family sitting around decorated table eating fourth of July barbeque

How To Celebrate The 4th Of July While Social Distancing

Morgan McBride5-Minute Read
August 14, 2022

This summer is looking unlike any summer in recent history. Due to COVID-19, shutdowns and closures are commonplace. Even for events that are still happening, social distancing protocols mean that we don’t know how they might work or what they might look like.

One of the biggest celebrations of summer in the United States is the Fourth of July. Your traditional celebrations might not be quarantine-friendly, so here are some ideas to modify them and still enjoy and celebrate the holiday, despite the circumstances.


Having a picnic is a great way to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday. It is an outdoor activity that still feels special and unique. Pack family-favorite foods, plus a few things that feel special – like red, white and blue fruit salad or festive cupcakes.

If you do plan to meet up with people from outside your household, follow all social distancing protocols. Keep 6 feet between each other, maybe by setting up at picnic tables next to each other instead of together at one table. Each family should bring their own food and food should not be shared between families. Do not have a buffet-style meal. If you choose to grill, have one person do all of the grilling and distribute the food – don’t alternate people on the same grill.

Special Foods

Food is a big way that people love to celebrate special occasions, and the Fourth of July is no different. If your family is sad to stay home and miss the annual holiday party, consider going all-out on special foods instead. Fourth of July foods typically fall into one of two categories: red, white and blue foods and picnic or cookout foods.

Red, white and blue foods are really fun and festive options. Strawberries, blueberries and bananas are often used to make festive cakes, puddings or even fruit kebabs. Food coloring or sprinkles can be used to transform many desserts into mini flags. Consider creating a cheese plate with red fruit, white cheese and crackers and blue jelly!

If you want to be more traditional, go all-out on cookout foods. Select a special meat to grill – whether it’s brats, ribs or burgers, pick something that you know your family will love. Pair it with the party salad of your choice – potato salad and pasta salad being the most common. Then add a grilled veggie like corn on the cob. Top it all off with a delicious dessert like ice cream cookie sandwiches!


You can make your own backyard feel like more of a party place (even if no one is coming over) just by adding a few decorations. American flag bunting is a great option to hang from railings for an instant classic look. White twinkle lights add an instant festive feeling to any space. Red, white and blue streamers, balloons and banners are all inexpensive ways to bring the holiday into your home. And, of course, American flags big and small are crucial for getting in the Fourth of July mood.


Crafting is a great socially distanced activity. There are tons of American flag- and Fourth of July-inspired crafts that you can do! Gather boring flower pots and paint them to look like American flags. Or, make a clothespin wreath perfect for your festive front door. Finally, give yourself a red, white and blue manicure for the big day!

Kids who like to make things will love having a crafty Fourth of July. Consider making toilet paper rolls into confetti launchers that they can enjoy all weekend long. They can also use popsicle sticks to make miniature American flags that double as great party decor. When in doubt, gather red, white and blue paints, pom poms, felt and pipe cleaners and let the kids get creative.

Another fun idea is to make special Fourth of July T-shirts for your family to wear. You could use fabric paint and handprints to create flags, or use blue and red tie dye on white T-shirts for a relaxing activity and outfit in one!


Being stuck at home doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything fun. Backyard games such as cornhole, ladder toss and croquet are all perfect for the Fourth of July – assuming that you aren’t sharing equipment with anyone outside of your household.

If you have a lot of adults or older kids, consider writing up some Fourth of July-themed trivia questions for a competitive game. Younger kids love scavenger hunts. You could easily make a red, white and blue-themed version. Get creative and keep everyone busy so they aren’t thinking about the parties and parades that aren’t happening this year.

Outdoor Activities

If you want to celebrate the Fourth outdoors with just your family, there are a few options for fun activities. The easiest is to have a cookout in your own backyard. Cook something special and don’t forget the dessert! Since you’re staying home and will have access to a freezer, this is a great chance to celebrate with ice cream, popsicles or even an ice cream cake.

Even easier than a cookout is to have a fire in a fire pit. Fires can be started anytime during the day and run all afternoon long. Roast marshmallows, make s’mores and enjoy each other’s company around the fire.

If you want to get out from your own backyard but still stay socially distanced, go for a hike or walk somewhere special. Maybe there is a location a little bit further from home than you would usually drive but have had your eye on for a while. Use the Fourth of July as an excuse to make the trek! You also might plan to camp out at a favorite campground – assuming it’s open, of course.


Fireworks are a Fourth of July tradition, but many cities and towns have cancelled their annual displays due to COVID-19. If fireworks are legal in your state and city, you might consider putting on your own display.

You should put one person in your group in charge of the fireworks. That person should be an adult who is sober and experienced with fireworks. Fireworks should only be shot off in open spaces and pointed away from people. Observers should be spread out from non-household members and from the person shooting off fireworks.


If you do decide that you want to host or attend a Fourth of July party despite the risks, you should follow strict social distancing guidelines to avoid spreading the virus. First, be sure that your gathering size and location is legal – many states and cities have limits on the number of attendees allowed to gather indoors and out. It is important to keep parties to a small size even if you think that no one is sick.

The safest place to gather a group is outdoors. And, even if you are celebrating outdoors, people who are mingling and not keeping 6 feet of distance should still wear masks at all times.

As the host, you should take every precaution possible to ensure a safe event. Set up your chairs before the party and arrange them spaced out and ask people not to move the chairs from their spots. Sanitize all toys or equipment, like frisbees and balls, before people arrive and then again after the party. Provide hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes at several locations throughout the party area.

The Bottom Line

Fourth of July is not going to be typical this year. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything special to celebrate it. These ideas should help you plan a special day for your family to enjoy, despite the circumstances.

Morgan McBride

Morgan McBride is a DIY-lover and home decor enthusiast living in Charleston, South Carolina. She has been blogging at alongside her husband since 2012, where they empower their readers to craft their current home into their dream home through the power of DIY.