So, you’ve already perfected the art of hanging out with your friends without having to leave the house. The next step is to become an isolation party master. Here’s your opportunity to gather a big group of friends or family for something a little more involved than a simple virtual chat or hopping around islands on Animal Crossing.
Whether someone’s birthday is coming up, or you simply want to make your weekend a little more festive, we’ve put together some easy isolation party ideas that’ll give you, your friends and your family something fun to look forward to.
From a simple takeaway pizza night to a more sophisticated, communal potluck, there’s nothing better than eating, drinking and laughing the night away with friends. With the current regulations in place, physical dinner parties aren’t possible – but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a big meal virtually!
If you want to keep it simple, get your group to meet at a set time on your favourite video chatting software or app, have everyone grab their dinner of choice, and enjoy a meal together, just like pre-COVID-19 times.
To elevate your dinner party, why not cook together? Find a recipe everyone can make easily (homemade pizza or pasta are popular choices, and you can find more recipe inspiration here), set up your laptop or phone a safe distance from your stove/sink, open your video chat, and have everyone prepare their meals together. Once the cooking is finished, grab a beverage and sit down to devour all your hard work.
There’s a huge range of virtual quiz nights being run across Australia at the moment. But, you and your team will be competing against a huge number of other quizzers nationwide, which can make winning feel impossible. Instead, host your own trivia night! As quiz-master, you control the questions, plus you can include fun, personalised rounds that only you and your friends will understand (for example, getting everyone to guess each other’s baby photos).
Set a date, time and location (Zoom and Google Hangouts are good because you can easily invite a large group of people) and get to work creating quiz questions (there are lots of resources available online if you’re struggling to think of any). Decide if you want to keep score or make it a more friendly game. If you want your ‘contestants’ to write their answers down, you can even create an online answer sheet; something like Google Forms has a specific quiz function, and you can email it to your friends so they can fill it in and send it back to you. Or, just get them to write down their answers on paper and mark their answers themselves.
If you want to take your trivia night even further, you could even make the quiz themed (‘90s, Australian trivia, Game Of Thrones…) with a dress-up element.
This party might take a little longer to set up, but in the end it’ll be an excellent opportunity for some fun debates. Choose a book that everyone can access (with shipment times for many online retailers longer than usual, see if you can purchase the e-book, or even try to access an audiobook or an online copy through your education provider’s library), and work out a deadline by which everyone should aim to finish – a month is generally a good amount of time.
In the meantime, check to see if pre-written book club questions are available online for your chosen novel (search on Google for your chosen novel and ‘book club questions/discussion’). You can copy these or just come up with your own. Make sure the questions are open-ended so that you and your friends have a chance to discuss in greater depth (e.g. ‘if you didn’t enjoy the book, why was that?’). Once the month is up, arrange a date and enjoy a virtual book club night with your friends.
If you’re feeling confident, you can get involved with Karaoke Camp, a 24-hour online karaoke that anyone around the world can join via Zoom.
Otherwise, organise your own karaoke party with friends. This one is simple: you and your friends hop on your preferred video chatting program and take it in turns to sing your heart out via webcam. If you want to get a little bit more technical, you could even employ screen sharing, allowing everyone to see the YouTube lyric videos you’re using. You can find a guide on how to do this here.
You will need some supplies for this party, so make sure you and your friends can safely access paint, paintbrushes and canvases. (You can buy all of these online if you don’t have them). There are plenty of arty activities you can all enjoy together via video chat, such as painting plant pots or drawing still life images, which can help you relax and practise mindfulness.
To take it to another level, make it a competition and follow an online tutorial or program (we recommend an episode of Bob Ross: Beauty is Everywhere). All participants have to keep up with the artist in the video and then share their works of art at the end. You could even get a panel of judges who didn’t compete to pick the best painting.
Sometimes, you just need to dance it out. Relieve stress, get active and groove the night away with your friends – virtually. Hosting a dance party or club night is also a fun opportunity to get dressed up and wear the ‘going out’ clothes you might not be getting much use of at the moment.
Running your own party for you and your friends is relatively easy; you just have to nominate a DJ or ask everyone to send suggestions and make a communal Spotify playlist, pop on some disco lights if you have them, and get everyone to meet you in a video chat for a night of dancing.
If you’d prefer to have someone else pick the tunes, you can explore the diverse range of online music events being hosted across Australia and jive along to some live concerts. One of the best options is Hot Dub at Home – an incredible 2.5-hour dance party streamed every Saturday via Twitch. You can find information and updates on the event via Facebook. Get all your friends involved, stream Hot Dub on one side of your screen, and dance along with your friends in their lounge rooms via video chat on the other side.