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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and just because we’re living in a pandemic doesn’t mean you can’t spend some quality time with your significant other. Whether you and your SO are true-crime lovers, adventurous, artsy, or just want to spend some quality time together, there are still many things you can do while stuck inside during this crazy time.

Solve your own murder mystery

For all the crime lovers, this affordable, fun mystery game is perfect activity to spice up your Valentine’s Day. For only $30, you can order a super realistic, unsolved case file from Amazon. Basically, you and your SO would read through the case file’s documents, photos and evidence. You then solve the three objections to move through the case and get more evidence to “convict” the killer. After solving the case, you can check the online answer key to prove you solved the case. If you need hints or feel stumped, you can find them in the online answer key, too. If you want to solve multiple, or have already tried one before, don’t worry! They have a variety of different cases. Order in some takeout from your favorite restaurant and make a night out of it!

Have a wine & paint night

Grab your and your partner’s favorite bottle of wine, or even just apple cider. To prepare for this date night activity, you’re going to need to stop at Michael’s to grab two or more canvases, two mini-easels, two painting palettes and whatever paints you want. Then, swing by the closest Trader Joe’s and grab some cheese, crackers or another favorite snack to munch on while you paint portraits of each other.

You can give the final product to each other as gifts, or maybe just have a good laugh. And if they come out really bad, you can always toss them in the flames the next time you light up the fire pit.

DIY your own escape room

For those who love a challenge, or would rather be at an escape room instead of being stuck at home, try to DIY an escape room at home! You can enlist a friend or family member to map out a captivating story line, making sure you and your SO aren’t aware of the mystery, plan some interesting puzzles, and set up the  theme for the escape room. You can drop hints to your friend or family member on what type of thing you and your partner would be into. You can even make it a multi-room escape room to keep the fun alive all night long. I found a great website to help you out in the planning.

Cook for a romantic dinner date over Zoom

Long-distance during a global pandemic, no problem! If Alexis and Ted could keep the romance alive while he was in the Galapagos Islands on Schitt’s Creek, so can you and your partner. Zoom and FaceTime aren’t just for quick calls & online classes — use them for date night!

Before you make dinner, decorate your space and set the vibe for romance. Try cooking the same meal together over video chat. Use your favorite recipe or test out a new cuisine. You can even turn it into a game by competing with your SO to see whose meal will turn out better. Get dressed up as though you were going out to a nice restraunt, and enjoy a romantic meal over Zoom!

Movie night (long-distance edition)

Have a romantic movie night, even if you’re miles away from each other. Whether it is through FaceTime, Zoom, or Netflix Party, screen your favorite rom-coms with your partner. All you’ll need is a phone, laptop, comfy clothes, and your partner. You could even order in takeout and make it a super fun and classic dinner and a movie date!

Stick to a traditional night in

Sometimes, there is nothing better than a traditional night at home with your SO. You can spend the night playing a game — think Monopoly, a good card game or a multi-player video game — watching your favorite rom-coms or binging a good Netflix show (I personally recommend Criminal Minds or The Queen’s Gambit). If you want to have a romantic dinner, you can order in or cook a homemade meal.  For something low-key, you can have a snack night: pick up your favorite munchies and a nice bottle of wine before sitting down in front of the TV. Experiment with making a new cocktail or cooking a new cuisine.

No matter what you decide to do at home, make it just about the two of you. That means putting down your phones and focusing on whichever activity you choose to do and do it together.

Whatever you and your partner choose to do on February 14, 2021, I hope you spend your time marking this Valentine’s Day as one we had to get creative with to have fun. Stay safe, lovers!

Carly Long

Scranton '22

Carly is a senior studying Strategic Communications with a concentration in Legal Studies at The University of Scranton. This is her third year as CC at HC Scranton, which she hopes to continue to elevate. In her free time Carly can be found writing, working out, or buying new products to feed her skincare addiction.