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 14, 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 fuzzy bears wearing mini T-shirts that read, “I heart you.”
But friends, it’s a new year, and this year, February 14 is not going to be cheesy. Why? Because I'm here to help make it creative. Here are 10 ideas of things for you, your SO and all your friends to do on Valentine’s Day.
1. Chocolate making
I know I 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? You and your partner (or your friends!) 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 eat your heart out.
2. Scavenger hunt
Pick out your favorite spots on campus as a couple and bury your clues there for the ultimate scavenger hunt. You can even have your friends pitch in to help your partner out with the clue process. Have your partner set up a scavenger hunt for you, too, so that way they won’t have to do all the hunting.
3. Middle school dance
Maybe it’s just my desire to relive the age where Britney Spears 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 were 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 partner. An all-out paint war? And bragging rights if you win? Doesn’t get much better than that.
5. Movie night drinking game
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 partner. For example, anytime someone casts a longing look or says, “She’s… I don’t know… different,” bottoms up. Just make sure you play this game responsibly (meaning: don’t drink every time Ryan Gosling looks hot).
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.
7. 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.