25 January 2021 (updated)

Celebrating a COVID-19 Adult Birthday: Ideas and Inspiration

Everyone deserves to feel celebrated, especially around their birthday. However, in the middle of a pandemic, it can be hard to navigate how to safely and appropriately make that happen. Read on to find tips for having a safe and fun COVID-19 adult birthday party.

A Birthday Party in the Age of Coronavirus

One video that I'll always remember as defining 2020 is a man sitting in front of a birthday cake wearing a mask. His friends finish a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday," only for the camera to pan to 5 or 6 laptops to show the singers are actually on Zoom. As the song finishes, the camera pans back to the birthday boy, who then takes out a blowdryer to blow out the candles. It made me laugh at the time, but what a strange dystopian image.

If you're over 21, you probably won't be hitting the bar for a drink to celebrate your birthday this year. However, there are plenty of ways to make the day a fun, unique, birthday party like no other year. It's all about how you frame it.

COVID-19 Adult Birthday Etiquette

  1. Weigh your options. This year, it may be wiser and safer to opt for a smaller gathering rather than a large birthday bash. The safest option is keeping it to your immediate family. Be considerate to those in your life who are immune-compromised and vulnerable.
  2. Make sure to follow your state's guidelines for gathering. The laws are there to protect everyone.
  3. Let everyone know how many people are coming. It's okay if they're not comfortable attending.
  4. If guests are traveling out of state in the 2 weeks leading up to the party, it may be best to ask them not to come.
  5. Be as open and honest as possible with your guests. If you're not feeling well or even just feeling a little off, it's best to err on the side of caution and cancel. Encourage guests to check their temperature before coming and let you know if they're not feeling well.
  6. It may be worth asking your guests to wear masks as a precautionary measure and refrain from close contact activities like hugs, high fives, certain games. Have plenty of hand sanitizer readily available.
  7. Use disposable cups and flatware. Instead of an open dessert table, think about serving snacks that are individually wrapped like individual bags of chips and cookies.
  8. If weather permits, have the party outside to maximize airflow.

Ideas for COVID-19 Adult Birthday Party

Now that we have all that out of the way, here are some ways you CAN safely have a birthday celebration this year.

Birthday Party Games

Adult birthday party games: When you're having a party, group games are a great way to break the ice and get everyone involved. Just because we're maintaining a social distance doesn't mean we can't have some fun. It just means Twister may just not be the best idea this year. Some fun group games for adults with little to no contact between players include Signs, Charades, Pictionary, Taboo, and Psychiatrist.

Virtual party: Have a happy hour and game night over Zoom! Play Family Feud, Quiplash, Pictionary, or a trivia game featuring one of the birthday person's favorite topics. You could also try a virtual karaoke night!

Other Ideas for a Socially-distanced COVID-19 Adult Birthday

  • Take it outside: An outside party can help with keeping your guests safer and promotes distance between people. Set up your outside gathering with music, drinks, and string lights!
  • Deck it out with decorations: Sometimes setting the tone can be as simple as some fun and festive decorations. Even with a small group, having a party theme can make all the difference. Grab some balloons and pick a fun theme like "vintage Hollywood party" or "throwback" to the year the birthday person was born. Check out some of our other party theme ideas.
  • Have an outdoor movie night: Find an old, white bed sheet and a projector for an outdoor movie extravaganza! Make sure everyone has their own popcorn and drinks, and blankets if it gets cool at night. If the birthday person has a favorite movie, screen that! If you don't have a projector, set up a special event inside, complete with popcorn, drinks, candy, and blankets!
  • Order takeout from their favorite restaurant: Whether it's your favorite local restaurant or a chain, the birthday person is sure to feel loved with a full meal from their favorite spot!
  • Back to nature: Spending time in nature with your loved ones can be a breath of fresh air! Check out some local campsites or even set up in the backyard for some fantastic stargazing! Taking a hike is also a great way to spend some bonding time together and can be a great way to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Celebrating a COVID-19 Adult Birthday: The New Normal

It looks like most of us are going to have a birthday that looks a little different this year. However, we can adapt and find ways to care for and celebrate the ones we love while still being safe. If you have any other ideas for a COVID-19 adult birthday, let us know in the comments! And don't forget to share your moments and memories on FamilyApp!

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