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Party Planning Checklist
Looking for some virtual party ideas to stay connected with friends and family? At this stage in the COVID-19 pandemic, you've probably done your fair share of socializing on Zoom, Google Meet or FaceTime, so it's time to freshen up your online get togethers.
We have a bunch of virtual party ideas, games, entertainment and online activities, so you and your pals can socialize while social distancing. From a virtual game night and vacation slideshow to a murder mystery and astrology session, we've got tons of creative online party ideas to choose from. So, gather the troops on a group video chat for a fun-filled virtual happy hour and some online quality time!
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Here are some of our favorite virtual party ideas, games and online activities you can do together to socialize with friends and family from a distance.
1. Dinner Party
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 or as improvised as you’d like. If you and your friends aren’t in the mood to cook something elaborate, hire a caterer or check out DoorDash or UberEats and support a local restaurant instead!
2. Vacation Slideshow
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? For this virtual party idea, 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.
3. Cocktail Hour
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!
Photo: Kobby Mendez/Unsplash
4. Wine Tasting
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!
5. Classic Party Games
You can easily play classic party games like charades or Heads Up, without being in the same room. Just set up a group video call and you’re ready to go! Whether you generate your own downloadable cards for a game night on Zoom or try the built-in versions on the Houseparty app, these timeless favorites are great for any group of friends and family.
Just because we’re self-isolating doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate the birthdays and anniversaries that are happening! Send out party invites, 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 6,000 vendors offering virtual services nationwide—the possibilities are endless.
7. Virtual Murder Mystery Game
Turn your next virtual hang into a night of mystery-solving with a murder mystery game. The Bash offers plenty of mystery entertainment experts that can curate an excellent game for you and your guests. Bonus: Check out our guide for tips on how to throw a murder mystery party.
8. Movie Night
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!
9. Virtual Comedy Night
Gather your friends for an evening of laughs with a virtual viewing of a comedy show. The Bash has a variety of comedy acts to choose from, including stand-up comedians, roastmasters, and comedy magicians. Sure, y'all can stream something pre-recorded — but nothing beats the live interactions between a comedian and the audience (even if it is just over Zoom!).
10. Go Down a YouTube Hole, Together
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.
11. Take an Online Class
So you’ve always wanted to learn how to breakdance? Learn a new language? Play the guitar? Go for it! Now is the perfect time to learn. Decide on a topic and find an online class you can all do together. Udemy is a great place to browse the seemingly infinite options.
12. Work Out
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 work out 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.
13. Virtual Dance Party
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. Or better yet, check out our list of musicians who can perform for you virtually!
Bonus: For this online party idea, we've put together How to Throw a Bumpin' Virtual Dance Party and 55 Best Dance Songs to Add to Your Virtual Party Playlist.
14. Choreography Challenge
If the virtual 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.
15. Book Club
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.
16. Virtual Scavenger Hunt
If your friends and family are into games, why not experiment with a virtual scavenger hunt? First, decide on a leader. The leader will create a list of household items the other players have to find. Give the players 60 seconds to find each item. The first to bring their item to the screen wins 3 points. Anyone else who brings the item within 60 seconds gets 1 point. Create a scorecard to keep track of points, and play until you’ve exhausted your list!
Pro Tip: Choose a mix of easy and obscure items — this will help bump up the competition and keep players interested.
17. Spooky Stories
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.
18. Get Crafty
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!
Photo: Alice Dietrich/Unsplash
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!
20. Costume Party
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.
21. Talent Show
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!
22. Write a Short Story Together
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!
23. Share a Workshop
Are you a master at baking sourdough? 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!
24. Trivia Night
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.
25. Truth or Dare
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Get your friends on the video chat and start asking some bold questions!
26. Drinking Games with a Sitcom
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.
27. Create a Business Plan
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.
28. Play a Virtual Board Game
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.
Photo: Niko Virtanen license Creative Commons
29. Explore a Local Brewery
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.
30. Virtual Decade Party
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 make it even more epic? Book a cover band to perform virtually.
31. Go to the Theatre
If you haven't been able to see a live performance in a while, host a virtual evening of ~culture~ and stream a viewing of a play. Check out National Theatre at Home for an extensive array of shows to watch, from archive recordings to new performances.
32. Closet Exchange
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!
Photo: Vera Davidova/Unsplash
33. Make Face Masks Together
Plan with your friends to order colorful fabric and elastic, and share a face mask sewing tutorial online over Zoom. Even if you don’t know much about sewing, there are some easy DIY guidelines out there that make it a breeze to learn. If you get the hang of it, you could donate some to frontline workers, gift them to your family or even start an Etsy page and sell custom made masks!
34. Dear Diary
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.
35. Virtual Fashion Show
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!
36. Interactive Game Show
Get your family and friends together for a unique entertainment experience of participating in your very own game show. You can gather virtually to play personalized games (like trivia and jeopardy) with a live host! Check it out!
Photo: Jen Theodore/Unsplash
37. Psychic Reading
Have yourselves an evening of the occult with tarot cards and glimpses into the distant future. Maybe you have a deck yourself, maybe you haven’t dabbled at all. Either way, there’s something exciting about tapping into your inner witchy self. To take it up a notch, hire a Fortune Teller or tarot card expert for virtual party readings! Get spooky and spiritual on your next Zoom gathering, or even start planning for a virtual Halloween party.
38. Live Sports Viewing
Dig out those jerseys and foam fingers, and crack a cold one for a virtual watch party of your favorite sport! With some sports leagues resuming their season, check their schedules and start planning for a game viewing with fellow fans. Whether you’re into the NBA, NFL or NHL, save the date with your friends and cheer on your home team together. Don’t forget the chips and dip! Bonus: we've put together this guide to hosting a 2022 Super Bowl party along with some football-themed Zoom backgrounds.
39. Astrology Session
Come to appreciate the ancient study of astrology on your next virtual hangout. Learn about planetary patterns and cycles and read your respective monthly horoscopes on AstrologyZone. Thoughtfully written by renowned astrologer, Susan Miller, you’ll find insightful advice and encouragement on how to approach the opportunities and obstacles in front of you, giving you and your closest friends the chance to dig deeper into your hopes and dreams. If you really want to take it to the next level, you could even hire a certified astrologer for an expert reading.
Photo: Brittany Barber
40. Throwback ’90s Games
Remember MASH? Paper fortune tellers? Pogs? Dig out those old ’90s cult classics and share some weird childhood memories together. You’ll be shocked to see who still remembers how to rock the cradle with their bright yellow yo-yo. This could be a perfect activity for your virtual decade party if you’re going for the ’90s vibe!
41. Show and Tell
Get everyone to choose a meaningful, cool, useful, or zany object they love, and present it to one another just like y'all did back in elementary school. You'll be surprised at some of the things your guests decide to bring, and maybe even get some stellar recommendations on helpful products you could use around the house.
42. Paint with Bob Ross
Even if y'all aren't the most artistically inclined, throw on The Joy Of Painting and have a virtual painting sesh with your pals. There are literally hundreds of episodes to choose from (most of which are conveniently on YouTube), so grab your brushes and easels and see which of your friends can come closest to a Bob Ross original.
43. Or Play Skribbl Instead
If you don't have physical art supplies, don't worry. Y'all can still get creative and have fun with some visuals. Skribbl is basically an online platform that'll allow you to play pictionary, without needing a pen, paper, or even your camera. Just send your virtual party guests the link to your private game room and take turns drawing and guessing the secret prompts.
Photo: Jason Wilkins, caricaturist from Toronto.
44. Hire a Caricaturist
Invite a virtual caricaturist to draw portraits of your virtual guests. Watch them sketch each of you in real-time as you catch up and share a few laughs. And the best part: everyone will have a virtual party favor to download and keep.
45. Seasonal Celebrations
Is there a seasonal holiday on the horizon? Then use it as the theme for your virtual party. We've got lots of tips and tricks for all the upcoming holidays on the calendar including Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo.
Bonus: For more online party inspiration, check out these 12 Virtual Family Party Ideas to Keep in Touch and our virtual party ideas and tips. Plus, we've got more than 6,000 vendors in the United States and Canada providing online services for virtual events.
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 is now a freelance writer covering a range of lifestyle topics including event planning for The Bash, WeddingWire, 2life and Fluttr, and shopping for BuzzFeed and Narcity.