Hosting a small get-together amidst the COVID-19 pandemic? It's not for everyone, but for some it's feasible. Here are a couple of helpful tips for how to carefully, considerately, and safely host a pandemic party at your home.
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Inviting your Guests
Depending on your state & local requirements, you may only be able to have groups of 8-25 together. Make sure to look up your local ordinances to understand what your maximum capacity should be.
There's nothing like showing up to a costume party that you didn't know you were supposed to dress up for.
In that same sense, you should tell your guests what to expect before they show up.
Are they expected to wear masks, especially if entering your home?
Will the party be inside, outside, or in a combination of both areas?
If your party is outside, can people arrive without walking inside of your home?
Who are you inviting? Are people allowed to bring guests?
How many people are expected to attend in total?
Should they bring their own chair to sit in?
Will hugs be allowed?
Answering these questions among many others, will help people feel more comfortable attending. They may even politely decline. Try to be as hospitable as possible and be patient with your guests to ensure they are comfortable.
Don't forget to give people updates as the date comes closer, and ask everyone to keep you updated on how they're doing both before and 5-8 days after the party. Be upfront with your guests if anyone isn't feeling well after possibly being exposed.
Transparency and trust are essential.
If people end up declining, schedule another time to connect with them virtually or in person. It's important to be respectful of people's individual boundaries. Your friends may not be able to attend for a number of reasons including their own susceptibility level and other immediate contact's or dependent's susceptibility levels.
Cleaning your House
From our last Preparing for your Party post, you'll know cleaning before your party is essential. But now so is cleaning after your party!
You'll want to be stocked up on:
Hand sanitizer (anywhere you want!)
Antibacterial hand soap (next to each sink)
Disinfectant spray & paper towels (for wiping surfaces)
Tissues (can be set out for opening & closing doors)
Be sure to wipe down all surfaces that you and others may touch, both before and after everyone comes. This includes, (but is definitely not limited to):
Cabinet & drawer handles
Tables & eating surfaces
Chair arms & backs
Appliance buttons (for the microwave, oven, etc.)
Creating your Menu & Preparing the Food
To more safely serve your pandemic party food, consider packaging food in advance for individual servings. This can be done in cute baskets, disposable containers, or even gift bags!
Find our list of recommendations here, but we really love:
Kraft take out meal containers, for your main meal
French fries holder, for sides & snacks
Plastic jello shot & sauce cups with lids, for your sauces and dips
Kraft wax paper bags, for cookies & other treats
Large kraft paper tote bags, for packaging everything together
If you're taking this approach, you may want to consider how to package your food when creating your menu. Sandwiches easily fit in little bags or boxes. A salad can fit in a cup container. Chips and other snacks can fit in little bags, or come prepackaged. Drinks can also be pre-poured and set out at a station for easy pickup.
Also consider putting your eating utensils and napkins in the prepackaged meals.
Or better yet - order boxed catering!
For a fun & socially distanced party, here are a couple of fun & unique seating ideas!
Have everyone bring their own blanket and throw a picnic on your lawn
Similarly, have everyone bring a lawn chair and have a tailgate party outside
Put a few card tables out with 2-4 seats at each for lunch or dinner
Set out 2-3 dining tables with the short sides touching to create one really long table for all
Reserve a couple of tables or picnic benches at your local park for everyone
There are so many games that can be played in-person while maintaining your distance! Here are just a few that only require a handful of supplies to get started.
Pictionary (with sidewalk chalk on the ground or an easel/chalkboard)
Who Am I or Heads Up! Mobile
Hangman (with sidewalk chalk on the ground or an easel/chalkboard)
With just a little extra planning and careful consideration, we know you'll have a great time during your pandemic party. While gatherings are not a great option for all, for those that want to and are able, they provide an amazing sense of relief and normalcy during this turbulent time.
I want to hear from you! What other precautions and activities are you planning for your socially distanced get-together?
Let me know in the comments!