Parties & Entertaining, Quarantine

April 30, 2020

How to Host a Virtual Get Together (Part Two)

Because so much of our lives are conducted via video these days, I wanted to dedicate a post to sprucing up your virtual get togethers so they’re more enjoyable for guests. After social distancing for so long, Zoom parties are starting to feel a bit stale. But they’re probably going to be the reality for a while longer – so let’s at least a little pizazz to them. (And I’m not sorry at all for continuing to use the word pizazz – it’s a fantastic word.)

In Part One of this post, I covered the more technical aspects of hosting a successful virtual get-together. (In case you missed it, check it out here.) Now in Part Two, we are getting to the pizazz I promised. 

My main goal in this section is providing inspiration for ways to make your virtual party more of an experience for guests. No one wants to feel like they are on another dreary work call!

Part Two: Making the virtual party more than just another conference call

Have a Game Night

I’ve seen lots of creative ideas for playing games over Zoom. AND there’s now a slew of online games that are literally meant to be played via video platform. (Thank you computer people!) So you can actually host a game night with your friends or family, even if you can’t get together. 

Here’s a few ideas for games. (Most are better for groups under 10 people.)

  • Charades: Ah, Charades. The classic party game. Nothing fancy is required to play this virtually. Since we can’t draw a word/phrase out of an actual hat, just send everyone the link to this charades generator to come up with ideas to act out. 
  • JackBox: JackBox is becoming the quintessential virtual party game. It has different “packs” with a bunch of individual games players can play on from their own devices. You’ll have to purchase the game packs, but having purchased them for our Playstation a few years ago I feel that it was totally worth the cost. The games are funny, short, and good for groups. If you’re going to play via Zoom, make sure to get the “Steam” version (vs. the versions for game consoles.) Here’s a video on how to play over Zoom.
  • Cards: Turn any card game into a virtual card game with Playingcards.io. Virtual King’s Cup, anyone? 
  • Pictionary: Play virtual pictionary through Zoom by using the whiteboard feature. Or you could play by pulling up the Paint application on your computer and then sharing your screen so your teammates can try and guess what the heck you’re drawing. 
  • Houseparty: Guests can download the app and play games together via their own devices. Just keep in mind the max number is 8 people. 

Create a Custom Trivia Game

(Perfect for a bridal shower, bachelorette party, engagement, birthday, etc.)

You could do this a couple ways:

  • Create a presentation (PowerPoint or whatever platform you prefer) with all the questions. Then, share your screen with all the participants so they can see the questions as you go through them. Ask guests to write down their answers and send them to you at the end of the game for “grading.”
  • You could also send the quiz out to guests via Google Survey and have everyone submit their responses within the survey. This option would make it easy to play with a big group since you don’t have to get everyone’s attention to go through each question on the call itself (which often means re-reading each question 14 times.) Instead, you’ll have all the responses ahead of time so you can just read out the correct ones on the call, share the funniest answers, pronounce the winners, etc. 
  • Another way to do trivia is by using Kahoot!, which is an online platform that lets you create your own games and quizzes. It’s targeted to online learning settings, but they offer a free plan for 10 participants or less. I like this option because you can have participants join the game directly  from their computers. You don’t have to manually grade everyone’s responses at the end, so it definitely makes it easier (and it just feels way more official!) 

Host a Themed Party

Pick a theme and have all your guests change their virtual backgrounds on Zoom and dress the part accordingly. For example, do a Coachella themed party and have guests make their background an image from Coachella (or something similar) and dress in their best festival outfits. Sure, it’s not quite like actual Coachella, but hey, it’s the closest thing to it that you’ll get this year!

Choose any theme you know your group of friends will have fun with. Make it cute. Make it funny. Or make it weird. Whatever floats your boat!

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

Use the virtual background feature, or the screen sharing feature, to display some of your funniest, sweetest, or most embarrassing photos together.

If you’re celebrating someone’s birthday, have all the participants share their favorite photo of the birthday gal or guy (try not to make it too terrible – it is their birthday after all.)

Or maybe for an engagement party, create a slideshow of the couple’s journey together and share it via the screen share feature.

There’s lots of possibilities here – you get the idea!

Have a Virtual Paint and Sip Night 

Going to a paint and sip event has been on my bucket list for a while. (Guess I should have gotten around to that sooner!) But the premise can certainly be adopted for a virtual event. Just find an online painting class (or whatever art form peaks your interest) and play it using the shared screen feature. Obviously make sure you all have a glass (or bottle) of wine by your side.

You could take it seriously and actually try to create art. Or if you just want a few laughs, you can all loosely follow the instructor’s suggestions and have everyone share their masterpiece at the end.

Do SOMETHING Together

This is the moral of the story here.

You know your group of friends and family best. Find some activity that you can all do together (separately.) My mom, for instance, has weekly knitting parties. Her group of knitting pals literally just gets on Zoom and knits together. That’s it. And I honestly never hear as much uproarious laughter as I do from those calls. Those ladies crack themselves up.

Which is exactly the point! You can still have fun with your favorite people, even if you can’t physically be with your favorite people.

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