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Large social gatherings with loads of guests may be on hold, for now, but there are still plenty of ways to celebrate a birthday or special occasion. Here’s how to host a memorable party, even during a pandemic.

General guidelines

  • Limit your guest list.
  • When you send out the invite, remind guests to rather stay at home if they are feeling unwell or have been exposed to COVID-19 in the past two weeks.
  • Gently remind guests that masks are mandatory.
  • Minimise hand-to-hand contact where possible by avoiding buffets, open bowls of sweets or chips and other finger foods.
  • Consider cupcakes instead of a birthday cake. It’s safer to let the birthday child blow out their candles on their own cupcake, instead of a cake that will be shared with their guests.
  • While the safety protocols are essential, try to incorporate them into the event as seamlessly as possible. If your child is disappointed that they can’t invite all their friends, or have the party theme that they would have liked, focus on other details – such as décor and party games – to make the event extra-special.
  • Reduce numbers by asking parents to drop-and-go, and recommend that siblings stay at home.
  • For the lastest COVID-19 regulations and guidelines

House party

Determine whether you feel comfortable about inviting friends to your home, or if you would prefer to limit guests to immediate family members.

  • Enforce a strict “no mask, no entry” rule. But, why not provide guests with fun masks to wear? Buy sealed packs of funky masks with sequins or themed artwork for guests to put on as they arrive. Or let younger children (who arrive wearing a mask), decorate their own new blank mask as a party game.
  • Place bottles of sanitizer throughout the house and have disinfectant hand wipes on the table. You could also design labels for small bottles of hand sanitizer, and give one to each child as a party favour.
  • Instead of offering open bowls of crisps and sweets, provide each child with a labelled snack pack. It could contain closed packets of sweets and chips, and some bottled water for each child. Use paper plates and cups – also labelled – so that there is no risk of utensils being shared.
  • If possible, hold the celebration outside or in a well-ventilated space. Ideas include an outdoor cinema, or a camp out under the stars.
  • Younger children will love old-school games, such as “musical statues” that encourage social distancing without them even realising it.
  • Tweens will love making TikToks and selfies in a photo booth.

READ MORE: Party ideas for all ages and Indoor party ideas

Location, location

  • If you are meeting friends at a venue or a restaurant, first check whether they adhere to safety protocols. Is there sufficient space between tables? Will you be in close contact with other groups of people? Also find out if they have a limit on the number of people who can attend before sending out your invites.
  • Consider activity parties with minimal contact. Ideas include horse riding, acrobranching, or a surf lesson.
  • Again, ventilation is an important consideration when choosing a party venue. Better yet, host the party outdoors in a park or a field where guests can socially distance.
  • Build a birthday fort in the lounge, or outside in the garden. Decorate it with fairy lights or brightly coloured banting and enjoy a special picnic.
  • Set up a home spa – complete with face masks and funky nail polish.

Go virtual

An intimate party with only immediate family can still be memorable. Technology has made it possible to celebrate with friends and family around the world, via videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom.

  • Invite friends and family to take part in a virtual scavenger hunt. Supply guests with a list of items they need to find in their homes. The team with the most items wins.
  • Get the creative juices flowing with an online “juice and canvas” party. Guests meet online with a blank piece of paper and some art materials. You could even arrange vouchers for a meal delivery service, so that guests can enjoy a treat together while creating their masterpieces.
  • Ask friends to send video messages and edit them into a special birthday montage.

READ MORE: Party suppliers