Abby Slutsky enjoys baking, cooking, and entertaining. She loves creating theme-based parties.
How to Host an Outdoor "Coronavirus Party"
Due to the novel coronavirus, most of us are staying at home. Many people are entertaining around outdoor activities or inviting a few select friends over to socialize on a porch or deck. Although COVID-19 is very serious, there is no reason why you cannot host a small, safe, outdoor party. Remind your friends to socially distance while you all have fun.
A Great Party in 6 Steps
To host the party successfully, you must . . .
- choose your guests.
- select a date and create an invitation.
- decide whether to order food, cook, or have guests bring their own food.
- make decorations, favors, and a prize.
- provide a way to vote for songs.
- tally the votes and award a prize.
1. Choose Your Guests
If you plan to entertain outside, look at your deck or patio and decide how many guests you can have if you follow a six-to-eight-foot social-distancing rule. Arrange chairs so that they face each other in clusters of two or three. Assume guests who live together will sit near each other. I am comfortable having a maximum of eight people on my deck.
2. Select a Party Date and Create Invitations
Talk to your guests and coordinate a mutually convenient date for the party. You can email invitations or make them by hand if you prefer. Remember, host the party early enough that you can take advantage of natural light.
Include the following information on the invitation:
- Choice of food (if ordering)
- RSVP information
- Any special requirements for guests
On the invitation, tell everyone that they are to find and bring three coronavirus-themed songs to play at the party. They can use their cell phones to play their selections. (They will only be playing two songs, but in case there are duplicates, they should plan on finding three songs.) Guests should do their own online searches to find appropriate songs. They will be surprised at the selection. As the entertainment, everyone will play two of their songs, and guests will vote on the best song.
Simple Invitation Instructions
I do not really have the patience to make an elaborate invitation, but this three-minute invite gets the job done. Take a photo of it and send it to your guests as an attachment.
1. Turn an old notecard face-down.
2. Fold a square of toilet paper (clean, of course) and put it on one side of the card.
3. Create the wording you want, so it is the size of half the card.
4. Print the wording, and cut out a square where it is printed.
5. Position the square on the toilet paper.
6. Arrange a thermometer to the side of the wording.
7. Take a photo of the invite.
8. Crop the picture if necessary.
If you do not have a thermometer, you can substitute any COVID-19-related item. Try a mask, hand sanitizer, or anything else you think is appropriate. No glue, no mess, and an instant invite.
3. Figure Out the Food Situation
If you prefer to cook or have a potluck meal, make sure you ask your guests if they are comfortable eating food you or other guests have prepared. In the current environment, I have been getting guests’ sandwich orders and serving sandwiches that are individually wrapped. However, everyone’s comfort level is different. Confirm and order the food a day or two before the party. You may want to purchase individually bagged chips if they are not included with the sandwiches. Or, you can ask a guest to bring them.
Plan to purchase beverages, ice, and paper goods a couple of days before the party. Serve soda or alcoholic drinks appropriate for the theme if everyone is over 21. (Yes, there is a beer with the right name.) If you want a dessert, purchase or ask a guest to bring individually wrapped ice cream sandwiches or popsicles. They will be refreshing when you are outside.
4. Make Decorations, Favors, and a Prize
Most dollar stores have inexpensive containers, tissue paper, styrofoam board, ribbon, and small favor bags. You can find plastic sticks used to label vegetables at a hardware store. It is easy to make cheap decorations. Plan to make your decorations at least a week or two before the party. Arrange them on tablecloths a few hours before the party.
Masked-Face Centerpiece Materials
This project is simple, and the results are perfect for the theme. Here is what you will need:
- Glue stick
- Close-up picture of someone's face
- Two disposable masks
- Utility knife
- Styrofoam board
- Plastic vegetable marker stick. (These are sold in hardware and craft stores.)
- Printer and computer
Masked Face Centerpiece Instructions
- Print two color copies of a close-up of someone's face.
- Cut out the pictures.
- Trace around them twice on the styrofoam, and use the utility knife to cut out the styrofoam shapes.
- Glue the faces to each piece of styrofoam.
- Glue each picture to a cut piece of styrofoam board.
- Glue both styrofoam boards to the top of the vegetable marker stick.
- The faces should be positioned outward, so the blank sides face the stick.
- One side of the face might show a little of the board.
- Take a disposable mask and tie the ear loops so that they fit snugly against the mouth and nose of the picture. Do this on both sides using two masks. Tuck the loops under the mask.
- Stick the vegetable marker through the hole in a roll of paper towels.
- Line a round basket with tissue paper, and put the centerpiece inside it.
Distancing and Rules Sign
Create a social distancing and rules sign. Copy it and place the sign in a large frame. It can add to the decor.
Make party favors. If you can spare them, wrap a pair of vinyl gloves and a disposable mask in little bags. They are perfect as party favors. You can also put a roll of toilet paper in a cellophane bag and use it as a prize for the person whose song selection gets the most votes.
Take Your Guests' Temperatures When You Greet them
Order a non-contact thermometer three weeks before the party. As your guests arrive, take their temperatures. This will add to the party's theme and make everyone feel more comfortable to socialize.
5–6. Provide a Way to Vote and Tally
After everyone has eaten, pass out pens and paper or tell people they can take notes on their phones. Let everyone play two of the songs they have selected. After hearing all the songs, everyone should send a text to the host indicating their favorite. No one can vote for a song they submitted. Whoever brought the winning song can win a roll of cellophane-wrapped toilet paper.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Abby Slutsky
Abby Slutsky (author) from LAFAYETTE HL on July 22, 2020:
It has a humorous twist, but I am actually doing it.
JC Scull from Gainesville, Florida on July 22, 2020:
Is this article meant to be satire?
Abby Slutsky (author) from LAFAYETTE HL on July 17, 2020:
Thanks so much for following and reading. Yes, it is important to keep a sense of humor in these tough times.
Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on July 17, 2020:
Now this is a safe way to find something positive during the crisis - good fun! Hilarious prizes of toilet paper, etc. -- A drive-thru restaurant here increased sales by giving a roll of it with each order. We can be creative no matter what.