Are you missing your friends? Longing for a get together to catch up with family? Wishing for someone to talk to besides your dog? Social distancing has been tough!! Even as grown-ups, we’re all realizing how much time we spend with our friends and family (that don’t live with us!). In most areas, it looks like we have a few more weeks of social distancing so let’s convert our “favorite” work tool into a weekend hangout.
Welcome to the world of Video Chat Happy Hours! Fire up your favorite chat option and get ready for the return to hanging out!
Tips for hosting (or attending) a Memorable Virtual Party:
- Send out invitations. Printed are extra special but you can also use digital invite formats and send through email. Include a mini-tutorial on how to use your chosen platform. Be sure to clearly point to the link they need to sign up through and explain the mute (sound and video) buttons so everyone knows where to find them and how to use them.
Fun Invitation idea: put your invite into a party snack box and have it delivered to your friend’s house. Order up one of our delicious choices and you can customize the gift card included with your invitation details. Shop here.
- Set it up for about one hour but leave time before and afterwards to help with newbies or hang out with that couple that’s always the last to leave the party.
- If you have the capability, hook up your laptop to a projector (or cast it to your TV) so you have a bigger screen to see everyone on. Consider the lighting (on you and the screen).
- Be the hostess with the mostest – engage everyone and give all your guests a chance to talk and participate. Some may be intimidated by the technology so help them along if you’re able.
- Be wary about using your work account – you do not want the boss watching reruns of your dance party on Monday. You may need to upgrade to a paid level so you have the tools and time limits needed for your party. In Zoom, the freebie level allows up to 100 people but only gives you 40 minutes. Most upgrades are month to month and not too expensive.
- Protect your security. By now you may have heard of Zoombombing – as we all transitioned to meetings via Zoom, the links got shared and uninvited guests started crashing meetings. To avoid this, set up a password protected Zoom, create a waiting room option and be very picky about who you hand the link out to. Do not post the link in a public forum and make sure your guests know not to share the link!
How to Plan the Party
Just like any party, planning is key to a fun evening. While it’s perfectly fine to just see each other, chat, and sip wine while you catch up it’s also fun to choose an easy theme – costumes, activities, or both. Think in terms of what people have in their homes already because they won’t be able to go shopping. Decorate your backdrop accordingly and pick a co-host to help you corral the troops. Here’s a few fun theme ideas:
Hawaiian Night. Dress the part and send everyone the recipe for a tropical beverage (opt for something with easy ingredients). Play some fun tropical music, take it outside around the firepit or by the lake and pretend you’re all on the beach.
Host a Cooking Night. Show off your newfound skills in the kitchen with a cooking demo. Pick a quick-to-cook dish like Shrimp Scampi or Shish-ka-bobs so you can all cook and eat “together”. Send the ingredients list and recipe to your friends ahead of time so they can cook along.
Sports Night. While we all wait (impatiently) for the return of sports, you and your crew can relive the best moments of your favorite teams. Cue up the championship game, wear your sports gear, and talk smack about the losing team. Don’t forget the snacks!!
Dance or Karaoke Party. This one’s a little more energetic but once you get everyone going, you’ll have a blast. Take song requests ahead of time so you can be prepared – fire up your Alexa but everyone has to post their video!
Game Night. Pick your group’s favorite game such as dice games like Farkle or Yahtzee or drawing games like Pictionary. You’ll need games that don’t require shared boards or cards. For the more adventurous, try the online versions of Cards Against Humanity, Scattergories, Heads Up, or HQ Trivia (on every night at 8:00 pm (CT)).
What’s in Your Purse (or Phone) Scavenger Hunt. We’ve all played a version of this at a baby or bridal shower . . . repurpose that list for your party (but don’t tell your guests). Make a list of common to rare to weird items that we find in our purse or odd ball photos/apps on our phones. Assign points to each item based on oddity. Run down the list – everyone has to share – and have everyone keep score of what they find. Whoever has the most points wins!
Crafty Party. Have you picked up a new hobby while you’ve been on lockdown? Share a lesson with the group or create group instructions so everyone can join in. Similar to the Sip & Paint parties, you could lead a group activity where everyone learns that new skill. Some other fun ideas: knitting or crocheting, quilting, or gardening.
Give everyone a 15-minute warning before the party ends – do an around the room goodbye with everyone getting a chance to sign off. Make sure to schedule the next party and pick a hostess before you all sign off!