We live for special events at GigSalad, and we believe that birthdays are still special, even if you’re staying at home right now. People all across the country have started a fun new trend – birthday parades! We want to give you some ideas to help you plan a fabulous birthday parade for your loved one’s big day, while still maintaining social distance.
1. Choose a theme
What does the birthday guy or gal really love? For kiddos, think about their favorite cartoons, movies, books, or toys. Adults might love a certain sports team, TV show, or hobby. We’ve put together a few ideas to take your theme to the next level!
Give it some character
Use your guest of honor’s favorite superhero, princess, or cartoon character to begin your theme. Think about the color schemes of their costumes to plan how to decorate your cars with streamers and signs! You can also book a special visitor to round out the parade. Professional princesses can wave from a convertible, while strong superheroes can display their skills on the street. Costumed characters can stroll along waving and tossing candy or other favors to the birthday parade guests.
Around the world in 2 city blocks
We’re all feeling a little stuck right now, so theme the birthday parade around some exotic locales! Visit the high seas by decorating your “floats” like a pirate ship, and book a pirate or mermaid to join the fun. Take your high rollin’ friends to Vegas by adding some bling to your cars. Then invite a Samba dancer, Frank Sinatra impersonator, or another crooner to make an appearance. Or, head to Hawaii, complete with giant paper leaves, flowers, and a strolling ukulele player, steel drummer, or hula dancer.
A few of their favorite things
Everyone has something that they love, so embrace that for their birthday parade theme! Do they own every season of Friends? Make signs and t-shirts about “The One Where They Were Quarantined.” If they love tacos or ice cream, hire a local food truck to add some delight to the parade. Are they obsessed with unicorns? Book a pony dressed as a unicorn! Rock their world with a visit from their favorite celebrity like Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, or other popular impersonators. We all have that friend who starts decorating for Christmas in October – break out your garland and book Santa Claus for a surprise appearance!
Light up the night
Who says birthday parades have to be during the day? Grab your glowsticks, Christmas lights, and Lite-Brites because it’s time to make someone’s day – at night. Decorate your cars with lights and adorn yourself with glow necklaces and bracelets. Add a wow factor with LED dancers, fire performers, or fireworks! If your neighborhood allows for it, you can even set up a laser light show as a grand finale.
Color outside the lines
We know this post is about themes, but we’re okay with you throwing away the playbook! Simply make your birthday parade full of color with a rainbow of balloons, streamers, signs, and more. A stilt walker, hoop dancer, or juggler in a cheerful outfit can bring some oohs and ahhs, while a strolling mime or clown can add some laughs. Don’t forget a colorful emcee like a sassy drag queen or comedian to lead the procession!
2. Spread the word
Once you have your birthday parade theme set, it’s time to get your friends and family involved. The easiest way to organize your group is likely a Facebook event so that people can discuss their decorations and ask questions.
Be sure to work with an inside person to coordinate when the birthday guest will be available to watch the parade! It would also be a good idea to let those who live on the street know what’s happening so they can join the fun (or aren’t caught in the middle). A notification on Nextdoor or maybe a cute flyer made on Canva would be a great way to spread the word.
3. Document your success
You’ve just put together an incredible memory that will last a lifetime! You don’t want that to fade away. Consider having a friend or professional videographer or photographer record the event to share with those who couldn’t attend. We’re living through unprecedented times and it will be neat to look back and see how we came together to spread some joy.
It’s been so heartwarming to see all the examples of amazing birthday parades and we hope we can make yours a hit, too!
Note: When you’re making your plans for a birthday parade, please ensure that you’re sticking to local ordinances and recommendations from the CDC regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. Stay a safe distance away (generally 6 feet) and wear masks if necessary. As much fun as parades can be, they’re not worth risking your or your loved ones’ health.