Valentine’s Day, Singles Awareness Day or, as Liz Lemon would call it, Anna Howard Shaw Day. Whether you anticipate, dread or attempt to ignore February 14th, one truth remains: no matter how sweet this holiday was intended to be, it has the stigma of being completely cheesy. It’s no wonder that everyone thinks of those same cheap, red chocolate boxes; candlelit dinners; Hallmark cards and tiny fuzzy bears wearing mini T-shirts that read, “I heart you.” But collegiettes, it’s a new year, and this year, February 14 is not going to be cheesy. Why? Because HC is here to help make it creative. Here are 10 creative things for you, your SO and all your friends to do on Valentine’s Day.
1. Chocolate making
We know we just put chocolate in the cheesy category, but making your own? That’s creative—not to mention cheap! How many times have you seen that golden Godiva box and just walked away because it was too pricey? No more, collegiettes. You and your SO (or your girls!) can bond over tasting too much of the recipe before it’s finished or even adding your own ingredients to the mix. And hey, if the recipe goes awry, switch to Plan B: Head to your favorite bakery and pig out! Find a chocolate recipe here.
2. Scavenger hunt
Pick out your favorite spots on campus as a couple and bury your clues there for the ultimate scavenger hunt. Your first clue can start off with a modern-day twist on the Cinderella: Instead of a glass slipper, leave behind a cowboy boot or a five-inch heel, and set your prince or princess out to find you on campus. You can even have your friends pitch in to help your SO out with the clue process. Have your SO set up a scavenger hunt for you, too, so that he or she won’t have to do all the hunting.
3. Middle school dance
Maybe it’s just our desire to relive the age where Britney Spears just wanted to hit it one more time and Ricky Martin was livin’ la vida loca, or maybe it’s just a well-known fact that the '90s was the best decade EVER, and we were too young to really appreciate it. So put a playlist together of the greatest hits, invite some friends over and rage like it’s 1999. You can slow dance and have all the cheesy games like Spin the Bottle or Seven Minutes in Heaven. You can have bowls of punch and tortilla chips and those metallic balloons that read “Be Mine.” If you really want to kick it up a notch, you and your guests can even dress up like your favorite pop stars of the decade. Because there ain’t no party like a Valentine’s Party.
The paintball scene in 10 Things I Hate About You? Those weren’t paint streaks, guys, they were fireworks. And if it was good enough for Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles, it’ll be amazing for you and your SO. An all-out paint war? And bragging rights if you win? Doesn’t get much better than that. Not to mention that when your single friends ask what you and your SO did on Valentine’s Day, this response won’t make them want to barf.
5. Ice-skating or roller-blading
Nothing says love like someone who’s there to catch you when you fall. Literally. Whether you’re both Olympic skating champs or only one of you could really work a job at Sonic, it doesn’t matter—it’s bound to be fun whizzing around the skating rink, holding hands. Or holding on to the railing, holding hands. And if your school has an ice hockey rink that’s open to students, say hello to free fun!
6. Movie night drinking game
Valentine's Day (maybe too obvious of a choice, but we’ll take it), Crazy, Stupid, Love. (Ryan Gosling’s abs? Happy Valentine’s Day to you!) and [insert any romantic comedy here]—it’s time for Valentine’s Day movie night with a twist. Add a bowl of popcorn and some champagne (if you’re 21+), and you’re good to go. The rules are up to you and your SO—for example, any time someone casts a longing look or says, “She’s… I don’t know… different,” bottoms up. Just make sure you play this game responsibly (i.e., don’t drink every time Ryan Gosling looks hot).
7. Hot air balloon
If you’re willing to shell out the big bucks—and we do mean big bucks—soaring through the sky in a hot air balloon is the way to go. Sharing a beautiful bird's-eye view for two and pointing to a cloud you just passed— “Hey, I think that one’s cloud nine.”—makes for the best Valentine’s Day adventure EVER.
How was bad boy Jess from Gilmore Girls able to wiggle his way between Rory and Dean? That’s right, a picnic. So gather up all your favorite foods and a nice, comfy blanket and head to the big outdoors. And for extra fun, write each other love notes—or, even better, love haikus (always bound to be a great laugh). If the weather’s bad, take the picnic indoors!
From star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet to that scene in A Walk to Remember when Landon makes a telescope for Jamie, nothing says "romantic" like the stars. Not only will you learn a lot on Valentine’s Day, it’s practically like being in a space zen garden—the soothing music, the changing sky, the audience noise at an absolute minimum. So look up the planetarium near you to check the times and the cost, and get ready for some stargazing.
10. Camping indoors
If The Parent Trap was your favorite movie growing up, then maybe you've decided camping is everything but romantic: mosquito bites, lizards in your hair, waking up to find that your mattress is floating in the middle of a lake. No thanks (although we’ll take Dennis Quaid)! If you take the camping indoors, however, that’s a whole other story. You can build your own fort in your dorm room—or really go wild and actually set up a tent in there—pull out the blankets, pillows, marshmallows and flashlights, and you’re ready for an imaginary camping adventure. You can tell scary stories, make shadow puppets, have pillow fights—whatever you want! And you can guarantee you won’t be covered in bug bites the next morning.