Social Distancing Party

These are crazy times. Normal life vs. Pandemic. How do we celebrate our milestones and still protect each other, our loved ones, and those at the highest risk of complications from COVID-19? Wanting to celebrate the end of high school and the departure for college, we had to get creative and host a social distancing graduation party. Since the next few months include holidays, and birthdays, we thought we would share our tips on what we learned and what we plan to do for the holidays.

So where do you even start when planning a social distancing party?

There are so many variables to consider. Invites? Location? Weather Outlook? Guestlist? Gathering restrictions? Safety? Food and Beverages?

Let’s get started on each of these topics!

Invitation & Guidelines

To send out the invitation, you need to have a date, location and menu planned to alert your guests on what to expect. This was the hardest part. The party WOULD ONLY be outside – and what do we do if the weather was too hot? Thunderstorms? Chilly? After everything we had dealt with so far this year, all we could do was hope the date we picked would cooperate.

The invitation stated it would be an open house, from 1-4pm. We added that snacks, treats, beverages would be served. This let everyone know that a larger meal would not be offered. Not our usual style, but we wanted to be safe, and decided to get creative.

We also placed an insert into each invitation that clearly outlined what to expect at the house:

  • Please bring a mask. We have a few if you forget, but please wear one if not sitting in one spot.
  • Expect to wash your hands/use hand gel once you arrive!
  • Everything will be outside – we will have tents up and chairs scattered around. Dress for the weather.
  • Yes, you can use the bathroom inside.
  • Bring your lawn chair if you happen to have one.
  • We will have single serve food/snacks and drinks and bite size desserts.
  • Your health is more important that a party! We can always celebrate another time. IF YOU ARE NOT FEELING WELL, PLEASE STAY HOME. If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or have a fever, runny nose/nasal congestion, loss of taste or smell, cough, shortness of breath, muscle pain – stay home.

Food & Beverages

This was probably the easiest party to plan in the way of food. While we had some fresh fruit to cut up in single serve cups, most food was prepackaged and single serve.

Usually, at large parties, we order a sheet cake to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. This time we splurged a bit and ordered Nothing Bundt Cakes bite-size bundtinis and had them easily spaced for people to grab.

One-way direction for the snack table, as well as lots of ice for the coolers so the lids could stay open also helped with decreased transmission risks.

Masks & Handwashing Stations

Hand sanitizer at all key entry points (plus the bathroom) was important to ensure everyone used it. Entering the backyard, entering the garage (where the food was stored) and near sitting areas. Any chance for interactions, we set up a station to squash any transmission.

The bathroom had soap, hand sanitizer, and individual paper-towels to avoid drying hands with the same towel. We even had a sign on the light switch saying “Leave the Lights On!” to limit the hands touching the switch!

Celebrate and the Holidays

This might not have been the celebration that was originally planned pre-pandemic, but it is certainly the one you are going to remember. This isn’t a normal year, and our celebrations don’t need to be normal, either.

With the holidays coming up, we will probably keep it even more low key. COVID-19 numbers are surging as we enter the last two months of the year. If we do decide to gather for the holidays, we will plan for strict social distancing leading up to the holiday, testing prior to the event, and simple dessert or individual appetizers.

Fourth of July 2020 social distancing movie night

Since we live in the Chicagoland area, the weather will probably not cooperate (we did skate outside in t-shirts last Dec 26th, so you never know!) so this will be an unusual holiday season. Wanting to celebrate how we usually do will take a back seat to keeping family safe and healthy.

Make your gatherings and holidays safe, special, and one to remember. Here’s hoping we only have to do this one year!

22 thoughts on “Social Distancing Party

  • October 26, 2020 at 09:07
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    I think it’s great that you were still able to celebrate! It’s just my immediate family here so we don’t feel like we need to do that. I think it’s great if you have more than immediate family, great little celebration covid guide.

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  • October 26, 2020 at 09:51
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    Great tips! As the holidays approach this will be a great reference for being safe but still enjoying get togethers!

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  • October 26, 2020 at 12:33
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    Thank you for sharing great ideas to keep things as normal as possible. It’s so important that we start making our way back to our usual lives.

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  • October 26, 2020 at 13:04
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    You are very organized! I’m impressive by your attention to detail in planning.

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    • October 27, 2020 at 17:28
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      So much effort! Hopefully we’ll get back to normal in a few years.

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  • October 26, 2020 at 13:32
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    What a great way to still be able to celebrate and make sure that social distancing is still being followed.

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  • October 26, 2020 at 15:20
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    I think it is perfect to combine normal life with the new normal restrictions. It is just as important to connect with people as it is to prevent sickness.

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  • October 26, 2020 at 16:05
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    Very organized and well thought out.

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  • October 26, 2020 at 16:13
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    We’ve been having social distancing outdoor family parties and get togethers because we miss each other so much. Not sure what will happen with the cooler weather, but it’s been great having everyone post up under the trees and on the lawns at a social distance. And we recently had a garage sale outside. Made sure to have masks and hand sanitizer like you mention.

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  • October 26, 2020 at 16:30
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    Great tips! We’ve done outdoor movie nights quite often this summer. It is always a hit!

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  • October 26, 2020 at 17:19
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    These are great ideas! We did a movie night bonfire as a goodbye “party” for a friend and it worked out great!

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  • October 26, 2020 at 18:22
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    I love this. We have been invited one couple at a time to our patio for a fire in the pit. It’s great to be able to visit and still feel safe.

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  • October 26, 2020 at 21:24
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    Great tips! A co-worker told me today that she was invited to a drive-through baby shower in light of social distancing. Times are sure strange.

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    • October 26, 2020 at 22:23
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      I saw one of those this past month! It was so cute!

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  • October 26, 2020 at 21:59
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    Yes! You are right…these issues will become present at Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, etc. This is when traditionally, families from near and far get together to celebrate and swap the flu…now add COVID…YIKES!!! Planning is necessary!

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  • October 26, 2020 at 23:00
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    What a great way to get together with friends and family while keeping everyone safe.

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  • October 27, 2020 at 09:15
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    Great advice and so organized! We had a small wedding a few weeks ago and were happy to find everyone was willing to follow the rules and still have a wonderful time.

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  • October 27, 2020 at 13:13
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    Wonderful suggestions. Having the guidelines laid out prior to the party will save any misunderstandings that may occur.

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  • October 27, 2020 at 22:32
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    These are wonderful tips for these strange times! We did something similar with a baby shower for my younger daughter and her husband. It went well also.

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  • October 28, 2020 at 17:44
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    Great tips . Now that the holiday season is fast approaching, this can be applied for small gatherings too!

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  • October 29, 2020 at 12:02
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    Some great ideas here! We did something like this for my youngest son’s birthday party. Just a few friends… everyone brings their own blanket to spread on our lawn… and all pre-packaged foods. With hand a sanitizing station set up – the party worked perfectly!

    Reply

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