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72 Covid Birthday Ideas & Tips for a Fun Party

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Planning a birthday party has always been time consuming, but trying to come up with COVID birthday ideas (along with all the restrictions) is next-level planning!

The increased requirements, concerns, and availability of venues and party options might seem like a major issue—and in some cases, it might feel limiting—however, we have tons of tips and party ideas to help your birthday parties be a success.

boy wearing a mask and a party hat holding a present during a covid birthda party

We are here to help you with everything you need to know about hosting a birthday party during covid, including how to prepare, what to consider, as well as tips about choosing a location, food, drink, activities, and everything else that makes an adult or kid’s special day great!

COVID Birthday Ideas: All the Essentials, Info, and Tips for a Great Party

Hosting a party during the time of coronavirus is certainly a feat that most never would have expected.

Our social circles have been severely tightened, businesses we once loved have closed, and the fear and risk of exposure is on many people’s minds constantly.

However celebrations are still (and one might argue are even more) important to keep us connected and to celebrate the good that is around us, despite difficult circumstances.

Whether you are celebrating Grandma turning 80 or the littlest birthday child during COVID, what makes a successful party is no longer just about the food, decorations and gifts.

Instead, the thought and planning that goes into the party ahead of time to ensure that guests and the birthday boy or girl all feel comfortable and excited to be there is what makes the biggest difference!

Safety Disclaimer

Just because we are a party blog does not mean we advocate parties as “the bigger the better”.

In fact, even prior the past year we have loved and appreciated the special touches of small parties and meaningful celebrations, rather than focusing on filling a room.

It is essential, for both the safety of your family and for those in your community, that you follow and adhere to the state and local regulations regarding gatherings, including differences between indoor and outdoor, as well as any mask mandates that there may be.

The goal of a special occasion is finding interesting ways to celebrate, and we all want to be around to celebrate next year as well (and hopefully then we can have big get-togethers once more!)

However, please remember that even with planning, there is no way to mitigate risk completely, and we are not claiming that any of these ideas will prevent the spread of COVID-19 or other viruses.

These are simple ways to make the most out of birthdays and other celebrations given the new normal.

At Home vs. Party Place for a Birthday Party during Covid

The first big decision that needs to be made is where to have the celebration.

Will you host a party at your home or the home of a friend or relative? Or do you prefer to have a party at another location to avoid the additional stress of setup/cleanup and having people over?

There are pros and cons to both situations.

small family only birthday party at home during quarantine

At Home Covid Birthday Party

Having a birthday party at home during covid means you have complete control over all aspects of the party, however, it also means that there will potentially be more people than usual in your residence, and all of the germs they could bring with them!

There are lots of different ways you can celebrate a birthday at home, including having a:

  • Family only party
  • Zoom Party with friends
decorated backyard with a family of 5 celebrating at home during quarantine
  • Small at Home party with your “bubble” or family members
  • Outdoor Party (within state/local limits)
  • Drive By Party, where guests drive by to drop gifts for the birthday child and pick up party favors or goodie bags
  • Party Parade, where a group of cars arrange to drive by while singing “Happy Birthday” to surprise the birthday person
  • Special Activity/Experience in lieu of a party

A birthday celebration with friends and family, in any form, will be a special memory. Get as creative as you can for it!

Party Place Away from Home

Having birthday parties outside of the home is also an appealing option.

This might seem more normal for some who are not used to having in-home parties, while others might want to create a fun experience for kids who have otherwise been stuck inside for virtual learning for far too long.

The biggest benefit to having it at a kids party place or other venue is that you get to do activities that might not be possible at home (such as bowling, ice skating, and other family fun activities) and that you are likely less responsible for the overall party atmosphere/setup than you would be if held at home.

Many in the scientific community recommend outdoor gatherings whenever possible, to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Some good outdoor venue options include:

  • Parks
  • Playgrounds
  • Skate Parks
  • Farms
  • Beach
  • State Park or other hiking areas
  • Restaurants/locations with outdoor patios

Indoor Party Places for Birthdays during COVID

Indoor parties are certainly a possibility still in most cities, though options may be limited due to lack of space to adhere to proper social distancing.

It is also a great thing to support local businesses that might be struggling during this unprecedented time by having your party at their venue.

Some indoor party ideas during quarantine might include (and will certainly fluctuate based on location):

  • Restaurants that follow capacity limits and social distancing recommendations
  • Bowling Alleys or Indoor Entertainment place (check to ensure adherence to protocols)
  • Gymnastics/ Ninja gyms
  • Museums
  • Community centers

Renting a movie theater is also a likely possibility.

With the devastation of the in-person movie industry, many theaters are renting out entire theater rooms for as little as $100, which would make for both a fun and unique COVID birthday experience, as well as a potentially safer option since guests could spread way out from each other if they had the room all to themselves.

Many places still allow the birthday child to open presents and have birthday cake on site, however, make sure to check to most recent restrictions.

Planning a Bday Party during Lockdown

When planning a party during covid, here are some important things to consider and steps to take:

  1. Capacity Limits: It is essential to understand what the capacity limits are (how many people can attend) and how that differs from indoors to outdoors, as well as for certain types of businesses.
    • IMPORTANT: Remember, these capacity limits can change without warning, and can impact the guest list. This is one time not to invite more people than space allows in anticipation of people saying no!
    • If it is a child’s birthday, be sure to be open with them about the current situation and how things might change, including how it could result in the party being postponed if a very severe spike, quarantine, or other issue arises.

  2. When creating the guest list, consider if it will be friends and family, including parent drop off vs staying.

    If the birthday boy or girl is very young, you may want to invite fewer friends in order to allow parents to stay while staying in capacity limits.
  3. Clearly understand food/eating requirements if allowed, as well as how spacing and masks work in setting.
  4. Invite guests, add in an extra card or image if doing a text/evite that describes the COVID precautions. This both helps guests understand precautions ahead of time, but also helps families decide if the party is a good fit for them based on their current level of concerns or risk.
  5. Be sure to request that guests not attend if they are feeling sick, have been exposed to coronavirus, or if they are currently awaiting testing results for COVID 19.
  6. Consider a location and a time that does not require a full meal. Activities with small snacks and drinks available are perfect for mid-morning or mid-afternoon birthday parties.

Plan for a way for guests to politely decline and still be included in the festivities.

Remember, not everyone will feel comfortable attending a gathering even if you feel comfortable hosting one and ensure social distancing.

woman holding a cake slice with lit candly while in a virtual birthday party during with friends on a tablet as a covid birthday idea

Consider how they can still be a part of the celebration, especially for kids who might know about the party, but not be allowed to attend.

Providing a goody bag for them after the fact, or arranging for a time during the party for grandparents or other relatives to zoom in and be a part of the special occasion will go a long way in helping them feel respected in their decision and valued.

Other Considerations for pandemic party planning

Masks

Happy family with two small children by car wearing face masks.
  • Even if not required by the venue, consider asking all attendees to wear a mask during the party (except for when eating). This is a good, scientifically proven way to reduce spread if someone happens to be unknowingly contagious, and shows you care for their safety as well.
  • Kids are resilient and will still have a great time while wearing a mask.
  • Consider purchasing masks matching the party theme (resusable can be found for a little as $1 and disposable with characters can be found for even less.

    Additionally, consider purchasing a box or two of disposable masks to have on hand for guests who arrive without one or it gets wet/dirty)
woman sitting at table wearing a mask waiting for food with others spaced apart in the background at an outdoor party during covid

Necessary Equipment/Items

Just because a venue is open for parties, does not mean it is providing full access to all amenities as it did prior to 2020.

It is important to also double check what will be included, what is allowed, and what needs to be brought by individuals.

One example of this is an ice rink.

A favorite of kids year round, ice rinks are typically a great idea for a socially distanced party since skaters naturally remain a fair distance away from one another while on the ice.

However, each rink will vary based on what is and is not allowed at this time.

Some may allow the use of their party room, some may not. Others might not allow food to be consumed on the property.

One of the big differences we at Party + Bright have noticed is that most ice rinks we have encountered are no longer renting skates for parties (or free skates for that matter). This will certainly limit who will be able to attend.

Be sure to clearly disclose any requirements (such as bringing their own skates) in the invitation.

It is totally ok to have this type of party where not everyone may be able to attend, people understand that times are different and things like that are out of your control.

Party Prep

Party Bags

One way to help reduce cross exposure while at the party is to make individual party bags for each child or attendee, filled with everything they might need for the activities.

This might include:

  • Printed scavenger hunts
  • Printable hats or other fun crafts
  • A small pack of crayons
  • A pencil
  • Gluestick
  • Sticker sheet

Setup Ideas

Ensure there is plenty of seating and that whenever possible, chairs are placed 6 feet away from each other.

This may sound like a lot, but it actually provides plenty of space for guests who may decide to come but are uneasy about being close to others.

Seats placed in a living room or other setting are still in a comfortable conversation area despite being 6 feet apart.

If possible, have the eating area separate from the activities, or arrange it so that additional space can be provided for while masks are off and people are eating.

Encourage use of multiple rooms, and the outdoors when possible to help people spread out.

Additionally, ensure that facilities are clean prior to the party, and have hand sanitizer available for guest use as well.

Food/ Dessert Tables for Parties during Social Distancing

A party food table or decadent dessert table is also a highlight of a party. This doesn’t have to change during COVID, but there are safety precautions you can take with the food and drinks to help guests feel comfortable.

Consider using individual treat bags, boxes, or prepackaged food items to allow individuals to take what they would like while knowing that their food has not be handled by others.

Party tables can still be laid out as a dessert or other buffet, with items in individuals bags, or snack-size portions in paper/plastic cups, or other portioned containers.

This actually works very well for kids parties, as children are famous for touching and putting back food, or taking too much anyway!

It is easy to grab a cup of goldfish or a bag of chips rather than using a serving spoon or bare hands.

Drinks can also be packaged individually, whether using water bottles, juice boxes, soda, or pre-pouring specialty lemonades and cocktails.

Other tips for creating a food table include:

  • Serving appetizers rather family style serving dishes
  • Cupcakes instead of a large cake that needs to be cut and handed out
  • Cupcakes packaged inside of plastic cups and covered with plastic wrap (great for transporting to an off-site party or for a favor on the way home)
  • Serving items on a stick
  • Purchasing or providing multiple small serving tongs that can be used (or used with a napkin if someone chooses)
  • Providing toothpicks and other food picks to allow for guest to spear individual items
  • Use disposable dinnerware, cups and utensils. There are some very cute options, including disposable items that look similar to nice tableware. It is more hygienic for the people cleaning up.

Pro Tip: Put candles to be blown out on an individual portion, like a cupcake, or get the birthday girl or boy their own mini cake.

Having someone blow out candles on top of a community cake is not a good idea right now—and might make guests uncomfortable or pass on having cake!

Kids Party Activities

Just because we are social distancing or having smaller get-togethers, doesn’t mean the fun has to stop!

Here are some ideas for activities that are more suitable for the time we are in:

Scavenger hunts: Give each individual child or family unit a clipboard with their own form to track items they see.

You can make it tailored to the theme of the party, or do something around the neighborhood.

Virtual Guest Visits: Princesses and other party entertainers are also a highlight of a kid’s parties and since COVID has drastically reduced work opportunities for these entertainers in person, many have transitioned to offering virtual experiences, and often at a discount since there is no travel time needed!

Here are some virtual visits that are fun for both kids and adults!

  1. Princess Story/Song Time
  2. Magicians
  3. Dance Classes (how fun would a virtual hip hop lesson be for a TikTok Party)
  4. Karate Lessons
  5. Paint Parties (great adult option!)

Stage mini games in a carnival like setup. Rather than having all children do the same activity at the same time, you can spread them out around a backyard or venue and they can rotate through activities.

Give guests their own “equipment”. You could plan different activities that utilize certain equipment, such as a frisbee or bean bags, and give each guest their own (it can also double as a party favor). Then they can take their equipment with them from game to game, and use them for different tasks, such as knocking down pins, hitting a target, playing cornhole or lawn tic-tac-toe.

Though times are different, these birthday party ideas will help to ensure a party that is both fun and practical during this strange time in history.

A little creativity goes a long way when planning a birthday parties nowadays!

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