IVES: Celebrating little victories with a ‘quarantine party’

A+quarantine+party+could+look+like+anything.+You+could+buy+some+balloons+and+bake+a+cake.+Or+maybe+you+could+dance+around+the+kitchen+to+old+school+Taylor+Swift.+Photo+via+Flickr

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A quarantine party could look like anything. You could buy some balloons and bake a cake. Or maybe you could dance around the kitchen to old school Taylor Swift. Photo via Flickr

Months of quarantining and social isolation, though very necessary and important, has put me and many others at the mercy of a new ailment, something far less severe than the COVID-19 virus, but devastating in its own right: boredom.

What do you do once you have mastered all the TikTok trends, finished all the binge-worthy Netflix shows and given up on your quarantine fitness regime?

I, for one, can only rewatch New Girl so many times. And in the long months of quarantine, I quickly exhausted all of my excuses to not exercise.

Everyone has their own ways of passing the time and coping with a lack of in-person social interactions. One tried and true method of mine is something called a quarantine party.

Quarantine parties are simple enough. 

First, you need to find something, literally anything, to celebrate. This could be a birthday, a holiday or the simple fact that you got out of bed before noon.

Next comes the actual celebration. This could look like anything. Maybe you buy some balloons and bake a cake to celebrate a friend’s success on a video call. Or maybe you throw yourself a solo party and dance around the kitchen to old school Taylor Swift.

My first quarantine party involved my extended family on my mom’s side. All thirty-something of us hopped onto a Zoom call to celebrate Easter.

Between my parents, my five siblings and I, we used four devices, each of us walking back and forth between different screens.

My family kicked off the festivities by spending the better half of an hour working out technical problems that should have lasted no longer than five minutes.

But then we spent several hours talking and catching up, ploughing our way through mountains of Peeps and bunny-shaped chocolates. 

This had been one of the first times since initially quarantining that I had seen anyone’s face besides those belonging to my parents and siblings. Needless to say, my extended family members had never looked more beautiful.

Many months have passed since this Easter celebration, yet the need for quarantine parties has endured.

Last week I helped my friend decorate her apartment for her mom’s birthday.

My friend went to the store and bought clear balloons filled with confetti. We blew them up and scattered them around the apartment.

She also set out a bunch of snacks including an impromptu cheese platter, which was an interesting show of college-grade improvisation on her part. Lacking the ingredients you might find on a conventional cheese platter, she used sliced American, muenster and cheddar cheeses that she cut into bite-sized squares.

The final decoration was a banner made from printer paper spelling out “Happy B-Day.” We strung it up with the last of her dental floss. It was a loss for dental hygiene, but a win for impromptu interior design.

I did not stick around when my friend’s mom arrived with other members of her family. However, I heard the mini celebration was a blast and the cheese platter in particular was a hit.

In my experience, however, some of the best quarantine parties are the ones you celebrate on your own.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, a people person or a recluse, sooner or later you will need some alone time, everyone does. This includes tuning out of your virtual social life.

A few weeks after the semester started, I felt this need. So I threw myself my own little solitary shindig.

First, I prepared myself some of my favorite snacks, including tortilla chips and homemade guacamole and an irresponsibly large bag of Kit Kats.

Then I pulled out some paints and a blank canvas I had been saving for such an occasion.

I spent the next couple of hours listening to Hippo Campus, the area around my feet littered with empty candy wrappers, painting an atrocious landscape that even Bob Ross would have a difficult time complimenting.

It was a wonderful way to spend an evening.

Anyone interested in passing the time spent in quarantine or socially isolated should consider throwing themselves their own quarantine party.

This story was written by Charlotte Ives. She can be reached at charlotte.ives@marquette.edu.