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Our favorite virtual party ideas and online activities to help ease the quarantine blues.
For some of us, a reason to cozy up at home and indulge in solitary behavior is a gift sent straight from heaven. For those social butterflies out there? The social distancing struggle due to the COVID-19 coronavirus is seriously real, but that’s where a virtual party can help.
If you and your friends are the types to gravitate toward each other more often than not, then the social withdrawal is probably making you antsy right about now. But hey, there’s some good news! We have a bunch of virtual party ideas, games and online activities, so you and your pals can socialize during self-isolation. Gather the troops on a group video chat for a virtual happy hour and fight the cabin fever with some online quality time!
Decide on a recipe, a cuisine, or just eat some food and hang out via video chat on a platform like Zoom or Google Hangouts! It can be as organized—hello, good china and crystal—or as improvised as you’d like. If you and your friends aren’t in the mood to cook something elaborate, check out DoorDash or UberEats and support a local restaurant instead!
Remember that time you spent a week meandering through the South of France? What better way to reminisce on those glorious, carefree days than to share your stories with your pals? Invite your friends to gather their favorite photos of a past vacation they went on, and take turns presenting them to one another. Who knows, it could inspire you to start planning a group trip for the future.
Get your friends to dress in their finest party attire and have a virtual cocktail party! Send out cute invitations to make it official, either online or by mail if you’re feeling crafty—you could even include a Quarantini recipe! Go the extra mile and create a playlist you can all sync up to, upload cool Zoom background images, or even hire a bartender and do a virtual mixology workshop to kickstart the drinking festivities!
If you and your friends are wine enthusiasts, purchase a few bottles from the same regions and compare tasting notes together over Skype or FaceTime. From Bordeaux to Coonawarra, go on a drunken journey together! Make it as educational or silly as you’d like, experimenting with sommelier terms like “autolytic” and “typicity.” Cheers!
You can easily play classic party games like charades or Pictionary without being in the same room. Just set up a group video chat and you’re ready to go! Whether you generate your own downloadable cards for games to play on Zoom or try the built-in versions on the Houseparty app, these timeless favorites are great for any group of family and friends.
Just because we’re self-isolating doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate the birthdays and anniversaries that are happening! Have a cake delivered, sing happy birthday, and give them the love they deserve with a virtual birthday party. You could even do something as quirky as hiring an Elvis impersonator to virtually perform for your grandparent’s anniversary, or get a clown or magician to perform digitally for a kid’s virtual birthday party! Check out this list of vendors offering virtual services nationwide—the possibilities are endless.
Watch a movie together, separately! Netflix Party makes it a breeze to synchronize, and even provides a group chat platform for those peanut gallery comments that heighten the group film-watching experience. Don’t forget the popcorn!
Who hasn’t ended up in some strange corner of YouTube at some point or another? Extreme sports, fail blogs, cats, DIY tutorials—make it a watch party and explore YouTube together. For a little help synchronizing, use Sync-Video, a site that allows you to sync up what you’re watching. It also provides a chat room platform so you can discuss while you watch.
So you’ve always wanted to learn how to breakdance? Paint like Bob Ross? Play the guitar? Go for it! Now is the perfect time to learn. Sure, you can do it on your own, but how fun would it be to practice Japanese with your friends? Decide on a topic and find an online class you can do together. Udemy is a great place to browse the seemingly infinite options!
Do you miss meeting your friends for an early morning Zumba class, then stuffing your faces with a well-deserved brunch right after? Same. It can be tough to motivate yourself to workout at home, but a little support can go a long way. Team up with your usual gym buds and get your pump on with some online classes or apps. My Fitness Pal and Sworkit have built-in friend updates so you can keep up with each other’s progress. When you’re done with the sweat, pull up the video chat and catch up over homemade smoothies!
Create a communal playlist and get moving! It’s fun, excellent exercise, and can even help release some stress you may be feeling lately. You could even decide on a theme, making it a disco dance-off or a 90s greatest hits throwback! Bonus: We've put together this 55 Best Dance Songs to Add to Your Virtual Party Playlist.
If the dance party was a hit, why not take it up a notch? Create a series of dance moves to one of your favorite bangers, record yourself, and nominate a friend to imitate it! Or, find a music video (the more over the top, the better) and try to recreate it by impersonating the singer. You could even compare each other’s renditions during that cocktail party you’re planning, and make it a contest! If nothing else, it’ll be worth the guaranteed chuckle.
You definitely don’t need to be in the same room to keep the book club going strong! Get through that reading list and have weekly meetings virtually. Don’t forget the mandatory wine and cheese.
Lock your doors, close your blinds, and shut the lights. Get ready for a total spook-fest. Everyone has a reserve of spooky campfire stories to tell, so light a candle and share your stories over a group video chat. Word of advice: if you’re the squeamish type, load up a comedy to watch afterward. It’ll help shake off the fright that will undoubtedly linger when you finish the call.
You can choose a project to do together, or go ahead and venture into separate crafts - just keep the video chat rolling while you create. Macrame, scrapbooking, drawing, take your pick. Set a date to be finished by so you can present your final products to each other, or even mail them out as gifts for one another!
You don’t need to be on stage to have a live audience! For all of the karaoke enthusiasts out there, you can sing and perform together all you’d like thanks to the magic of cyberspace. Sync up using YouTube, or use a website dedicated to online karaoke like Sing Snap, and host a virtual karaoke party. You can even amp up your performance and do it in costume or drag!
Go full-on Halloween, or pick a theme and throw a virtual costume party! Construct something wacky or scary and make it a contest, voting on whose costume is best.
Take this opportunity to revisit an old hobby or skill, and show it off to your friends! There doesn’t even have to be a winner - just share whatever zany tricks, operatic vocal chords, or plate spinning spectacles you might have under your sleeve. You might be surprised at what your friends can do!
Start up a shared Google Doc and take turns writing one sentence at a time, adding on to the story as you go. The final results are usually hilarious, and who knows? Maybe you’ll end up collaborating on something that actually gets published!
Are you a master at baking bread? Wood carving? Yoga? Get your friends together and host a digital workshop exchange to teach each other a few new skills you’ve gained over the years. It’s a great inexpensive way to learn something new while hanging out with the people you love!
There are several options you can find online, but a creative way to play is to make your own trivia game, including inside jokes and personal facts among your circle. You could also make your own themed trivia, creating questions about a commonly loved series or film.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Get your friends on the video chat and start asking some bold questions!
Every time the laugh-track comes on? Take a sip! Every time Ross whines to Rachel? Take another. Sync up your Netflix accounts and watch something like Friends or The Office, and drink every time a quirky phrase or mannerism is repeated. You can decide on the rules as you go, adding on as you delve deeper into the show.
Ready to start plotting your world-wide takeover? Well now is as good of a time as any to start brainstorming! Collaborating with some of your favorite humans is an excellent way to get the ball rolling, and who knows? You could come up with something that could change your lives forever.
If you need your monthly fix of Scrabble, Risk, or Monopoly, you’re in luck! With sites like Pogo, you and your friends have access to a bunch of different multiplayer board games you can play together virtually. Not feeling the classics? Head over to Jackbox and purchase an inexpensive game pack you can play online with your pals. Take your pick and make a night of it.
If you and your friends enjoy a crisp craft beer every now and then, why not show your local breweries some love? Choose a brewery, pick up a variety pack, and host a virtual beer tasting! Go through the notes of several different styles of beers together, and compare each other’s favorites.
Feeling nostalgic lately? Pick an era you and your friends enjoy throwing back to, and make a night out of it! Whether it’s a journey back to the ’60s or ’90s, collaborate on a playlist, menu, and dress code, and have yourselves a funky throwback Zoom party. Want to take it up a notch? Book a cover band to perform virtually.
Go through your closet and decide which items you’re just not feeling anymore. Get your friends to do the same, and share each item together virtually to decide on who wants what! You can plan ahead and create separate piles for separate pals, based on what you think suits them best, or make it fun and bargain with one another if there’s a hot piece everyone wants. You can even mail out the selected items to one another after giving everything a good wash!
Who here has an old diary they have held on to for too long? If your friends are the journaling type, challenge them to find an old passage and share them with one another over a virtual reading. Whether it’s hilarious, heartfelt, or straight up embarrassing, make it a virtual event to bring each other a little closer together.
Show off some of your most eccentric, daring ensembles with a virtual fashion show party! Get each of your friends to choose three outfits and display your unique style to one another. This could be a great way to present those closet exchange pieces too!
Find virtual services and entertainers in the United States and Canada on The Bash for your virtual party.
About Brittany Barber
Brittany Barber, lover of books, dogs and romance, graduated from Bishop’s University with a Communications and Theatre degree. After spending some time working abroad in the theatre world, she now is a Toronto-based writer covering a range of lifestyle topics including wedding and event planning for The Bash, WeddingWire, 2life and Fluttr.
Published on 3/31/2020