While the arrival of the pandemic practically ruined everyone’s social life, you don’t realize how truly annoying the circumstances are until your birthday comes around. Ah yes, to celebrate another year of life despite not living your best life at the moment, how “terrific.” Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean your special day should go unnoticed, let alone forgotten. After all, you are still alive and well— that’s something to raise a glass to! Instead of mourning the loss of pre-pandemic birthday festivities, cheer yourself up by learning how to safely celebrate your quarantine birthday amid the Coronavirus.
Read on for 10 ways to safely celebrate a quarantine birthday.
10. Outdoor Picnic
Unless you’re living under a rock, quarantine transformed this year into the age of the picnics — there literally exists a group of people who set up luxury picnics for a living (thank you Tik Tok for that revelation). Instead of paying someone to set up a blanket and fake candles on the grass for you, do it yourself! Gather a few of your buddies and hit your local parks, beaches or backyard for a socially distanced-yet-festive dining experience.
Make this idea cheap and hassle-free by assigning each friend to bring a side dish or drink for your fabulous outdoor picnic. Additionally, pack along a deck of cards or a questionnaire game to add an extra sprinkle of amusement as you enjoy a delicious brunch on your special day.
9. PowerPoint Party
We know you don’t enjoy giving slideshow presentations to a bunch of disinterested peers during class, but these birthday presentations are sure to bring smiles and giggles to the celebratory atmosphere. Designate a slideshow theme for each friend to present in front of the birthday person. Slideshow themes can either highlight something interesting about the birthday person ranging from rankings of their funniest video moments, 10 reasons why they’re the best or even how you see them in five years. You can additionally focus on silly topics that’ll keep your friends on the floor laughing with ideas, such as the worst character development in a book or movie, best conspiracy theories to exist, astrological signs that would prevail in the Hunger Games or how a movie should’ve ended.
“This year for my birthday, my friends got together to present funny PowerPoints and it actually ended up being such a fun night,” Miami-Dade College sophomore Alexia Perez said. “We didn’t expect it to be such a hit, but now we’re planning another night like that because of how much we enjoyed it.”
The best part about slideshow presentations means you can either do this activity in person or keep it online! If Zoom classes taught us one thing, it’s that your presentation never gets canceled (boo for school, but yay for birthday celebration).
8. Perhaps Some Potluck
If your friends like to cook, consider yourself lucky—remember, some of our friends can only work a microwave—while considering potluck as an idea to celebrate a quarantine birthday. After choosing a theme (some silly examples: pink-colored food, sweets only, meals made with only seven ingredients) or cuisine, ask your friends to bring a dish to share among each other. That way, everyone contributes to the “potluck.” Of course, feel free to keep these food festivities online by meeting virtually; after all, you’ll need fully functioning taste buds for this birthday idea, if you know what I mean.
7. Drive-By Birthday Parade
If you’ve ever wanted to feel like the focus of a parade, now comes your chance. Instead of hosting a gathering inside your home, keep it in your driveway with a mini drive-by parade! Organize a section in front of your home where your pals can pull up to give you the ultimate quarantine birthday wishes from their car.
“I wasn’t expecting anything for my birthday this year due to Covid, but then I woke up to all my friends driving by my house to celebrate my birthday,” Florida International University senior Andres Jimenez said. “It felt so heartwarming that they all showed up like that for me.”
This form of celebration works perfectly to easily exchange a few smiles and even some gifts. Don’t forget to have your camera ready— you’re not going to want to forget your Ferris Bueller moment where you received your very own parade.
6. Virtual Netflix Party
Let’s face it, the whole Netflix and chill situation may seem too close for comfort during the Coronavirus. However, thanks to the Netflix Party extension, you can simultaneously watch Netflix titles with multiple viewers. While only one person can manage the Netflix control settings (hey, let birthday person do this job), the rest of your fellow spectators can freely enter the chat room for discussion — watch out for plot spoilers though! Is that movie or show you wanted to watch not on Netflix? Other streaming sites such as Disney+ and Amazon added a similar “watch party” extension to their websites as well, adding more options for the virtual movie night.
5. Signature Drinks, but Make It Safe
Ever felt like a certain drink perfectly encapsulates you as a person? Gather a small group of friends and arrange for each member, yourself included, to prepare and serve their signature drinks to one another. You can make this activity extra cute by giving each cocktail a silly name inspired by the person who created it.
Perhaps you didn’t get to celebrate your 21st birthday like you dreamed about. Well don’t feel shy to hop on this boozy birthday trend! Seriously, what better way to celebrate your day than by enjoying a few pals and a whole lot of fancy liquor? Answer: not available. So, pack that hand sanitizer and triple sec because you’re gonna need it for this type of party. Finally, don’t hold back from enjoying too many quarantinis (ba-dum-tsss, see what I did there).
4. Into the Woods… or Backyard
Nature can bring serenity to the soul, but it can also serve as the place to enjoy a little excitement with your pals while socially distant. With the open air and limited crowd, make the outdoors a temporary quarantine birthday getaway with the help of some party favors.
“My friends and I like to go into the woods near my backyard in Pennsylvania where we play music,” University of Florida junior Lexxy Band said. “We can stay out there for hours just having fun or celebrating someone’s birthday.”
Okay, so you might not live near the forests of Pennsylvania, but feel free to open your inner birthday chakra by simply gathering with a few friends in your backyard. A little music can help summon the celebratory vibes. Nevertheless, moving this activity virtually can work too.
3. Charades Anyone?
While most people don’t automatically suggest charades as the go-to party game, don’t you dare sleep on this classic form of entertainment. I mean, why pass up the birthday gift of watching your friends embarrass themselves? Besides, you also can give your buddies a special performance act either virtually or in-person while socially distant. Despite what topics you choose, charades guarantees a birthday celebration full of chuckles and memories to reminisce about one day.
2. Scavenger Hunt
Alright, this idea requires a few creative minds to make it work safely and correctly. But seriously, what sounds better than a quarantine birthday scavenger hunt where you discover little trinkets your friends hid for you around your home? If you’re adventurous, you’re probably nodding your head right now.
“I had friends and family hide little items around my house for me to find on the day of my birthday,” University of Miami junior Ariana Gomez said. “The whole ordeal was a memorable and creative way to celebrate my birthday during the pandemic.”
Set up a time for your friends to make a no-contact delivery where they’ll each hide something in an area for you to locate— this area could be your house, backyard, a park or a small portion of your town. Once they finish concealing their items, you’ll receive a list that entails hints about the goodies to explore. Remember to stay safe by avoiding excessively touching surfaces. Tip: use a Ziplock bag to enclose your items so they remain germ-free during the hunt. And don’t forget to wear your mask!
1. Five-Course Meal City Tour
Nothing says “I’m celebrating a new year of life” more than enjoying a birthday feast with all your favorite meals, especially when you can get five dishes from five different restaurants in one day. Experience the five-course meal you’ve always desired by driving around town to enjoy a hors d’oeuvre, appetizer, salad (or swap this one for a delicious drink because screw the calories on your birthday), main course and dessert — and yes, I really did research what a five-course meal entails. On the plus side, you can score free food by researching restaurants in your area that give special deals to people on their birthday! Dinner and a show on the road? Say less.