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10 Quarantine Birthday Party Ideas (and Gifts!) for All Ages

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For many, birthdays are a time for celebration with loved ones. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has limited a lot of typical birthday options that take place in-person.

Luckily, there are things you can do to celebrate, even while social distancing. Sometimes when you have to get a little extra creative, results can be better than anticipated. Who knows? You might even have one of your favorite birthdays while in quarantine!

We asked our Mighty community to share their suggestions for celebrating a birthday during the COVID-19 pandemic. We compiled their answers below — and added a few gift suggestions of our own!

If birthdays are difficult for you in non-pandemic times, you’re not alone. Below, we’ve included some stories you might find relatable.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

1. Hop on a Video Call

By now, we’ve all become familiar with video calling services like Zoom, BlueJeans, FaceTime, HouseParty and Facebook Chat. Find the one that works best for you and plan a virtual party!

“My family and I used Zoom to video chat and sing my cousin a happy birthday. Even my grandmother joined even though she isn’t too tech savvy.” — Yoeli R.

“For my son’s 6th birthday, we drove around to his friends’ houses and dropped off cake and activity/goodie bags on their porches. Then that afternoon, the kids did a group Skype together to virtually celebrate.” — Amanda K.

2. Organize a ‘Birthday Parade’

Just because you can’t spend time with other people at close distances doesn’t mean you can’t participate in a car parade! Get a group together and decorate your cars to celebrate a loved one’s birthday. This can be a great activity for kiddos who want to see their friends (from a distance of course!).

“We did a drive by birthday — set up a timeframe via Evite and had cars drive through with decorated cars, signs and music. Both of my kids have had their birthdays during COVID-19 and they did a joint drive-by birthday party and loved it.” — Megan B.

Go big or go home! My brother did this for my niece’s birthday parade a few weeks ago.” — Katie L.

truck bed with big letters spelling out "Layla"
Submitted by Katie L.

3. Have a Backyard Campout With People You’re Quarantining With

Outdoor activities like camping aren’t super feasible right now, but if you have a backyard, make the most of it with an outdoor fire pit — complete with s’mores. If you live in an apartment or condo, try pitching a tent in your living room (a.k.a. the great indoors!).

Me and my son both had birthdays in quarantine so we had a little fire with roast marshmallows and we sat out under the stars for ages. It was nice.” — Jessica A.

backyard campdfire
Submitted by Jessica A.
kids sitting around campfire
Submitted by Jessica A.

4. Raise Money for Your Favorite Mental Health Nonprofit

It’s no secret that in the midst of COVID-19, folks have been struggling more than ever with their mental health. For those who want to give back to others on their birthdays, starting a fundraiser is a wonderful idea. If you want to give your loved one a tangible gift, To Write Love on Her Arms has a shop full of hopeful merchandise for anyone battling mental illness. Check out one of their shirts below.

“On my birthday in quarantine, I would ask my loved ones to donate to a mental health nonprofit in my honor.” — Sarah E.


5. Ask Loved Ones to Send Pictures of What They’re Doing

Asking folks to be part of your birthday party can feel difficult sometimes! If you’re shy about throwing a party for yourself, you could try simply asking people to send photos of themselves on your special day. It’s a great way and easy way to feel the love.

“I emailed friends and family and asked, at some point during my birthday, for them to send a picture from their day — no need to make it a “special” picture — just a pic from a moment in their day, as a way to spend some part of the day together. It was an experiment and it was so much fun. All day long I got fun and funny pics from all kinds of people. Now that my birthday is over, I’ve been thinking of getting all the pics printed and putting them up as a kind of ‘picture quilt’ to remember the day and the people I shared it with.” — Elizabeth H.

6. Plan a Social Distancing ‘Scavenger Hunt’

Hosting a virtual or social distancing scavenger hunt can be a fun way to celebrate your birthday while in quarantine — especially if you have kids! For ideas, check out this free quarantine scavenger hunt guide.

I hosted a three hour drop in virtual party with a scavenger hunt (kid-friendly), an online game and ‘corona confessions.’ Around 20 of my friends were able to make the party — some of them I have not seen in over a year. I laughed more than I have in a long time!” — Dana C.

“Friends and family created a ‘treasure hunt’ for me to scavenge for my gifts. They had balloons and wrapped presents at each stop. They placed the map in my mailbox.” — Heidi M.

scavenger hunt card
Submitted by Heidi M.

7. Order a Subscription Box

When you can’t celebrate in person, showing someone you care with a gift can mean a lot. Order a subscription box full of self-care goodies for your loved one stuck inside on their birthday. For ideas, check out this list of subscription boxes people in our community love.

8. Play a ‘Prank’ on Your Loved One

Nothing says “Happy Birthday!” like a good old-fashioned prank. Show your loved one you care April Fool’s style (but please, don’t play pranks relating to COVID-19). Decorating someone’s lawn with funny gnomes or stealthily placing a whoopie cushion can be a surefire way to make your loved one laugh on their birthday.

“However old they are, get that many goofy lawn ornaments (flamingos, pinwheels, whatever) and put them all over their yard in the middle of the night. They’ll have fun guessing who it was and it will be hilarious for everyone involved. All done with love, of course.” — Renee F.

9. Decorate Your Home for a Party

Even if you’re just hopping on Zoom for a call, you can still decorate your immediate surroundings. Order balloons and streamers online and go to town! Sometimes being in a festive environment can get you in a festive mood.

“Decorated the dining room with balloons and streamers and made a birthday sign. Also, set up a family Zoom and a friend Zoom.” — Jen J.

decorated living room

10. Try Out Jackbox on Video Calls

Jackbox Games are multiplayer games you can play while on video calls with your friends and family. In order to play, only one person has to own the party pack, but you can have between four and 10 players. Learn how to play here.

“Jackbox! It’s a great party game, even when playing virtually, and all you need is a phone. Plus you’ll find out which of your friends think they’re funny, and which are actually funny.” — Ashley K.

How are you celebrating your quarantine birthday? Let us know in the comments below. 

Originally published: May 13, 2020
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