How to Celebrate a Socially Distant Birthday Party

Graphic via Nadia_Bormotova/Ekaterina Pushina/iStock/Getty Images Plus

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, finding safe ways to celebrate special events like birthdays can provide a boost for mental health. Whether you’re celebrating a kid or a kid at heart, planning a socially distant birthday party is a way to enjoy some camaraderie and honor the most important milestones in our lives.

For Kids

Younger partygoers may be more difficult to corral than adults who have a better understanding of social-distancing guidelines. It’s a good idea to host kids’ parties outdoors.

Art Far Apart: Use the sidewalk or driveway as a canvas and have each child and parent spread out. Provide trays of supplies such as chalk or washable paint and encourage kids to interact with sing-along songs and games.

Driveway Performance: Many kid-friendly entertainers who made a living with special appearances at schools, libraries and other family events have modified their performances to accommodate small, private crowds. Look into musicians, magicians and other kid-friendly entertainers in the Frederick County area who might set up in your yard or driveway while guests lounge on blankets and chairs from a comfortable distance from the performer.

Birthday Parade: If getting together isn’t practical, you can still make a little one’s day special by hosting a drive-by parade. Allow the birthday boy or girl to dress up in his or her birthday best and create a throne to sit on while watching friends and family drive by and wave from cars decorated with streamers and balloons. If you live in a smaller community, check with your town’s police or fire station. Ask if members of the police or fire team are willing to get in on the fun with a guest drive-by appearance.

For Adults

Like kids, many adults are simply craving personal interaction. Even the simplest of gatherings can make a birthday feel special.

Wine Tasting: Set up a series of seating areas around the backyard where same household groups can gather. Use disposable shot glasses to serve flights of wine samples to each group or ask guests to bring their own and use flowerpots filled with ice to keep bottles chilled.

Pool Party: While kids young and old are likely to enjoy a party set poolside, an older crowd is more likely to keep some distance in the water. Scatter some shade umbrellas around so that each group has its own home base and plan on single-serve refreshments or ask guests to bring their own coolers.

Driveway Dinner: Simply hanging out feels like a treat these days. Set up lawn chairs and let everyone place a delivery order. Add some background music and individual desserts, then let the good times roll.

With these suggestions in place, adults and children alike can celebrate this season safely and merrily.

Birthday Party Resources

Adventure in Fun LLC provides an impressive slate of resources and services for birthday parties, including sand art, arts and crafts, balloon sculpting and more. Contact the Adventure in Fun team by calling 717-334-7528 or email [email protected].

Celebrated Events is a full-service event planning company based in Frederick. Founder Karen Farrow has organized events ranging from weddings to milestone birthday parties and special occasions. Contact her at 301-471-7899 or email [email protected].

Marcie Lenick of Celebrating the Moments by Marcie and Celebrating Love by Marcie offers ideas and inspiration for children’s birthday parties on her website To reach her, call 443-340-1194 or email [email protected].

Laura Torres is the author of “52 Activities for Family Fun,” “Rock Your Party” and more books featuring projects for families and children that make ideal activities for a children’s birthday party. Visit to learn more.

Look for more entertaining advice in a COVID-19 world and beyond at and on our website

Graphic via Nadia_Bormotova/Ekaterina Pushina/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Entertaining for the Ages

Make your party a success from start to finish with the following tips:
1. Start planning for the date early. Always check your child’s school and family activities calendar for conflicts.

2. Unless you’re planning a surprise party for your child, include him or her in planning the theme, food and guest list.

3. Send invitations at least a month ahead and be clear on the details, especially the starting and ending time of the party.

4. Make the menu friendly for kids to make cleaning up after the event easier. For less mess and to promote social distancing, consider cupcakes rather than a cake and individual servings of ice cream and drinks.