Creative online party ideas

Online party ideas for a next-leve virtual gathering during the MCO
It has been more than a month since the MCO was implemented, and with its extension till 12th May, it seems like Malaysians will have to continue to make do with being at home. What started off as a challenge to adjust has now become the new norm for many of us.

But life has to still go on and so do birthdays, as shown by all the March and April babies who found ways to celebrate in spite of MCO limitations. You’ve seen the usual Zoom hangouts and birthday photoshoots at home, but if you’re looking for something more creative, here are 8 things you can do to host a next-level virtual party.

1. Send out proper invitations

invitation card design from canva
Image credit: Canva

Most people would agree that a nicely designed invitation looks so much more enticing than a boring link, and it can really get your guests genuinely looking forward to your virtual parties.

If you have zero design skills, try Canva, a free web design app with hundreds of easy-to-use and visually appealing templates that any beginner can adapt to their needs. Just edit the texts, change the pictures if you’d like, and you’re good to go.

Those who want to make use of the extra time they’ve gained during the MCO can pick up some design skills and create their virtual invites from scratch using applications such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. These may look intimidating at first glance but there are plenty of step-by-step Youtube tutorials out there catering to beginners for you to learn the ropes.

hand lettering
Image credit: Wink & Wonder

You can also check out companies such as Brit + Co, which are holding online classes for skills such as hand lettering, photography, cake decorating, photo editing, and more. Acquiring these new skills will not only help you make a killer virtual invite, but you can also add them to your resume to increase your employability too.

2. Set a fun, but easy theme

themed costume zoom party
Image credit: @toprockproductions

Home clothes are comfy but dressing up can be a huge mood booster, especially if you have virtual parties to attend! For picture-worthy memories, set a fun but easy theme that everyone can follow.

Find the balance between overly simple ones such as colour-coding your outfits and going overboard with themes that require excessive props or accessories.

Some ideas to consider include a Pool Party theme where you get your guests to put on their swimsuits or beachwear. A Fancy Dinner Party theme works as well, since most of us have formal wear at home and would probably be pretty excited just imagining dressing to the nines to go to your living room during the MCO.

You can also consider hosting a Throwback Party where everyone shows up recreating the look from a baby picture of themselves.

3. Arrange the menu for your guests

kyochon chicken online ordering
Image credit: @mykyochon

Food is what most people look forward to during a party, so you’d do well to put in more effort for this part by arranging for the food that you’ve settled on to be delivered to your guests’ homes.

There are plenty of choices on GrabFood but if you’d like to create a more inclusive group-party vibe, finger food works best. We recommend these: Kyochon for their Korean fried chicken, Pizza Mansion for their pizzas, Sunbather Coffee for sandwiches, Inside Scoop for their ice-cream and of course, Delectable by Su for their pastries and cakes.

4. Play virtual games together without using an app

virtual trivia game
Image credit: Two Scots Abroad

Mamak and yumcha hangouts with friends may have been put on hold, but there are still ways to have fun with our homies through video calls and group gaming apps.

Those are fun and easy to use, but to make things more interesting for virtual parties, you need to put in more effort. Think of games you’d conduct for a physical party and find ways to make them work virtually. For example, a dance-off can be done TikTok-style, and everyone gets to vote to choose the winner.

Other ideas include drinking games where you host a watch party, then get everyone to take a shot every time a particular character says something funny.

5. Set up a virtual bar

bartender making drink
Image credit: Annie Spratt

The next best thing to having an open bar or a bartender serving you drinks all night is to get your guests in your virtual parties participating in making their own drinks. Assign a friend to be the ‘bartender’ and do a live cocktail-making tutorial with simple ingredients that most people will have in their homes.

A mojito is a crowd favourite – all you need are rum, mint leaves, sugar, lime, and soda water for a refreshing concoction. You can even add fruits such as raspberry, pineapple, or peaches to switch up the flavours.

If your party-goers are an adventurous bunch, try coming up with your own cocktail recipe. Take inspiration from bars such as PS150 and Skullduggery that regularly use unconventional ingredients. Think peanut butter and jelly or gula melaka and curry leaves in your drink! There are no rules, really.

6. ‘Hire’ live entertainment

elvira arul jaotim live musicImage credit: @jaotimkl

To complete the party atmosphere, tune in to live entertainment together. You can check out Jaotim KL, a cafe and event space that has been gathering Malaysian musicians to perform live on Instagram at 9PM daily.

They have also set up a fund to help musicians and live performance venues stay afloat during the MCO. You can watch from the front row as talented artistes such as Malaysia’s Queen of Soul singing Elvira Arul, violinist Nisa Addina, pianist Urahara Mitchell, and many more grace your screen.

harith iskander live zoom show
Image credit: Harith Iskander

Comedian Harith Iskander has also been hopping onto the live-streaming bandwagon with his own stand-up comedy show that’s hosted on Zoom every Saturday.

Tickets are priced at RM38 for the Family Pass, and RM78 for the VIP Pass. The former allows you to watch the show during the first session from 3PM to 4PM only, while the latter is an exclusive all-access pass to join the second session from 4.30PM to 5.30PM as well. You’ll even get to interact with Harith himself during the second session!

All profits from the tickets will be donated to the The Hope Branch, an initiative that supports the well-being of frontliners and vulnerable individuals during this crisis.

7. Create your own party mix

djing on a tablet computer
Image credit: Digital DJ Tips

Your playlist can make or break your virtual parties, and it can be a stressful decision when everyone doesn’t share the same music taste.

Opening Spotify and letting it play in the background seems like an obvious choice, but if you want to up your game, you should try music-making apps such as Incredibox that allow you to compose your own mix in a fun and interactive way.

Termed as an audio and visual experience, you’ll get to experiment with beatboxing beats and arrange them together to form a proper music mix, which then makes for a party souvenir everyone will remember.


8. Coordinate a next-level group photo

the big heart group pose on zoom
The Big Heart group pose on Zoom

Of course, there’s only one thing left to do at the end of the night – taking a group picture! We don’t mean just posing individually and taking a screenshot, but actually coordinating to form a pattern or image together.

Now that the world has become accustomed to working from home, people have been creative in making video meetings fun. From the regular heart shape pose to downright ridiculous ones, here are a few examples that you can try out:

the virus group pose on zoom
The Virus group pose on Zoom

the cockroach group pose on zoom
The Cockroach group pose on Zoom

the face group pose on zoom
The Face group pose on Zoom

the star group pose on zoom
The Star group pose on Zoom

Virtual parties during the MCO

There’s no reason to feel bummed about celebrating your birthday or having a party during the MCO. Admittedly, all the main party essentials such as a nice venue, lots of food, pretty decor, and good friends can’t be physically present in the same space, but we can still have fun and make do with what we have.

Virtual parties are a great way to connect and celebrate with friends and family. After all, it’s about spending time and commemorating a special day with the people who matter.

Cover image adapted from: Digital DJ Tips, Canva, @mykyochon and The Smart Local

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