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Balloons in a Phonebooth

I love doing surprises for my friends for their birthday (see here and here.) I’ve always wanted to fill a phone booth with balloons and then send someone on a treasure hunt to the booth and have the phone ring so the person has to open it to answer the phone and the balloons come out. We found this amazing phonebooth near the Golden Gate Bridge so we did a little shoot to share the idea in pictures. It makes such a great visual impact. It would be so fun to do this for someone. The trick is finding the old-style phonebooths. They are harder and harder to find! (I actually tried to do this once for Paul but the weather was terrible so I scrapped the idea.) What’s the best surprise you’ve ever given or received?

Credits + Contributors:
All photography by Heather Zweig for Oh Happy Day
Art Directed by Jordan Ferney
Produced by Ashley Rose Kirschling

  1. Vilda

    November 7, 2012

    That is such a great idea! I don’t think I’ve actually seen a phone booth in Sweden since like… I don’t know, since forever. Do you get a lot of them in SF?

  2. Purrfect Kat

    November 7, 2012

    that’s terribly cute!!!

  3. julia

    November 7, 2012

    phonebooths! a dying breed.
    wonderful idea!

  4. Aline

    November 7, 2012

    What a lovely idea! I must say I love (good) surprises and taht one is pretty charming!

  5. janis

    November 7, 2012

    How would you get the phone to ring?

  6. robyn

    November 7, 2012

    Brilliant-how cute is that!

  7. kathleen

    November 7, 2012

    This is so delightful!

    I haven’t seen a phone booth in our area since the 90s! No kidding. I don’t even see those phone kiosks in the mall anymore. My youngest daughter, Eloise has a play phone at her grandparents house that she occasionally puts up to her ear to talk but we are all at a loss as to how she even knows it’s a phone. I don’t think we’ve had a landline since 2006 and neither do they.

  8. wmbg

    November 7, 2012


  9. Brigette

    November 7, 2012

    this just screams “weeeeeee” how fun!

  10. Lucy Mitchell

    November 7, 2012

    I pass two phone booths on my way to pick up my kids from school. We have never seen anybody use one. I told them that that was how I used to make phone calls when I was younger but judging by the dubious looks on their faces, they did’nt believe me!

  11. AC

    November 7, 2012

    Pretty cute.

  12. martina

    November 7, 2012

    Maybe this is overly practical, but what is your friend supposed to do with the balloons after they’ve spilled out?? It’s a cute photo op though!

  13. LARY@ Inspiration Nook

    November 7, 2012

    Two of my favorites things, balloons and payphones! :)

  14. Andie @ Assemble

    November 7, 2012

    This is the most genius idea. Balloons have the ability to make ANYTHING just adorable. Well done!

  15. Featheringtodo

    November 7, 2012

    A priceless gift! Lucky friends you have!

  16. Jeuno

    November 7, 2012

    I drove a two-tone powder blue Chevy truck in college, with a topper on it. My best friend filled the back with balloons and a picnic one year for my birthday (the weather was too cold to have picnic outside), so we drove somewhere and picnicked “indoors.” Good memory. Cute photo shoot! I love that third shot with all the signage. xox

  17. Mandy

    November 7, 2012

    I love these shots with the famous Gold Gate Bridge orange – I’d love to purchase prints of some if they are available anywhere.

  18. rachael

    November 7, 2012

    i LOVE this! i think balloons are underrated for exciting surprise presents these days.

  19. Sue

    November 7, 2012

    Filled my husband’s car with balloons one year for his birthday while he was at work. Would have loved to have seen his face when he came out and found it! His co-workers talked about it for a long time.

  20. nancy

    November 8, 2012

    dear jordan,

    i l.o.v.e ur blog!!!
    and most of all i l.o.v.e ur idea with the “postcard birthday poster DIY”…

    i linked your idea on my post today…

    my post is about a birthdaycard-flashmob (which we organized for a friend of us)…
    and i thought ur idea fits perfectly to our flashmobidea…

    i hope u like it!

    greetings from germany


  21. Lee Arkapaw

    November 8, 2012

    Great idea! Love this site! One of the best surprises I’ve seen was for my fathers 60th. He was an English teacher that always wrote poetry as a hobby. For his 60th we decided to publish 60 of his poems in a book and give them to him at a surprise book launch, his own ofcourse! There were tears. It was a very happy moment. You can see the book here, under sixty.

  22. Jillian

    November 8, 2012

    This is such a fun idea!

  23. Gertrude from

    November 8, 2012

    Adorable post!!I’m inspired for a forthcoming surprise!!

  24. Courtney

    November 8, 2012

    Cute! I have had a couple of balloon surprises, they are fun until…clean-up. For part of our Senior prank in high school, we (all the seniors) blew up a ton of balloons and filled up all the administrative offices. It was great…especially since for some reason they made the underclassmen clean it up. :)

  25. Ashley

    November 8, 2012

    Such a good idea for a photo shoot!

  26. Liz V.

    November 9, 2012

    This is so whimsical and lovely! It totally reminds me of a Kate Spade advertisement.

  27. C // Project Mintbean

    November 10, 2012

    This is adorable! I love the idea of stuffing a phonebooth to the brim with balloons. Nobody can hate that! …. unless, of course, for some reason you really, really need to use a public phone…


  28. Bellenza Bistro

    November 11, 2012

    Now that is a FUN way to greet someone on their special day!

  29. Latrina

    November 11, 2012

    What a fun idea! 😀

  30. Lorraine

    November 11, 2012


  31. thecircleofit

    November 12, 2012

    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 Sooooooooooooo fun!!!!!! and inspiring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. sarah

    November 16, 2012

    This is a great idea! I love new and creative ways to celebrate things! And make them special.

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