Families use vehicle parades to celebrate children's birthdays while maintaining distance

Throwing a birthday party within physical distancing guidelines can be tough for parents. But friends and families are using vehicle parades to celebrate safely in a pandemic.

On Saturday, nine vehicles decked out in balloons and signs drove by the home of three-year-old Hali Eben in Slave Lake, Alta. As her father held her, the vehicles’ 29 passengers, including her friends and their families, wished Hali a happy birthday as her dad held her two metres away.

“It was a little emotional, honestly,” said Jessica Eben, Hali’s mother.

“I was so happy to see everyone and to see her so happy, because I was really sad that she wasn’t going to get to have her birthday party.”

Across the country, parents are trying to find ways to celebrate their children’s birthdays. Aside from using video chats, parades like what was planned for Hali are becoming popular.

In Hay River, N.W.T a group of volunteers and parents are making birthday parades a weekly event every Friday until physical distancing restrictions are lifted.

Nearly 30 vehicles paraded through the town last Friday in celebration of any teens or children who had a birthday the week prior.

As for Hali, she was mostly excited about the candy, but her mother hopes this birthday will stand out as especially unique.

“It’s definitely turned into something more than I ever could have imagined,” Jessica Eben said. “Hopefully she really remembers it.”

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