Quarantine has been all we’ve known for the better part of the last two months, and in those two months, a lot of people have hit that special marker that tells them “Congrats, you’re getting older!” Birthdays during Coronavirus may seem like they would be incredibly anticlimactic, but for the handful of special days I have gotten to be a part of, the outcomes have been heartfelt reunions that make some really great memories. I’ve gotten to be a part of a few virtual surprise parties and a few drive by social distancing parties. Each has been a little different but all of them have the same thing in common – community. Community is the one thing that we have all been deprived of as this pandemic sweeps the nation. We can’t leave our houses meaning we can’t go to work, school, church, lunch, movies, parks, etc. We can’t go anywhere or do anything that is not essential to the mechanism of society. So how? How do people celebrate birthdays if every road seems to be blocked?

If you have a birthday coming up, or know someone whose birthday is coming up, then buckle your seatbelts because I’m here to walk you through the best ways to make someone feel special during quarantine!

The most common way to celebrate is a ZOOM PARTY. This can be a fun way to surprise someone on their birthday with a lot of their loved ones! But, be careful. It’s easy to make this one awkward because it might be a bunch of people that don’t know each other. When a lot of people are on zoom it’s harder to make conversation flow because no one can talk over anyone else.

If you are using Zoom, it helps to have a plan. Here are some ONLINE GAMES that you could play with your friends while video calling. My personal favorite is QUIPLASH. This is a party game that you log into on your phone while someone shares their computer screen on Zoom. It basically asks everybody questions anonymously and then everyone picks their favorite funny answer. Whoever wrote the answer gets the points. I’ve used this game with many of my friends both during quarantine and at in person parties and it never fails to crack everybody up! The next game you can play is SKRIBBL.IO which is basically Pictionary but virtual and tons of fun! This was a staple for my friends at the beginning of quarantine. We’d spend hours FaceTiming and drawing really bad pictures with our computer trackpads.

If you don’t want to use Zoom, then HOUSEPARTY is another great option. Houseparty became popular in my sophomore year of high school because at the time it was the only way you could Group FaceTime. I have vivid memories of walking to class or being in class while on houseparty with other people on opposite ends of the school. Sorry teachers! The app has games on it like CHIPS AND GUAC, which is pretty much cards against humanity, PICTIONARY, HEADS UP, and TRIVIA.

My friend, Allen, had a birthday back in April, and to celebrate we all made this thing called a KUDOBOARD. Honestly, make one of these even after quarantine because it’s something incredibly cool that the person can always go back to look at. This is an online birthday card that you can send out to a bunch of people. Each person can write a message and upload a picture. Ours turned into a lot of really funny and kinda bad pictures of Allen.

All of these online options are really great for us - college kids - who have been scattered all over the country, but if your birthday person is close by then consider having a safe meetup. Kids across America have been buying cakes and putting them on their friend’s front porch. People will coordinate a time for all of their friends to drive up in front of the house of the special person and they’ll celebrate by sitting on top of their cars and singing or standing six feet apart on the lawn with masks on to give the other person air hugs. I’ve done this a few times and each time has left me feeling insanely happy just by getting to see people even if I can’t get near them. Along with these, it’s common for people to drive to empty parking lots, park their cars in a circle with their trunks facing in, pop their trunks, and sit in their cars at a safe distance to talk to their friends. If you do any of these in-person options, please be safe!! Take all necessary precautions and don’t touch anyone!

All of these are amazing things to do on someone’s birthday to make them feel special. Birthdays in quarantine are a great opportunity to see people you love whether virtually or physically. I know quarantine is weird for everyone, but don’t let life pass you by just because the world is on pause. Seize the day, ladies and gentlemen! But safely, of course.