good though.
50. The Worst Gift
My mom was having a surprise party thrown for her 30th birthday. They flew in the whole family—her parents came, her siblings came, the whole shebang. On the way home from work, she was driving on a mountain road. Then disaster struck. She was hit head first by a truck. She was driving a VW beetle. She had to be helicoptered to the hospital and needed emergency surgery on her back, etc.
So when she woke up in the hospital, they were trying to get her phone number to call the family. She couldn’t remember it. A house full of people was waiting for my mom for two or three hours, and eventually, she remembered the number. She was completely bedridden for six months after that accident. Crazy stuff.