21 Fun Ideas For A Drive By Retirement Party Parade


Are you looking for ideas for a drive-by retirement party parade? Well, you’ve come to the right place! I listed 21 fun ideas in this article to help you honor the retiree in a safe, unique, and fun way. So, continue reading.

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1) Decorate Your Car

One of the most important parts of a drive-by retirement parade is the cars. So you want to make sure your car and all cars are decorated to make it into a festive event. Because what’s a party without decorations? You can decorate your car with retirement balloons, a Happy Retirement banner, write something on your window with erasable window markers, and other fun car decorations.

2) Decorate The Retiree’s House

Make sure to also decorate the retiree’s house, so everyone can see that there’s a retirement that needs to be celebrated. And there all sorts of fun things you can do. For example: decorate the house with retirement balloons and garlands, insert Honk I’m Retired signs in the lawn and hang up a Large Officially Retired or The Legend Has Retired Banner in the yard.

3) Deliver A Retirement Gift

The day before the parade you can send a nice retirement gift to the retiree’s house. Or you can bring along a retirement gift and drop it off during the parade.

A great retirement gift is a gift that represents your connection with the retiree (funny or thoughtful). Or a gift that the retiree can enjoy in their retirement. And to help you out here are some amazing retirement gift ideas:

4) Send A Fun Invitation

Perhaps it’s a good idea to start with sending an invitation to everyone you want to take part in the drive-by retirement party parade. You can customize your digital drive-by invitation and instantly download it from Bobotemp here. Or send a physical invitation to all your guests. If you’re planning on having a theme party, you can implement the theme also in your invitation.

Organizing a safe drive-by parade starts with sending clear instructions in the invitation. Let guests know whether the drive-by is going to be a parade with all cars line-up (including information on where to line up) or if guests are invited to drive by the retiree’s house at a designated time frame. Also include information on how guests can give their retirement gift to the retiree and if it’s allowed to get out of the car.

5) Create Signs

Another fun thing to do is to create handmade signs to let the retiree know that you’re going to miss him/ her, congratulate them, or put a smile on their face with a funny text. You can get blank yard signs and markers to crafty and creative.

To give you some inspiration here are some things you can write on the signs:

  • Happy Retirement!
  • Goodbye Tension, Hello Pension!
  • The Legend Has Retired!
  • (Name), The Man/ Women, The Myth, The Legend Has Retired
  • We Will Miss You!
  • And Now The Adventure Begins…
  • Congrats And Have Fun!
  • Cheers To A Neverending Weekend
  • Thanks For Everything!

6) Set Up A Goodie Bag Table

If you want to surprise each guest, you can set up a goodie bag table to hand out a little gift and party favor. Make sure the table is on the same level as the car window, so guests can easily grab a goodie bag from their car window.

The goodie bag can be filled with all sorts of fun stuff so the guests will not forget this retirement party soon. Below are a couple of ideas and inspiration from Amazon.

7) Make Some Noise

As you drive-by you have to make an entrance, right? To get the party started. Well, there are some fun ways to make some noise. The most obvious one is to honk the horns or your car (idea: the number of working years). But you can also turn the volume up of your car radio with the retiree’s favorite song and sing along. Or pop a confetti shooter as you drive by, use an air horn, or megaphone. On a hot day, you can spray the retiree wet with a water gun, or spray a bottle of champagne just for the sake of it.

8) Set Up A Retirement Cake Station

When you’re organizing the retirement party drive-by parade it’s a good idea to set up a retirement party cake station for your guests. Because what is a party without cake?

You can make or order cupcakes and wrap them in an individual cupcake box and decorate it with a retirement cake topper as you can see below. This way everybody can get a delicious piece of retirement cake in a safe way.

9) Organize A Gift Table

Make sure to set up a gift table along the drive way or in the backyard so guests can drop off their gifts in a safe way. You can set up a table that is the same height as the car window so nobody has to get out of their car. Or in the back yard, on the lawn, or drive way.

10) Set Up A Food & Drink Station

If you don’t want your guests to go drive home hungry or thirsty you can set up a food and drink station. Make sure when you’re organizing a food and drinks station to provide single-use utensils and plates. You don’t want everybody touching the same utensils.

So you want to make it a grab and go station. And for that, you can use party food boxes and fill them with delicious snacks, meals, drinks, etc. And what you put in it depends on the time of day of your party. For example, a nice brunch box filled with a croissant, orange juice, muffin. Or a lunch box filled with delicious sandwiches, crisps, and a fruit shake, a taco box, hamburger, and fries to go, or a cup filled with cheese and fruit. You can go all out.

11) Create A Message Board

As you send out the invitation for the drive-by party you can include a blank card and envelop, so that each guest can write up a personal message for the retiree. And when the guests drive-by they can drop off this envelope in a card box. This way the retiree gets so many fun messages and well wishes that he or she can read later after the party. And as an extra gift, you can collect these cards and stick them in an album.

12) Host A Talent Show

If you know that you’re guests don’t mind the attention and go all out when it comes to a party. You can consider hosting a talent show where each car does a performance for the retiree. This can be singing a song, giving a speech, act out a famous sketch or story, etc.

13) Do A Champagne Toast

You can set up a table with glasses of champagne and non-alcoholic drinks for the drivers so that everyone can grab a glass of champagne and can make a toast to the retiree. This also creates the opportunity for each car and passengers to say something to the retiree when they drive-by.

14) Do It In Reverse

There is another way to have a retirement party parade. Instead of having the parade drive by the retiree’s house, you can drive the retiree around and visit his or her favorite people and places. You can decorate the car and fill the backseat with snacks and drinks and have a party.

And you can ask all the hosts to stall out some food and drinks. Create an entire drive-by dinner for the retiree by starting with a glass of champagne at house 1, an appetizer at house 2, the main course at house 3, and so on.

15) Dress Up

Let guests dress up in fun costumes and you will put a smile on the retiree’s face. It definitely adds more fun to the party. And here are some fun ideas: let everyone dress up as the retiree, or as a police officer if the retiree is a retiring police officer, same goes with a doctor, nurse, military, etc. Or go more formal and chic with a black-tie dress code. Whatever fun idea you can think of and suits the personality of the retiree. Make sure to include the dress code in the invitation so all guests are clearly informed.

16) Have A Party Theme

You can theme the whole drive-by party from invitation, decoration, dress code to food and drinks. Some fun themes are:

  • Retiree’s favorite movie,
  • Retiree’s favorite hobby,
  • 50’s/60’s/80’s theme,
  • Tropical,
  • Masquerade Ball,
  • Hollywood,
  • Western,
  • Mardi Grass.

17) Create A Backdrop For Photos

You can create a nice backdrop in the driveway or on the lawn so guests can get out of their car for a second and take pictures per car. This way you create an extra memory for guests and the retiree. You can even position the retiree in a way that he or she is in the picture while being at a safe distance. Check out these backdrops on Amazon.

18) Record On Video

Ask a friend, neighbor, or family member to record the drive-by on video. And create a fun after-party video to send to the retiree and all guests. You can also ask guests to record videos while driving by and make a fun compilation from all the collected videos. You can use an easy online video editor like Magisto to help you with the editing. A lot of them are free to use.

19) Create A Photo Album

Make pictures during the parade and collect photos from all the drive-by guests to create a photo album to give as a nice retirement gift. You can print out all photos and create a physical photo album. Or create an online photo album at Myalbum.com. You can even add text and videos. The retiree can reminisce about the party over and over again with this online photo album. And you can also have it printed and sent to the retiree as a nice retirement gift.

Or if you don’t want to do all the work yourself you can create an online photo album together with all guests. At Newlywords everyone can submit photos. You can have it printed and send it to the retiree. Or download a PDF file to your computer right away to mail the retiree and all guests the virtual memory book of the party.

20) Host A Funny Roast

Retirement is the perfect opportunity to make fun of the retiree. Well, only if he or she has a good sense of humor of course. If not, don’t do it.

But if the retiree can take a few hilarious hits, you can organize a funny drive-by roast, where each driver can roast the retiree and vice versa. If you want to make sure everybody can hear the jokes, you can rent a speaker system with microphone(s). But make sure the microphone is thoroughly cleaned before every new speaker roasts. Or everyone has their own microphone or megaphone for the obvious safety reasons.

The key to a successful roast is to do it short and sweet. Let a maximum of 5 or 6 people take part in the roast and plan it preferably from funny to funniest. And let the retiree have the last words, either to also roast the others or host a speech. And make sure everyone can hear it because jokes are better with a crowd laughing.

21) Fill A Bucket With Bucket List Ideas

Now that the retiree is retired, it is time to do all the things they’ve always wanted to do. And sometimes they need a bit of inspiration when they suddenly have all the time in the world. Therefore it can be a nice idea to give the retiree a bucket filled with inspiration and ideas on what to do before he or she ‘kicks the bucket’.

You can set up a table with a bucket, bucket list suggestion cards, and pens so everyone can write up a bucket list idea and put it in the bucket. Make sure you have enough pens for each person so they can keep the pen after writing with it. This way it all stays safe. You can make a sign with clear instructions so everyone knows what’s expected of them.

Practical Tips

Safely Position The Retiree in a Visible Spot

You can create a spot for the retiree to sit on the driveway or lawn at a safe distance but visible from the street. Set up a chair or couch and decorate it with garlands and balloons. If the retiree needs to stay indoors, make sure all curtains are open en lights are ON so that he or she is visible to all guests passing by.

Give Clear Instructions

To host a safe party, you need to send out clear instructions to all guests. If people need to stay in their car, mention this in the invitation and hang up signs in the streets as a reminder. And if they’re allowed to step out of the car, make it clear through signs or someone directing the parade.

Have A Parade Host

Although having a car parade is fun, but it can sometimes be much fun where things get out of hand and safety rules get violated. Make sure to have a parade host with perhaps a megaphone, who directs/ orchestrates the whole thing. So every car gets enough time and the opportunity to drop off their gift, get their snacks, and can interact with the retiree.

You can meet at a certain place and time to form a parade and drive to the retiree’s house together. Or you can give each car with guests a certain designated time frame to drive by so it doesn’t get too crowded in front of the house. This is advisable when space is limited.

Have Clear Signs

Put up signs in the streets so the cars will know how to drive by the retiree. It will prevent unwanted traffic jams and safety violations.

Kirsten Veldman

I'm Kirsten. In 2017, my husband Léon, and I decided to retire from the rat race to travel the world and work and live location independently. In the last couple of years, I wrote over 100+ articles about retirement and did extensive research to help people prepare, enjoy and celebrate retirement in the best way possible.

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