If you’re sheltering-in-place with a significant other, your date nights will certainly look different these days. Well, date night along with life in general. Practicing social distancing, though difficult at times, is crucial in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus and keep each other and ourselves safe. But while social distancing may impact our ability to have nights out on the town with our loved ones, it doesn’t mean throwing out date nights altogether — it just means employing a bit of creativity. After all, romance and safety are never mutually exclusive.
Here are a few fun date ideas you can do at home with your boo.
1. Recreate a meal from your favorite restaurant.
Think of this like Chopped meets Restaurant Impossible. Dare to recreate your favorite meal while also attempting to bring the restaurant feel into your own home. Even if your favorite eatery is offering takeout, we challenge you to break out your best chef skills. Cook your own most-ordered menu item, pull out your best table cloth, and light a few candles for the sake of ambiance.
Bonus Tip: Keep ordering takeout from your favorite local spot. It’s crucial to support small businesses as much as you can during the pandemic.
2. Bring the movie theater experience home.
It’s going to be a while before we can actually go to the movies. But, you can easily recreate the movie-going experience at home — and make it better. If you have a projector, it’s going to come in really handy for this experience. Plug in your film of choice, and project it on a blank wall or a white sheet theater-style. Then, all you need is a comfy couch or some floor pillows to snuggle on, and a bucket of stovetop popcorn. However, if a projector is not in play, you can recreate the movie theater at home with a DIY concession stand, complete with Junior Mints, Buncha Crunch, soda, and buttery popcorn.
Bonus Tip: set your DIY movie theater up outside (either with your projector or computer) with some twinkle lights to give it a drive-in feel.
3. Have a wine tasting.
You’ll have to put your trip to that vineyard on hold for now. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t partake in a wine tasting. You can put one together yourself with some of your favorite reds, whites, and roses. There are also currently several wineries and wine brands offering virtual wine tastings over Zoom if you want to get even fancier and get feedback from the experts.
Bonus Tip: Write up a list of buzzwords (no pun intended) and phrases often used at wine tastings like “savory,” “bone dry,” and “fruit-forward.” With this list, you can make your wine tasting into a points-based game or even a drinking game if you’re following along with a virtual host.
4. Turn your place into a massage spa.
Begin the date with face masks, a bath, and some wine, and end it with sensual and anxiety-relieving massages. Break out your best massage oil, or make a DIY version with carrier oils like jojoba, avocado, or coconut oil, and a few drops of essential oils, and throw on your most relaxing playlist. Not only are you doing something kind for each other, but massages can lead to an even more intimate experience.
Bonus Tip: There are a myriad of massage tutorials — ranging from deep tissue, to standard back massages — on YouTube if you really want to impress your partner with your massage skills.
5. Spend an entire day snuggling in bed.
If you and your partner can allot the time to spend a full day in bed together, then this might be the perfect opportunity to detach from the outside world and really focus on each other and your relationship. Play a couple cute games like Truth or Dare, Would You Rather, or even quiz each other with personal trivia questions. The only rule is that you can only leave the bed for bathroom trips and meal breaks.
Bonus Tip: Try to keep technology use at a minimum during this date. Of course, if you have to keep your phone close for emergencies, that’s one thing. But staying solely connected to one another in the present moment is the most important takeaway from snuggle time.
6. Invite your friends on a virtual double date.
Unless you’re currently sheltering-in-place with your BFFs, chances are you probably haven’t seen them in person for a while due to social distancing guidelines. But thankfully, Facetime, Zoom, and other video chat platforms exist. Coordinate a double-date night with your friends and share some good conversation over drinks and dinner. No offense to your partner, but you’ll probably both be grateful for the social interaction.
Bonus Tip: Apps like House Party are great for friends who love to get together for game night. You can video chat while playing digital games from afar.
7. Throw a “Paint Party.”
In the before times, paint parties were all the rage — those being parties where you get together with pals and follow along with an instructor's painting tutorial. Wine, food, and good gossip was usually served on the side. Luckily, this outing can be translated to an at-home date night. All you need is a canvas or heavy paper, paints, and a Bob Ross YouTube video (currently, his tutorials are free to view on the video platform).
Bonus Tip: Rather than follow along with a tutorial, try painting each other’s portraits. Depending on your skill level, this could result in hilarity.
8. Take it outside.
Sure, we’re being encouraged to stay at home as much as possible. But that doesn’t mean we still can’t go outdoors. Head to the backyard, rooftop, or balcony for a picnic date. Bring snacks, drinks, a blanket, and a portable speaker to set the mood and enjoy the fresh air.
Bonus tip: If you and your partner are the active types, take a long walk around the block or head out for a hike. Remember to stay at least six feet from other people while walking trails and sidewalks, and if you’re in a populated area, definitely wear cotton masks.
9. Go camping — indoors.
Release your inner kid and build a blanket fort in your living room and deck it out with board games and twinkle lights (or lanterns). If you have a fireplace, light a small fire and roast hot dogs and make s’mores with chocolate and graham crackers. Stay up late telling scary stories, playing Truth or Dare, or even bring out the old kiddie games like MASH and “Never Have I Ever.”
Bonus Tip: If you have a backyard and camping supplies, move this date night outside. Pitching a tent in the yard can make it feel like you’re actually on vacation.
10. Partake in a virtual dance party.
If you guys miss going out to your favorite clubs and dance spots, then bring the club vibe to you. A handful of musical artists including Questlove, Joe Jonas, and DJ D-Nice, are taking their DJ sets to social media and throwing virtual dance parties. And some online-only clubs, like Club Quarantine, have even popped up in response to social distancing.
Bonus Tip: Order a strobe lights or disco ball online and turn the lights down low to create the ambiance of your favorite dance club.
There’s no need to give up date nights just because you’re sheltering-in-place. As long as you commit to having fun and really dive in head-first to the plan, you and your partner are bound to have a fun time.