5 Fun Virtual Happy Hour Ideas

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June 29, 2020

This page includes our list of virtual happy hour ideas.

Virtual happy hour ideas are ways to increase the fun and engagement for attendees of virtual happy hours. For example, ideas may included themes or team activities.

Specifically, this list includes:

  • virtual happy hour ideas with coworkers
  • fun virtual happy hour ideas
  • virtual happy hour ideas for work

And more 🙂

That’s a good start though, so let’s get into it.

List of virtual happy hour ideas

We compiled this list of fun virtual happy hour ideas to inspire better virtual meetings. These ideas are meant to span the duration of the happy hour, so you could also think of them as virtual happy hour themes.

1. Murder Mystery

Murder Mystery game mechanics work well in virtual conference rooms because the experience is mostly talking, listening and playing detective. You can plan your own Murder Mystery, get one out of a box, or work with us to do a Murder in Ancient Egypt themed event.

2. 80s Party

In the early 2000s, retro 80s parties were all the rage on college campuses across North America. Now, you can have your Vanilla Ice and eat it too, with an online 80s Party during your next virtual happy hour.

A successful 80s themed party has several key elements:

  1. 80s music. Your playlist will probably include Michael Jackson, MC Hammer and Kris Kross.
  2. 80s clothing. Bring your colorful swag and shiny bling.
  3. 80s hairdos. You don’t have to cut your hair into a mullet, but you could.

Here is some inspiration for your party:

You could choose another decade for your virtual happy hour theme too, for example the 50s.

3. Halloween Any Time

In the real world, sometimes it is Halloween and sometimes it isn’t. Online, you can have Halloween any damn time you please.

Halloween Any Time is a way to do virtual happy hours with a haunted aesthetic. Here is how it works:

  1. Encourage your team members to dress up in Halloween costumes.
  2. Prepare spooky backgrounds for the virtual conference call.
  3. Ask icebreaker questions like “where would you haunt for all of eternity?
  4. Tell ghost stories.

Halloween Any time is a fun way to get together that breaks the normal expectations of what a virtual happy should be. You can do iterations on this idea with Christmas Any Time or Thanksgiving Any Time, but Halloween is better.

4. Ocean’s 5 or So

Ocean’s 11 is a heist movie that includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts and some other fancy people. George Clooney, like me, was recently spotted in the Canary Islands.

Ocean’s 5 or So is an activity you can do during virtual happy hours that explores similar concepts. For this activity, assign your people to small breakout rooms with around five people. Each group must develop a wildly ambitious heist of a high-profile target. When you bring everyone back to the main room, have the groups present their devious plans and vote on which one is most likely to succeed.

5. Staring Contests

One idea for virtual happy hours is to hold a staring contest. Choose two people to face off and see who blinks first. The winner then competes against the next person and so on. A staring contest often ends super quickly, so you should combine this idea with others on the list.

Conclusion

For now, that is our list of virtual happy hour ideas. For further inspiration, check out 5 Virtual Happy Hour Games to Play With Coworkers.

I encourage you to develop your own ideas for virtual happy hours too. When you come up with something unique that matches your company culture, it can be 10x more powerful than an idea you read on an internet list.

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Author: Michael Alexis

CEO of teambuilding.com. I write about my experience working with and leading remote teams since 2010.

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Comments & Reactions ✨
  1. Kat
    April 27, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    I think a fabulous addition to a 50s Party would be the “Jello Recipe of Doom” Everyone could search to find the most baffling example of a “Jello Recipe of Doom” (ie shrimp jello salad) to share with the team – bonus points if anyone is willing to make and *eat* their contribution. This could lead to a fun discussion about how Americans’ tastes have changed over the years and what other foods were nothing more than a brief fad (green ketchup anyone?)

    Reply
  2. Holly Painter
    April 27, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    A fun edition to the Halloween Anytime Happy Hour would be an icebreaker of ways your past life would have lived and died. Examples of this include: Being a scrappy girl who disguises herself as a boy to work on a boat and then dies from scurvy; Being a solider in the trenches during one of the World Wars and then dying of trench foot; Being an aristocrat during the French Revolution and being guillotined. At first, this game may seem weird and not fun, but trust me, people come up with the craziest stuff that will have everyone laughing.

    Reply
  3. Olivia Nappo
    April 27, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    I think a great team building game would be a game of “Team Clue”. Each individual person in the group would be given a name, a character to play the roll of, an occupation, and one tool that works with them and their occupation. There has been a problem, whether it is a murder or a robbery, and there has to be clues to try and narrow down who did it!

    Reply
  4. Katie
    April 27, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    Due to quarantine, everyone has riffling through the depths of their pantries and refrigerators to find what they need to cook dinner while staying at home. Test your coworkers’ new-found cooking and problem solving skills by competing in “Chopped: Seclusion Showdown.” All Contestants must use a set list of ingredients that they are likely to already have such as instant coffee, over-ripe bananas, canned chicken, and frozen corn. Each person is also able to add any other ingredients they have handy to enhance their dish to create a magnificent meal in under an hour. When time is up, contestants will be judged on their creativity, presentation, and appetite appeal (how many of their coworkers would be willing to try the dish). This game gets you out from behind your desks to engage in a little friendly competition.

    Reply
  5. Ana Ortiz
    April 27, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    Great ideas the 5 of them! Loved them and would like to practice a few.
    I think that for “Staring Contests” what would be even better is for the participants to have a silly/funny hat! I bet they’d laugh after some time and would blink faster lol!

    Reply
  6. Judy Robles
    April 27, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    Making arts and crafts and teaching all of them on a video chat is great more now with The Covid Quarantine.
    You can also create a challenge to do while we are at home something we always wanted to learn for example : learn a new dish, learn to bake etc.

    Reply
  7. Kasey Sobey
    April 28, 2020 at 1:17 am

    I think a great addition to virtual happy hours would be a spin on hide and seek – you could have one person come up with a list of items around the house to find, set a timer and the person who finds the most items in the least amount of time would win. This could easily be turned into a drinking game as well!

    Reply
  8. Kim
    April 28, 2020 at 2:14 am

    I think bringing the name of your favorite 80s television show and saying/tagline are fun additions!

    Reply
  9. Nisha Rele
    April 28, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    A spicy addition to the Halloween Any Time would be to make your favorite drink but with a spooky twist! Another way to break the ice could be to tell funny stories about previous Halloween costumes and experiences.

    Reply
  10. Katelyn Royer
    April 28, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    These are all great ideas! I think something like a virtual scavenger hunt would be fun to try out. Encourages teams to think outside the box, test their internet sleuthing skills, and is sure to cause a bunch of laughs!

    Reply
  11. Muhammad Qasim
    April 28, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    Waooo. Great ideas. It’s fun with learning.
    Usually when you go with this kind of activities with different back ground people so you learn allot from it.

    Reply
  12. Deandria Spells
    April 28, 2020 at 9:52 pm

    I think the staring contest would be great mixed with truth or dare. The loser has to do a dare or something related to losing a bet. For example, loser buys drinks for the team or something like that. My favorite of these was the 80’s party. It would be great to play scattergories with 80’s icons.

    Reply
  13. Shannon Lange
    April 28, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    An idea I think would be really fun and provide a unique twist to a virtual happy hour would be a pet party. Each person would invite their pet (of whatever species) to be with them for the party, or as long as they wanted to be there. For those who don’t have or want pets, challenge them to create their own pet- a rock, a plant, make something from toys or food. This helps make everyone excited about animals or other cute things, while also giving people a chance to socialize more.

    Reply
  14. Christina Bulow
    April 28, 2020 at 11:10 pm

    I think fun Virtual Happy Hour idea would be a Trivia Night. Players can compete individually or as a team to see who knows the most. Rounds could be traditional Q&A, charades-style, guess-the-drawing, or encourage the use of props found in home or offices to encourage everyone to participate.

    Reply
  15. Macenzi
    April 28, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    I think a great addition to the 80s/Decades Party could be activities such as trivia, guessing games, musical chairs, costume contests, and so on. Giving the happy hour a specific agenda could increase engagement and allow for even more fun to be had. Trivia and guessing games could involve questions about the decade’s fashion, technology, lingo, and pop culture. Musical chairs could be played to songs from the decade’s top 100. The costume contest could have categories that are relevant to the decade (i.e, a 60s Party where everyone votes on “Grooviest Costume”). Another similar idea could be to break people into teams and assign each group a decade. From there, each team dresses the part and competes in a series of games, trivia, and contests to determine which is the “best” decade.

    Reply
  16. Amelia Rosch
    April 29, 2020 at 12:32 am

    Another fun virtual happy hour idea would be a twist on the “decades” party but have the theme be “Gen Z”. Instead of pulling out your best 60s or 80s looks and remember trivia about the 1970s, you’d get to see your office mates try to figure out what tiktok is and how to do the Renegade. Bonus points if anyone brings a Hydroflask!

    Reply
  17. Nina Jordan
    April 29, 2020 at 1:06 am

    Hi! I think a great idea would be a storytelling singing game, where starting with one person would sing a note and/or word and going in order (either alphabetically or where their picture appears on the screen) the next person would jump in and sing their own note and word, and the challenge would be to make a song that makes sense! It could be played with just two people to make it easier, and then whoever sings a weird note or says something that doesn’t make sense would be out and the next person has to jump in! This could also be done in reverse, where the challenge is to not make any sense, and whoever says something that makes sense loses and it’s on to the next person!

    Reply
  18. Ruth Cabrera
    April 29, 2020 at 1:30 am

    Hello.
    All of these are fun ideas, but how about having a virtual talent show happy hour. Just as we’ve seen in the Miss America competition, or movies like Napoleon Dynamite – whether done with co-workers, friends, or family – once a week there can be 2-3 performers showing off their talents through music, dance, magic tricks, impersonations, or being able to put lipstick on with no hands while holding it between your breast, etc.; Ideas are limitless. By the end of the virtual happy hour talent show the group could then vote and handout virtual trophies to the first, second, and third place winners. For the following virtual talent show happy hours, the previous contestants can each pick the next performer, and so on. Activities like these give us an opportunity to see how each one of us has some unique talent to offer, no matter how silly it may be or look. Bringing together people through laughter and creativity, particularly in a times like this, is a great way to connect with others in ways that we may not have ever experienced.

    Reply
  19. Natalie Schobert
    April 29, 2020 at 3:23 am

    All five are great ideas! It would be fun to have an arts & craft where people can color in coloring books or apps, work on a project, paint, weaving, knitting, jewelry, embroidery, and string art. This would allow everyone to bring out their creativity and fun to create something that is physical.

    Reply
  20. Alexis Giller
    April 29, 2020 at 4:10 am

    I think a fun virtual happy hour idea would be to play a game of “Who’s Most Likely To?” Players can either look up questions online and share screen or come up with questions on their own. Then someone will say their question and after, all players will simultaneously say the name of the person that they think is most likely to do that question. Which ever player gets the most shoutouts drinks. This is a fun way to make happy hour more exciting and to get to know the people you are doing it with even more!

    Reply
  21. Beth Fraser
    April 29, 2020 at 4:56 am

    Dressing up is a great way to up the fun factor on virtual happy hours, and it’s especially fun to dress up as another person in the office! You can have participants imitate the style and mannerisms of coworkers–even make their favorite drink. Facilitators may be interested in assigning partners before the party so that other guests have to guess who is who. This also offers the opportunity to foster connections between people who might not already know each other well. Participants are encouraged to get in touch with their partner ahead of time to learn about their passions, style, and role in the office community. The winner of the identity-swap can be awarded for their effort and engagement with a fun prize like a month-long subscription to Disney Plus or a DIY cocktail kit.

    Reply
  22. Taylor C.
    April 29, 2020 at 6:18 am

    If you’re looking for a virtual happy hour game – I am a Bingo fanatic. On Tuesdays, I accompany my friend’s Grandma to our Community Centre for Bingo Night. Bingo would be an easy happy hour event to bring online.

    Distribute the player cards to all coworkers via email for print. Carefully select a bingo caller you feel will really fit the part: Possibly suggest they dress up, take on an accent, turn up the heat with their attitude, the bigger the personality, the better the calls, the better the time. Have them download a virtual ball tank The caller shares their screen and calls the game. Easy to implement and get everyone on board and beyond fun! Depending on budget, maybe even throw in some awesome prizes for each “B-I-N-G-O!”.

    P.S. Happy Hour – Karaoke Edition… count me in!

    Reply
  23. Christina
    April 29, 2020 at 10:46 am

    I think a good twist on the Ocean’s 5 Happy Hour would be a “Mafia Happy Hour”. For this the facilitator would pre-determine everyone in the group as one of the following characters: townsperson, mafia and doctor. Depending on the size of the group there could be one each of mafia and doctor or there could be multiple for a large group. The rest of the people would be townspeople.
    All the townspeople have been told ahead of time by the facilitator the “sign” for each character, Mafia and Doctor. If you see someone give you a special sign than you know that the Mafia has killed you or if you’re already dead the Doctor has revived you. The group just has a regular happy hour but meanwhile the Mafia starts killing. He/She does this by making eye contact with someone while delivering the “sign”. If killed the person has to say “Mafia killed me. I’m dead” They still participate in the happy hour and the Doctor could revive them. The rest of the people have to figure out who is the Mafia before the majority of the people are dead.

    Reply
  24. Jack
    April 29, 2020 at 11:15 am

    Yes And…

    Improv comics can tell amazing stories that have audience shouting “You must have planned that!” because it seems impossible that they made it up on the spot.

    This team building activity teaches the foundational rules of improv, so your team can make up wild stories, play hilarious games and develop new skills. Studies show that improv is useful for increasing team dynamics, EQ and having heaps of fun.

    Reply
  25. Jack
    April 29, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    Is everyone feeling lucky? My idea piggybacks off of murder mystery with a virtual game of Yahtzee. We start by grabbing a cold beverage, mocking up our scoresheets as a team, and then we starting rolling the dice. Not a fan of Yahtzee, let’s play Pictionary. Not in the mood to draw, we got Apples to Apples. Board games are a blast and are a great way to get to know your team!

    Reply
  26. Elizabeth
    April 29, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    I think a fun activity would be interviewing one another, asking a question like, what was your favorite childhood memory? Or perhaps tailor the questions based on the company.

    Reply
  27. Susan
    April 29, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    Virtual Happy Hour opportunity: “I Spy” using what appears around your coworkers in their WFH stations. Great way to learn more about your teammates! To take it up a notch, coworkers can plant company objects in the background for a more “Where’s Waldo” experience.

    Reply
  28. Lindsay
    April 29, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    Another idea is to have a game where each player has a specific word they are not allowed to say. It can be simple words such as “like” or “what” or more specific/job related such as “client” or “project”. Whenever a player says a forbidden word they have to drink, or you can play where they get an additional forbidden word. This game is good because you can tailor it to a happy hours needs based on the objective or group of people.

    Reply
  29. Jill
    April 29, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    The starting contest is always fun and funny. It might be interested to have people go against pets or people and their pet against another person and their pet. The pet to get added once the people are staring; a surprise element that might cause another person to falter.

    Reply
  30. Maggie
    April 29, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    Kick the 80’s theme night up a notch with a “Name That Song” competition! Mix it up with a different decade/genre for each round (70’s disco; 80’s classic rock; 90’s pop). The winner gets to pick the next happy hour theme, or raise the stakes with a cash prize!

    Reply
  31. Olli
    April 29, 2020 at 6:13 pm

    A Virtual “Paint & Sip” could be fun. Find a famous painting everyone can easily replicate, and participants partake in whatever wine or cocktail they’ve got lying around at home and whatever art supplies they have access to. Each person makes their own interpretation of the painting, but it doesn’t even have to be an exact reproduction of the original painting, it can be one’s own perception of it, like a play on the title or the theme of the painting! People share their thoughts and inventions at 15 min intervals!

    Reply
  32. Samantha Axam-Hocker
    April 29, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    I think a virtual fashion show would be fun! Everyone can put together their most unique outfit with anything they have laying around the house that they would like to use. They don’t just have to use clothes. It can be anything. Like a pillow dress!

    Reply
  33. Nicole
    April 29, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    For the “Halloween Any Time” happy hour, you could add Halloween Pictionary – divvy up into teams and have participants draw Halloween-themed concepts. You could also have a “Candy Corn Horrors” competition and invite everyone to create something out of a certain # of candy corns. I’ve never met anyone who actually wants to eat those little nasties – they’re really designed for edible art projects and jewelry…and everyone will be able to participate because no matter age, gender, background – most everyone has had experiences of Halloween (not so with 80s themes or Ocean’s 11).

    Reply
  34. Kiki Adami
    April 29, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    Scavenger hunt! Depending on the technology, the attendees could create groups and whichever team is able to get the most things on the Scavenger list gets a prize (Think off-site lunch sponsored by the company or Gift Cards). It’s communal, competitive, interactive and it can be humorous because the lists could have slightly awkward items on it and when someone comes forward with that item, it creates humor and humility.

    Reply
  35. Marina
    April 29, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    I think a fun happy hour opportunity would be to play some sort of drinking game (that can be optional for those who choose not to drink). Games such as virtual cards against humanity, games by jackbox, virtual poker, or many other online options that are available for collaborative play. If thats not of interest playing a simple a game such as 7-13 could be a hoot! In this game you go around in the group and list the numbers one through thirteen but when you get to 7 you have to switch it to 13 and when you get to 13 you switch it so 7. Then at the end of the getting to the thirteenth number or 7 then you start to make up rules in exchange for one of the numbers. So for instance making the number 4 that you have to make animal noises instead of saying the number 4 when it comes to that number. The trick is to remember all the new added rules as the game goes on or you have to drink.

    Reply
  36. Kela
    April 29, 2020 at 11:29 pm

    A TikTok dance challenge. Pick 3-4 of the viral TikTok dances and try to learn them. Dances like Doja Cat’s Say So or the Renegade challenge. After learning the dances a team can work together and create a TikTok video and post it.

    Reply
  37. Joy
    April 29, 2020 at 11:33 pm

    Christmas in July – With a Twist might be a neat addition. In order to have Christmas in July we will need summertime foods that still follow the Christmas theme. Participants will be set into Break Out Rooms in small groups to field recipe ideas back and forth with each other. Each recipe must either use or include any of the following: cinnamon, ginger, or chestnuts. However, it does not have to be a dessert so if any team can come out with a full on meal using all three ingredients, then they can share that at the end when the groups come back into the Main Room.

    Reply
  38. Juan
    April 29, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    A firm that specializes in communications or in the IT realm would benefit from a game involving Logic Gates. Logic gates are how computers work. All computers work on commands such as yes, no, and, or, xor, not…etc. Each command can be represented by an avatar or icon. The goal would be to split the groups and given the same amount of icons. The goal would be to see which team can make the most efficient engine in a given amount of time.
    For example: Given a set of logic gates, your team must create a set in which a light bulb can be turned on by any button. The teams would then be given a lightbulb icon, two switches, and logic gates to make the device.

    Reply
  39. Katie
    April 30, 2020 at 12:50 am

    A name-based scavenger hunt would be an excellent way to show off individuals’ creativity while also allowing everyone to learn each others’ names and “favorite” things. For example, the list of team members would be in a specific order, then each team member would have 15-30 seconds to find an item in their home that matches the same letter of the team members’ name. It could then move on from there and have questions such as “grab your favorite snack food…” or “your favorite movie, book, etc”. Everyone could discuss in between rounds and allow the team members to learn each other’s likes and dislikes while building rapport.

    Reply
  40. Victor
    April 30, 2020 at 1:15 am

    All of these ideas are great. However, I believe the staring contest can be spiced up significantly. This can be changed with something like a staring contest royale: instead of one on one, everyone stares at each other and the last one standing wins.

    Another activity I had in mind was a virtual chess tournament. Chess is one of the oldest games around and is very easy to play (mastering it is another challenge). People can set up rounds accordingly with levels of skill until there is one winner.

    Reply
  41. Megan
    April 30, 2020 at 2:48 am

    It could be fun, and easy to arrange, for the happy hour crew to take part in some sort of trivia game. Every one for themselves, and the host of the happy hour can have some questions lined up about the industry, or basic information about the coworkers present. I’m definitely thinking about that episode of Friends where Rachel and Monica lose their apartment to Joey and Chandler! Prizes or other incentives could be a lot of fun too. There are so many virtual trivia nights now it could be a lot of fun to see how those work and incorporate it into your happy hour.

    Reply
  42. Steven
    April 30, 2020 at 6:49 am

    One fun idea would be to have a taco-building activity where there will be ingredients laid out for the team to make the tacos themselves. Or they can work together in prepping the ingredients and cooking them with recipes given to them. There can be a taco trivia asking about taco-related questions and providing fun fact about tacos.

    Reply
  43. Ashley
    April 30, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    Play pass the virtual question ball. Have someone in the group start the group off by answering a random question (there are many online sites you can do this with – I like: https://conversationstartersworld.com/random-question-generator/). Whoever answered the question gets to throw the “virtual ball” to the next person who then answers their random question. Continue this until everyone has gotten to answer at least one random question. This is a great way to get to know your co-workers better, build trust, and usually results in a lot of laughs.

    Reply
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