Planning a pandemic party

by | Apr 15, 2021

Everyone has had enough of isolation. And there’s no need to go to the other extreme, but if you are careful, you can host a small party. Educator Kerry McArthur has some suggestions.

The intense isolation and social avoidance that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought has created a year where we have been left alone and unable to celebrate the special moments in our lives. 

Even with COVID not going away anytime soon, we are still in the position where we can plan events and small gatherings while maintaining safety. The big question is how to do this and protect your family.

Your main priority should always be the health of your family and your guests and with this will come the need to prepare and ready for some eventualities.


  • Don’t tell your little one about the party too early. Only tell them a few days beforehand just in case you need to cancel suddenly. This will minimise the disappointment.
  • Be thoughtful about who you invite. Ask yourself how well you know them – are they compliant with regards to COVID-19 protocols? Will they take exception to you insisting on certain controls? Once you have your guest list, stick to it, as the people you invite will directly affect the safety of your event.
  • Limit your group size to less than 20. If you are planning tables, you are then able to keep the groups down to four per table, which will allow for social distancing.
  • Communicate your expectations with regards to pre-screening, masks and social distancing. By doing this you will limit any awkwardness on the day.
  • Avoid pool parties, as these encourage close contact, lots of shouting and no masks.
  • Plan a party that is outdoors if possible, or a very well-ventilated indoor space.

During the party

  • Make sure that you have extra masks available for those who didn’t bring one, and for the inevitable demise of at least one when the kids are playing.
  • Use single use paper towels for your bathrooms.
  • All containers, plates or cups should be disposable: this will limit your contact when cleaning up.
  • Make hand sanitiser and wipes available all over the party to encourage frequent use.
  • Provide each child with their own box or packet of goodies to avoid group containers being used by everyone.

Some party ideas

The traditional birthday party involving games, jumping castles or swimming in the summer may not be possible over this period. We need to get a lot more clever with our ideas, so try a few of these.

  • Scavenger hunts – space the questions or items out to allow for minimal mixing.
  • Picnics – you can space out blankets or areas to ensure social distancing.
  • An outdoors movie (before it gets too chilly) with blankets or individual bean bags.
  • Arts and craft parties where each child is given a different kit to work with.
  • The zoo or a park can ensure social distancing in a relatively safe and fun environment.

You may need to consider not hosting an in-person party but rather a virtual option. This is the perfect solution to ensure complete COVID-19 compliance. A few things to make a virtual party a lot more fun could be:

  • Send pre-packaged party goodies, sweets and cupcakes to the attendees with the intention that they open it during the party.
  • Let your child host the party – allow them to be in charge of muting people, changing backgrounds, sharing the screen, etc. This gives your child a semblance of control and enjoyment.
  • Play games with the virtual participants. This could be in the form of charades, Pictionary, or quiz games for slightly older children.
  • Give each participant a craft box that can then be opened and completed together while on the video chat party.

While the main consideration to keep in mind is safety, and all your plans should centre around this, keeping your family healthy doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fun.