Like everyone else, I have a manic lifestyle. I juggle two jobs, a large group of friends and an equally large family. It makes it difficult to fit it all in. In some ways it makes it very difficult to maintain good relationships with everyone I care most about.
Pre-pandemic, my partner and I came up with an idea. What if I could not only catch up with my friends, but also make sure they (and we) have a great time, try news things, and help maintain strong relationships? Fun Night Fridays was born. We chose Friday to give us something to look forward to at the end of the week, to do something a little different that wasn’t just takeaway in front of the TV. Each month we coordinate an event through Facebook or WhatsApp and invite our friends to come to ours. Everyone may not be able to attend every event we plan but there’s that’s the beauty of Fun Night Friday, there is always next months and another chance to catch up with each other.
We decided to theme each event to give us all something new to do, some fun to look forward to, and a little bit of excitement to each event. To help inspire you, and hopefully encourage you to start a new tradition too, we share our Fun Night Friday suggestions. We’ve put together some in-person and virtual ideas so that whatever happens over the next few months you can still meet up and have some fun and have something to look forward to.
Movie under the stars
It’s a themed night we talk about a lot here at AGL and that’s because it’s just so simple, fun, and everyone loves it. All you need is a HD projector which you can pick up for less than £50, a speaker, X-box (or any other streaming device), and a sheet to project on to, just make sure it’s stretched tight. The only difficult decision is what to watch! You could even run a poll through your event page to see what film would be most popular, with your suggestions driving it. If you get a good WIFI signal in the garden, you could stream any of the shows on Disney+, Netflix or Amazon Prime, the possibilities of finding a movie everyone will enjoy is endless. Some of our favourites include The Greatest Showman and Coco.
For snacks, we served homemade popcorn, marshmallows, and hot chocolate. Don’t forget to encourage everyone to bring a blanket to stay warm, chairs if you need more, and place outdoor lights or candles strategically around the seating area for more ambiance.
For when you can’t be together physically, you can still share a movie together.
How to watch Disney+ with friends and family
Watch Disney+ with friends and family, using the GroupWatch function. As long as each household has a Disney+ account, you can all watch the same movie/show together. Here’s how:
- Simply select the movie.
- On the far right, tap the icon with 3 figures on it.
- Get a link which you can share with 6 others.
- You can then react along or chat in a group chat on WhatsApp.
- Anyone can start the movie, pause, rewind etc. at any point.
Watch Netflix shows on Teleparty (formally Netflix Party)
- Get the Teleparty extension for your desktop/laptop (only available on desktop/laptop).
- Open the video you want to watch.
- Create a Teleparty and share with up to 50 friends- again they all need a Netflix account to be able to watch along.
- You can also chat to each other in a virtual room.
Have a watch party on Amazon Prime.
- Click the Watch Party icon to select a movie or series.
- Choose your chat name.
- Copy link/share with up to 100 friends.
- When you’re ready, you can watch together and chat along.
- Only the host can play, pause etc.
Escape rooms are hugely popular and if getting out and about to experience one is a bit tricky for you, you could always host your own escape room! The link above gives you everything you need to pull this off at home, including theme ideas, puzzles and answers. We did this at previous Halloween (when we could meet in person) and it went down really well. In fact, it’s still talked about today.
Do a virtual room escape with friends
You can also co-ordinate a virtual room escape with your friends. We gave Bewilder Box, The Bruce Project a try and found this to be a really good online one as you can share a Zoom or Teams call to discuss puzzles and moves but each control and access the ‘room’ so you’re both very active and involved. They were really interesting puzzles and challenges and everyone seemed to really enjoy it.
As the colder weather starts to set in, bring your Fun Night Friday indoors with a board games night. Set up several different games around the house and encourage everyone to rotate from time to time so they get a chance to catch up with everyone and have lots of fun in the process. You can’t beat a bit of classic gaming for this, get the Monopoly, Cluedo and Articulate out and some old school games like chess and draughts too! There are some fantastic modern boardgames too which are extremely inclusive. We covered many of them in our Christmas Gift Guide, but have recently picked up Ticket to Ride which is easy to learn and very simple to play but highly competitive and requires some deep thinking at times.
Can’t be together? You can play some of the classics virtually too!
Following on from the above, why not host a classic computer games night. Dust off the Mario/ Mario Kart series, Sonic, Knowledge is Power, Donkey Kong etc. and have a computer game marathon.
We also love Jack Box TV games where you use your smartphone as a controller to answer a series of questions in quiz games or silly drawing games. It’s a great series you can download to your games console or TV that has been really popular with lots of our friends.
Play computer games with friends over Zoom
The best way to do this is via Steam which you can download to your computer, buy one of the Jack Box packs (we’d recommend 3 or 7); which ranges from £19 to £25 (but has several games within) and sharing your screen and sound via Zoom, you can play with up to 6 friends in a virtual space!
Host a cocktails night. Encourage your friends to bring a bottle of something and just go crazy creating lots of different drinks you can all enjoy. Take it in turns to make something different for a person you draw out of a hat or theme the event around a particular spirit or country. You could even go off cocktails you find from a cocktails book or from a lesson you’ve all enjoyed together in the past.
Your bound to have lots of laughs and may even discover your new favourite drink. Check out our drinks guide for some inspiration.
Even if you’re not much of a gambler, a Vegas themed event is always good fun. You could simply organise a cards night that focuses on some classic Vegas games like Poker or Black Jack or incorporate some of your favourites and encourage your friends to show you theirs (we mean favourite card games). Or, if you have the equipment, or know someone that does, roll in a game of roulette or craps too.
Whether you love it or hate it karaoke is a fun night! Ply your friends with alcohol first to give them the encouragement to get up there and blast out a Ballard but if they really don’t fancy it, don’t push it otherwise it could sour the night. The beauty is, you’re among friends and not performing in front of strangers. Use a game like Singstar to help you pull off your karaoke night.
Make sure you incorporate a Christmas themed gathering into your social calendar and get the date in the diaries sooner rather than later as everyone gets super busy on the countdown to the biggest holiday of the year.
Don’t worry about planning activities for this one, though there are plenty of Christmas related games you could play. Instead, just provide lots of comforting drinks like warm apple punch, Baileys hot chocolate and some homemade mince pies to toast in the season.
If there are only a few people attending, how about hosting a dinner party? If you love to cook this is an easy event to organise, then enjoy all your hard work with your closest friends and simply relax for the rest of the evening. You could even make it themed so you have an Italian feast with Italian themed cocktails or Mexican served with Margaritas! Be inspired by our recipe and drinks guide to help you pull off your dinner party.
In the meantime, why not have a meal together over Zoom. You could cook a meal together (share a recipe and work from it at the same time) or get a takeaway in; the idea is just to enjoy a meal together and be social. Don’t put any pressure on yourselves.
Ok, so you may be sick to your back teeth of quizzes, especially over the last year when it was the simple way to stay connected. But there’s nothing quite like getting together for a pub quiz, so when you can, host your own! As most of our friends are couples, we organised our friends into teams of two and coordinated several rounds.
We did the following rounds which you’d typically see at a pub quiz
- A music round where we played snippets of 10 songs and encouraged our friends to note down song names and artists for a point for each.
- Recent events: picking out events from the last few weeks to form our questions.
- Picture round where we took celebrity pictures from the internet.
- Sports: we asked our friends to write down as many of the 28 Olympic sports they could think of in 3 minutes.
- A book worms round focusing on titles of books and authors.
In between rounds we’d catch up on each other’s lives and the event was big laugh and a giggle. For snacks, we served chips, nuts and homemade potato wedges.
We hope you love our suggestions. Our Fun Night Friday is a day we look forward to every month and ensures we maintain our relationships with our closest friends. It’s even a fantastic opportunity to see those you don’t get to see all that often.
Do you have any more suggestions for themes? We’d love to hear from you, share your ideas in the comments below.