If you’re not in a relationship this Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate and have fun. And even if are in a relationship, it doesn’t mean you have to go out on a date with your significant other. Despite what you’ve been led to believe, there are no rules. Valentine’s Day can be whatever you want it to be! Invite your single friends and your couple friends, because I’m about to tell you how to plan the ultimate best friends date for this Valentine’s Day.
Step 1: The invites
If you want to make this Valentine’s friend date really special, you have to set the tone from the beginning. Leave something nice, like a flower or a chocolate, at your friends’ seats in their classes with a note attached inviting them to a Valentine’s Day potluck. Of course, it’d be nice to provide food for all your guests, but your friends shouldn’t expect you to put yourself out of a bunch of money for Valentine’s Day. Request that everyone bring something to contribute to the group, and you can even coordinate Valentine’s Day themed snacks or drinks! Really encourage everyone to get in the spirit of the holiday, because love isn’t just about romantic love.
Related: Valentine’s Day Cards for College Students
Step 2: Get a lot of candy
One thing you can provide for your friends at little cost to you is candy. Get all the Valentine’s Day–themed candy that your heart desires. Get chocolates, lollipops, and those little chalky hearts that no one actually likes. Even if you don’t eat it all, it’s about creating the atmosphere of Valentine’s Day, so it doesn’t seem like just another day with everyone hanging out. Fully give in to all the gushy stuff that goes along with the holiday.
Step 3: Prepare a meal together
Remember when I said have everyone bring something to contribute to the potluck? Well, if possible, have them bring it unprepared. Nothing bonds people quite like making a meal together and chatting while everyone goes about their tasks. If you live at home or in an apartment off campus, this is easy because you have a full kitchen. If you live in a dorm, you still have options. Some dorms have common areas with kitchenettes that are available for students who live in that dorm to use. Take advantage of it! (If a lot of people are coming, just make sure you touch base with your RA first so they know what’s going on.)
If a kitchenette isn’t even an option, get creative. There are tons of foods and snacks that are no-cook options, and it’s likely you at least have a microwave in your dorm room for late-night mac n’ cheese cups. Use the microwave for anything that needs heat, but enjoy the process of preparing the things that don’t. It may not be the same as legitimately cooking, but even setting up a fancy meat and cheese board with your friends can be fun.
Related: 5 Inexpensive Date Ideas for College Students on Valentine’s Day
Step 4: Valentine’s-themed games
What’s a night with friends without games? But of course, it’s Valentine’s Day, so try to keep your games themed. Again, get creative. You may not own any “love-themed” games, but you have a brain that could come up with one. Here’s something fun to get you started called the Boyfriend/Girlfriend Machine. If you’re proficient in all things YouTube, you may recognize this game from a series on Smosh’s YouTube channel:
1. Before the party, decorate three boxes with your Valentine’s theme. (If you don’t have time to decorate, that’s fine. It would just add to the atmosphere. If you don’t have time to even get boxes, any old container will do.)
2. At the party, you and your guests write celebrity names on scraps of paper to fill one box with stars that everyone loves—the Hemsworth brothers or Ariana Grande may be popular options.
3. Fill a second box with awesome, even unrealistic, attributes. Options could be “They can talk to animals so you can have any animal as a pet” or “They can transport you to places in the blink of an eye.”
4. In the last box, have them write down horrible attributes—things like “Every time you kiss them, you smell like onions for an hour afterward” or “Any time you go out on a date with them, you have to be completely naked.”
5. After everything is in the boxes, give them a good shake and take turns pulling two celebrities from the box and a positive and negative attribute for each one. The point of the game is to compare the two people to each other and weigh their good and bad attributes to decide which of the two you’d rather date.
Let the ridiculous conversations and arguments ensue!
Step 5: Stuffed animal gift swap
Who says that white elephant and secret Santa gift swaps have to only be for Christmas? I say have a secret Cupid swap! Before the party, ask everyone to bring the most disgustingly cute stuffed animal they can find. Really have them search for the ones that are so extra you can’t help but laugh. At the party, have everyone choose stuffed animals secret Santa style by choosing them blind and having options for swapping. Make it even more of a game and see if anyone can guess who brought which stuffed animal. Bonus points and any candy remaining at the end of the night goes to the person who everyone votes brought the best (or worst) one.
Step 6: Cheesy movies (performances required)
Romance or rom-com movies are a staple of any Valentine’s Day, but we all know that cheesy flicks are not for everyone. Pick films that you think will at least be tolerable for everyone or, on the other hand, pick the most outrageously cheesy movies you can find. Anytime you get to a particularly cringey scene, you and your friends should try to reenact the scene even cringier and more outrageous than it is in the movie. Because if you don’t really love mushy movies, why not make fun of them?
Related: Entertainment Picks to Help Pass the Time
Whatever you choose to do this February 14th, don’t let the pressure of the stereotypical Valentine’s Day ruin what could be a great day with friends. Holidays are meant for everyone to enjoy, and you can use this one as an opportunity to spread and express love for anyone in your life. If you do one of these ideas, make it creative and make it your own, but above all else, show your friends how much you love and appreciate them.
Want even more ideas on how to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Check out this video from student vlogger Peggy.