Spring/Summer of 2020 is shaping out to be the season of the Birthday Car Parade, at least it is here in the suburbs of NY. The plague of the pandemic canceled everyone’s graduations, anniversaries, and birthday parties.
We’re all feeling the weight from the nationwide pause and the uncertainty in the economy, not to mention this crazy virus. For me, the most significant stress has come from watching the effect this isolation has had on my almost 4-year-old son. He’s always been very social and involved in tons of extracurriculars, so naturally, with the quarantine, he’s been out of his element. Pair that with the adaptation to his new role as a big brother, the poor kid’s world is upside down.
To make matters worse, we had to cancel his 4th birthday party, which would have been this weekend. It breaks my heart. As much as I want to, I can’t make this all go away for him – so instead, I’m going to do whatever I can to make this birthday as memorable for him as possible. One of those things is a Birthday Car Parade. In my area they’re very popular, we’ve been to about 7 in the past month. It’s a great way to show love from a distance and celebrate the birthday boy or girl in a powerful and fun way.
It doesn’t take too much to plan it, just like any other party, you simply pick a date and time for your parade and send out texts, emails, or make a Facebook event. About 15 minutes before the parade, the cars all meet in a nearby parking lot to line up and decorate. Decorations range from homemade signs, and store-bought banners, balloons, and chalk marker messages painted on windows. My go-to decorations are printing out this child’s name in big letters (like the ones I posted here) and affixing them to the side of my car with blue painter’s tape.
Aside from just decorating their cars, some people dress up in costumes (like a dinosaur or a superhero), and some bring props (like bubbles or silly string). The entire object is to just bring as much joy as possible to the little one who had to cancel their planned birthday, and honestly, it really does.
I can’t put to words the pure happiness on a child’s face when they see all of their little friends driving by their house, beeping their horns and chanting their name. It blesses the family to experience the outpouring of love from their community, and now it’s our turn.
We have a parade set up for late Sunday morning, so I will have time to decorate a little beforehand. I ordered balloons from our local party supply store to wrap around the front columns on our house and to cluster around our lawn. I also ordered this giant happy birthday lawn sign from hobby lobby. I haven’t taken it out of the box yet, so fingers crossed it’s not junk.
It’s not the big superhero birthday we had planned, I’m not ordering a giant fondant covered character cake – I’m making my own. As with everything else lately, we’re going back to a simpler time. I’m hoping that towards the end of the summer the craziness in the world will die down and I’ll be able to throw him a small backyard gathering with his closest little pals, but only time will tell.
Have you ever been to a Birthday Car Parade, or has the pandemic hit during your child’s birthday?
How did you celebrate them, I’d love to hear about it.
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