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The Origins of Pointed Hats and Party Horns for Birthdays

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Birthday parties are a common and enjoyable way for people to celebrate the anniversary of their birth with their friends and family. The way birthday parties are celebrated varies based on culture, age, and personal preferences, but a few common elements make up most celebrations. Two examples of these are wearing pointed birthday hats and blowing party horns.

Pointed birthday hats are usually optional, but you will find them in most children’s birthday celebrations. On the other hand, blowing party horns is a given for any birthday party because it’s meant to create a festive atmosphere and add to the excitement of the celebration. These horns are usually brightly coloured and come in various shapes and sizes, from small plastic to large air horns. However, many don’t know that these two birthday traditions go way back.

Party Hats in Ancient Times

The tradition of wearing pointy hats and using noisemakers has been around for a long time, dating back to ancient times. The ancient Egyptians were known to wear cone-shaped hats for special events and celebrations. Recently, archaeologists found two beeswax cones that match the ones depicted in ancient Egyptian wall paintings. The cones were discovered in Akhenaten, an ancient city built by Pharaoh Akhenaten around the 14th century BC, and were studied by an international team of university scientists. The discovery of physical evidence and artwork suggests that people in ancient Egyptian society commonly wore cone-shaped hats during festivities, symbolising the deceased’s revival in the afterlife.

Birthday hats in Great Britain and other places are usually designed like royal crowns, especially for the person celebrating their birthday. However, in the United States, the cone-shaped hat, known as the dunce cap, used as a punishment for children who misbehaved in the 19th and early 20th centuries, might have inspired the design of birthday party hats. It originated from John Duns Scotus, a Scottish priest and philosopher from the 14th century who thought that wearing a pointed hat would help people absorb knowledge better. His followers, known as Dunsmen, began wearing cone-shaped hats, and this style became associated with wise individuals and wizards.

Modern-Day Party Hats

Today, a birthday party hat is created using thin cardboard material adorned with vibrant patterns on the outer part and then rolled and secured into a cone form. It also includes a slim elastic strip that stretches from one side of the open end of the cone to the other, which functions as a chin strap. Beyond the traditional conical style, party hats can now be made from various materials, come in different shapes and sizes, and are tailored to fit the party’s theme and the celebrant’s preferences.

Children are particularly drawn to birthday party hats because they are a fun and festive accessory that adds to the excitement of their special day. When it comes to wearing pointy hats at adult birthday parties, they are usually used more for decoration on the table than worn by guests. Unless it’s a special birthday, adults will only put on the hat briefly to take a picture before removing it.

Party Horns for Birthdays

These days, the party horn has evolved into a newer version with a plastic mouthpiece and a thin, coiled strip made from paper, metal or plastic that produces a horn-like sound when blown. A theory explains that in the past, people believed that making loud noises could drive away evil spirits. This is why people would blow horns, whistle or bang on pots and pans during birthday celebrations or New Year’s Eve to protect themselves from harm and ensure good fortune for the coming year. Historians also support this theory.

Apart from the traditional blowout horns, birthday noisemakers may include whistles, kazoos, clappers, and poppers. Blowhorns are generally not recommended for children’s birthday parties because they make too much noise that can overwhelm young ears. Instead, parents may opt for quieter noisemakers like kazoos or clappers that still add to the festive atmosphere without causing discomfort for children.


Pointed hats and party horns are birthday traditions that go back to ancient times, and it’s easy to see why they stood the test of time. For your next birthday party, consider using them to liven the atmosphere and add a touch of fun and excitement. Whether you go with the classic pointed hat or the modern blowout horn, these items will bring a smile to everyone’s face and make your celebration memorable.

Everything Party Supplies has what you need if you’re looking for party hats! We also offer other party supplies and accessories, such as balloons, candles, invitations, and decorations, to complete the experience. Call us today at (02) 9241 2442 to place an order!


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