People Celebrated Their Birthdays with Drive-By Parties

Young girl sitting in front yard while parade of well-wishers drive by for birthday celebration
Artwork by Anthony Faust
Young girl sitting in front yard while parade of well-wishers drive by for birthday celebration

For those whose birthday fell around the beginning of the pandemic, it was a big old bummer. People genuinely felt bad and wanted to do something—anything—special for the birthday boy or girl.

The phenomenon of drive-by birthdays was created as stay-at-home orders were implemented and social distancing measures were put in place. People were forced to find new and creative ways to celebrate special occasions, such as birthdays. The drive-by birthday party was one such solution.

The idea was simple, ingenious, and heart-warming at the same time. Just like a regular party, invitations were sent out. The planner would coordinate a time and invited friends and family would gather in their cars at a predetermined spot, around the corner from the birthday person’s house. Vehicles would stage up and wait until everyone arrived. Then, in a big, long parade, the well-wishers would all drive by the birthday person's house, honking, waving, and holding up signs to wish them a happy birthday, while the birthday person would sit out in their front yard, receiving all the attention and love from the passing by vehicles.

Some people even decorated their cars with streamers and balloons to make the occasion more festive. People could hand their cards and gifts out their windows, sometimes placing the cards in a mailbox and gifts on a table. But nobody made physical contact with each other. It was an efficient way to show somebody they were special without breaking any social distancing rules.

One thing that made drive-by birthdays so special was the sense of community and togetherness they fostered. Despite being physically separated from one another, people were still able to come together and show their love and support for their friends and families.

The drive-by birthday trend also had the added benefit of providing a much-needed break from the monotony of quarantine life. For many people, the daily routine of staying at home had become quite tedious, and the excitement and novelty of a drive-by birthday party provided a welcome change of pace. It was as fun for the people driving by as the person sitting in their front yard.

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Picture of author Anthony Faust

About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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