How to Host a Fun Party over Zoom

So this might not be the spring semester you envisioned. If you were looking forward to warmer weather, hanging out with your friends, or trying to get on to a rooftop or two, you’re not alone! Suddenly we find ourselves faced with a dilemma. How do we celebrate birthdays, weekends, and even a fun Tuesday night now? The answer seems simple: just group FaceTime your friends and family! But once that call starts, it can feel grueling. There are too many people talking at once, and it can get loud. No one can finish a sentence without technical issues. Everyone ends up talking about COVID-19, and then the conversation can’t escape it. That's understandable! Sometimes it feels like there’s nothing else to talk about besides the pandemic. I’ve tried the “It’s my 21st, let’s hang out on Zoom!” and the “Friday night Zoom session?” hangout ideas. Here’s what was fun, what ended up making me even sadder, and what I came up to cheer up as a result:

Pick a movie and watch with friends or family using Netflix Party (you can download the chrome extension here) while FaceTiming/Zooming/Google Meet-ing with each other. If you’re of age, set aside some rules beforehand and make your own drinking game! Hold each other accountable every time one of your rules comes up (but of course, drink a lot of water and don’t drink more than you want to. If you're going to use apple juice as your drink of choice, nothing wrong with that!). Pro Tip: whether you’re engaging in a drinking game or not with your movie, make sure it’s a movie that will evoke strong reactions you can all share together. I recently attended a Dangerous Liaisons watch party, and I can confidently attest to the fact that I did not think about COVID-19 for the entirety of the movie. It was a great distraction. I also highly recommend watching any Pixar or Disney movie as they are heartwarming, no matter what.  

Another idea is to have a virtual game night with a few pals! If you line up two to three games to pass the time, you’ll all be laughing and invested. I suggest trying out this game, where everyone takes turns drawing the word the game gives them, and the rest of the players receive points based on how fast they guess it. There’s another app called Evil Apples that you can play a more grown-up version of Apples to Apples. There’s also the classic Club Penguin session. Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you’re too old for the Club. Club Penguin that is. Something else to try is to challenge each of your friends to make quizzes about themselves. Then you all take each other's quizzes together and see who knows the most about each other!

One can also have a listening party over Zoom! If you’re anything like me, I’ve been on the hunt for new, exciting music to listen to in quarantine. Team up with some equally-enthused musical friends and agree to each make a small playlist of about five songs--new music they’ve found--to share over a Zoom call. It’ll get you all talking about what you liked, what you didn’t, and sometimes there’s nothing more inviting than to jam out with your friends. Plus, you’ll have some new finds for your playlist!

Hopefully, this inspires you to host a Zoom hangout soon to stay connected with your loved ones and friends. It’s hard right now, but if we do small things to keep the joy alive in friendships, although it’s virtually, soon when we all get to be together in person, we’ll be able to pick up where we left off.