Social distancing may be keeping people apart physically, but thanks to the internet and today’s amazing technology, nothing can keep them apart virtually. In fact, if someone you know or love is celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, is getting married or having a baby, you can throw them an epic socially distant surprise party they’ll remember for a lifetime. Here’s how.
The first thing you’ll want to do if you throw a virtual surprise party for someone is to contact any roommates or family members who live with them. This way, they can get in on the surprise and ensure that the person you’re surprising is online on the right day and time. For example, if it’s your friend Kevin’s birthday, you can contact his girlfriend and ask her to make plans with him for the date and time of the party.
Next, you will need to choose a date and time, and you’ll need to decide which software or platform you’ll use. Video calls are always best, and numerous providers out there have free options you can use. Zoom, for example, will allow up to 100 people to join a “meeting,” but there’s a 40-minute limitation. Skype also offers a similar service with a 50-person limit, and these calls can run for up to four hours before being disconnected.
Another option that isn’t as well known is the Houseparty app, which not only allows you to video conference with your friends and family for free with no real limits, but also provides in-app access to the Heads Up game that you can play with others. You’ll need to buy card packs, but they’re only $0.99.
Now that you’ve decided which platform is best for your needs, it’s time to send out invites to family members, friends, and coworkers. Be sure you give instructions for downloading and installing the chosen platform, and make sure you tell them it’s a surprise party to keep the secret safe. Ask them to RSVP so you’ll know who to expect. It may also be helpful to schedule a “rehearsal” just to make sure that everyone has the app and knows how to use it. This can help you avoid technical difficulties on the big day.
Even though it’s a virtual surprise party, go ahead and decorate! Choose a place in your home to put in the video frame and go all out with streamers and balloons. The party recipient will definitely appreciate the gesture. You can also plan some games, prepare some food, and stock up on your favorite cocktail ingredients. The more who get into the spirit, the more fun the party will be. You can even send gifts in the mail early on so that everyone can see the excitement when they’re opened online.
Now all that’s left is waiting for the chosen date and time to surprise your friend, loved one, or coworker with the party of a lifetime. Staying at home may not be ideal but, thanks to the internet, there’s really nothing that can keep people apart for long.