How can I host a memorable lockdown birthday party?
There are plenty of cheap, extravagant, or intimate lockdown birthday party ideas that are sure to make your, or your loved ones big day one to remember!
Lockdown and restrictions may be keeping us firmly indoors and apart once again, but that doesn’t mean celebrations have to cease! People who have family or friends with birthdays in February or March (and potentially even early April) may need inspiration for birthday party ideas during the lockdown. Well, you’re in luck! We’ve become seasoned pros at celebrating at a distance over these last 12 months.
Whether you’re looking for ideas to entertain your immediate household or to make someone feel special from afar, we’ve collected a huge range of tried and tested lockdown birthday party ideas that are sure to delight you and your guests. We have included different suggestions to suit all manner of budgets and age groups, too!
Read on for information on what to consider when planning an online virtual party, fun ideas for what you can do during the party, and how to make staying at home with just your immediate household into an incredibly fun event for all!
Host a virtual birthday party – suitable for both children and adults!
Before you can host the online birthday party of a lifetime, there is some work to do first, to ensure it is smooth sailing from the very start. Read on for things to consider before sending out those invites to your nearest (figuratively speaking) and dearest!
1. Choose a virtual party app or meeting platform.
Make sure you choose a good virtual party app. We’ve all had at least one bad experience using a video call app, from struggling to log in, audio and microphone issues, to losing connection halfway through. If you want your virtual birthday party to be a total success instead of a snooze fest, choosing the right video call app is key.
The most important things to look out for would be the price, time limitations, and functionality of the app. Luckily, most apps offer free versions for video calling, but they may come with other costs such as how long you can connect for. If you have a time limit, factor that into your plans.
It’s important to choose an app that is available on desktop, Google Play, and the App Store, to make sure all your guests can easily gain access and no one is excluded. Also, you may want to consider whether you would like the option to share your screen with your guests for that knockout virtual game you’ve devised. Or perhaps you’d like to record the events as a keepsake or to share it with someone who couldn’t make it. Make sure the app you choose offers these options.
Importantly, don’t forget to let your guests know what platform you’re using in advance so they can download it, create an account and get used to how it works before the event starts. Speaking from personal experience, my Christmas Turkey had gone a little cold by the time the whole family made it online due to technical issues!
Getting a bunch of people together online isn’t a similar experience to getting them together at the pub or in your living room. Conversation doesn’t flow as naturally, no break-out groups can form and people may not have much to say since we’ve all pretty much been indoors for the past year. Help keep the energy up by having a few ideas up your sleeve and give your attendees something to do.
Keep on reading for fun, interactive ideas you can incorporate into your virtual birthday party, regardless of age!
2. Make sure everyone gets a slice of cake.
When trying to make a virtual birthday celebration a success, try to stick to traditions that you’d normally expect on a birthday. Reminding everyone of normality gives them hope that things will eventually get easier, and everyone loves nostalgia for the good ol’ days.
For example, just because you’re not physically together doesn’t mean you can’t share a slice of birthday cake simultaneously – why not arrange for some birthday cupcakes to send to the party guests in advance? When it’s cake time don’t forget to add some candles to your slice, so everyone can sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to you before you can all enjoy your cake together.
Contact one of our cake makers to get something fancy!
3. Don’t forget your party essentials.
You could also ensure that cards, presents, and other birthday party supplies are sent through the mail and opened together as a group. Arrange it so everyone attending has party delights, such as a party hat to wear during the call and perhaps some birthday balloons or party poppers to play with for a “blast to the past” vibe.
To help you on your way to planning the most lit lockdown birthday party, we also have two lists for you. Filled with Zoom birthday party ideas, each list is tailored for a group of adults or children of all ages.
Virtual Party Ideas for Adults:
● Create a quiz that is entirely themed around the birthday girl or boy. Make sure to keep it as embarrassing, funny, and factual to suit the audience as well as the recipient – it might be best to avoid those “dirty nickname” questions or their “silliest drunken stories” if the parents are around!
● Take part in a digital murder mystery! A quick Google search will reveal many ready-to-play versions online or you could spend a little dosh and book either an actor or a company to host it for you. If you’re a creative type and have time on your hands, you could go all out and make your own that is specific to your clique!
● Unleash your inner diva with a lockdown karaoke party. Similarly, find read-made packages online or spend some time composing a DIY setlist of just the special person’s favourite tunes!
● No adult celebration list is complete without a good old drinking game. The best ones to play online are “Never Have I Ever”, “Truth or Dare” or “Cards Against Humanity”, but I’m sure you could rustle up something that suits your group’s interests and hobbies! Perhaps you can take a sip every time your funny friend cracks a terrible joke or every time Grandpa falls asleep?
Virtual Birthday Party Ideas for Kids
● Scavenger hunts are an excellent way to keep the kids’ attention whilst allowing them to burn off some energy! It’s a fabulous way to include younger children in the festivities. Get them to collect items around the house under a time limit. Things to include in the search: something beginning with the letter “L”, something that’s spotty, something with a picture of the Queen on it, or an item of clothing that they have to be wearing before it can be counted. Another great idea is for the kids to go all out and collect as many objects of one or more colour to build the biggest floor rainbow that they can!
● Go back to basics with a puppet show! You could make elaborate homemade characters that give you something to do with all of this downtime or keep it simple with Googly eyes and one of those unpaired tatty socks that are stashed in a drawer! Readymade puppets are also available to purchase or you could even use existing children’s toys to act out a play – they may even carry the story on themselves during future playtimes!
● How about something to involve the grandparents or family members that the children haven’t been able to see as much as they are used to? A lovely virtual bedtime story will bring together relatives in an intimate and lowkey manner. It extends the birthday celebrations a little bit longer, whilst giving the kids a reason to get off to bed early! Consider including children from the extended family to simulate a huge family sleepover! The parents could even finish up the call together after the little darlings have nodded off with a glass or two of wine! You will need a good book and to decide whether the camera needs to be focused on the reader or on the book itself.
Stay-at-home household party ideas
Not everyone will have to celebrate their birthday at a distance, depending on their living arrangements. However, even though it is lovely that you have people to be around, this can also still be problematic for different reasons. You may have been cooped up together in the same surroundings and space for a very long time, so the task of somehow making this one day stand out from all of the rest may be quite daunting.
It doesn’t have to be such a mammoth challenge though; here are some indoor birthday party ideas for ensuring that the activities, surroundings, and communications throughout the birthday sets the whole day apart from the others!
1. Host a family (or household) fancy dress party.
Go all out with a family fancy dress-up event and get some great pictures in the process! (This is also something you can do over a virtual party!). You could make it a whole day event by creating your own fancy dress items using spare boxes, paper mâché, and other items found around the house. Alternatively, you could purchase or hire your outfits – take a look at some of our fancy dress suppliers for inspiration!
2. Pick a birthday theme and decorate accordingly.
Decorations are more important now than ever! Spending so much time in the same space for months on end can really affect morale and mental health, so any excuse to switch it up and make it look even just a little bit less like home can make a huge difference. Want to re-live the 90s or make your living room into a real-life mermaid land? The possibilities are endless!
Once you’ve picked your theme, you will need to acquire all the decorations needed to make your vision come true. Check our list of event decorators to see what they could do for your big day. And don’t forget the balloons!
3. Decorate the exterior of your house.
Just because we are stuck indoors, doesn’t mean you can’t make it known to every passer-by that it’s your birthday!
Birthday banners can cover a big area with minimal effort, therefore making those familiar surroundings look noticeably different, and they can be kept as a keepsake! Consider adding some to the outside of the house as that may make your neighbours smile and remind local people to send some regards your way, too!
4. Cake, cake, cake, cake!
You heard it here first: cake is key to surviving Covid restrictions! You can get a specially made, and beautifully decorated cake delivered right to your door. Make sure the cake you order is big enough for everyone in your household to enjoy a piece, and maybe have enough leftovers for the next day. After all, who doesn’t love a nice piece of birthday cake for breakfast?!
5. Collate birthday messages for your loved one.
A simple WhatsApp or Facebook message can go a long way to get some well-wishes from those who may not be inclined to send a card or gift. You could buy a large novelty card to handwrite all the messages you receive, or you could ask them to send a voice note or video to convey their wishes themselves.
With your daily exercise, perhaps you could pop signs up along your route for your loved one to see. You could even ask for some extra attention from strangers by popping up a sign asking passers-by to beep their horn!
Imagine the excitement in your loved one’s face, once they realise all this fuss is to celebrate them! Something this thoughtful will definitely be appreciated and remembered for years to come.
Time to get to work
And that is your lockdown birthday party sorted – time to start planning! Whether you are planning this quarantine party for you or someone else, it’s important to remember that just being able to see your friends and family on your birthday (albeit remotely) is a privilege.
Try not to be thrown off by any audio or video difficulties and instead just focus on keeping the momentum of the party going. And if you are lucky enough to be able to celebrate with your household, make the most of it!
For some of us, this will be the second birthday spent in lockdown but either way, celebrating your birthday virtually is definitely a tale worth telling your future grandkids! All we can ever do is patiently wait for the day when we will be able to properly celebrate birthdays with our loved ones in the same room.
Until then, keep practicing the ‘Happy Birthday’ tune while washing your hands!