Staying home in the time of COVID-19 means most of us are around our significant other 24/7. So planning a fabulous date night together might seem a little redundant. But after you’ve finished your workday and tucked the kids into bed, it might be just the thing to distinguish one day from the next—and give you something to look forward to.
“Looking forward to an interlude and anticipating the excitement of doing something novel can keep a spark going that might get lost in the doldrums of stay-at-home orders and working from home,” says Ginger Holczer, a licensed psychologist at Creative Pathways in Springfield, MO.
With a little creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, you can pull off an enjoyable shelter-in-place date night that’s sure to be remembered. Pencil in your S.O., and try on these ideas for size.
1. Movie night
Although movie theaters are closed, you can still create your own magical movie theater experience at home.
“If you want to get creative, stream a movie that was on your bucket list to watch pre-COVID-19,” says Julie Spira, an online dating expert and CEO at Cyber-Dating Expert. “Microwave some popcorn, and make it feel like a movie date in your home theater.”
Or go old-school romantic and take the movie experience outside to your driveway in your car, like with a drive-in movie theater. Maybe even splurge on a first-run flick!
“Amazon Prime and others are offering movies that would have been released in the theaters at home,” says Meg Rector, dating and relationship coach with One Fish Dating. At about 20 bucks per movie, it’s a fine investment during these tough times.
2. Just dance
Your couch now has a permanent imprint of your backside. And that’s not a good look for your decor—or a good situation for your psyche. It’s time to get off your feet and let loose.
“Create a dance floor using strings of lights, flowers, whatever you have around the house. Create a playlist of your favorite songs, get takeout, dress up, and dance,” says Holczer. “Learn a new dance step or do karaoke videos from YouTube.”
Rector says couples can learn to dance with Show Her Off, a series of online videos that will “teach you to cut a rug to just about any kind of music.”
3. ‘Go out’ to dinner
Going out to dinner is still not an option for much of the U.S. So change up this date night classic with a romantic home version.
And that means getting ready as you normally would for a date.
“Shower! Put on some real clothes! Get ready separately so as to create some anticipation,” says Rector. “Treat the evening as if you were going out on the town. Do whatever feels right to you to help create the magic of date night.”
Spira says to keep it simple, order in food from your favorite restaurant, “or even the one where you went on your first date to will reignite romantic feelings.” You could even let your kids be the waiters, a la “The Parent Trap.”
She suggests lighting some candles and having a playlist of your favorite romantic songs playing in the background to set the tone.
4. Visit a museum
Some of the most romantic dates involve strolling hand in hand and taking in the wonders of museum exhibits. And you still can do this—without leaving home.
Since you can’t travel, if you love art and museums, over 2,000 museums now have virtual tours that you can go on together, says Spira. “From the Guggenheim in New York to the Louvre in Paris, you can travel the world without a passport, and discuss where you’d like to visit when it’s safe to plan a trip.”
5. Exercise together
COVID-19 can be deadly, but so is living a sedentary life. Go bike riding or running together in your neighborhood.
“If both of you feel like you’re spending too much time walking to the refrigerator, and are worried about your waistlines, I recommend working out together and building up a sweat by taking a cardio class that’s streamed online,” says Spira. “If you need more time to relax together, try a yoga date, or take a guided meditation together before you go to sleep.”
6. Have a spa date
Longer disheveled hair and sweats is the current look on Quarantine 2020 home runways. With one day indistinguishable from the next, it’s hard not to neglect yourself. But a little pampering can go a long way, especially if your partner is an active participant.
“How about a spa date complete with facials, massages, and pedicures? Share a bubble bath afterward,” says Holczer.
While you’re at it, liven it up with drinks. Fancy a cucumber Quarantini? Holczer suggest re-creating (or creating!) a cocktail together.
7. Challenge each other to game night
Did someone say Twister? Even if you may not be in the mood to play a game, it’s hard to resist a fun play date.
“Since being playful will help your relationship during this critical time, I recommend teaming up with your partner, going on a virtual double date with another couple, and playing an online game such as Quarantine Bingo,” says Spira.
Rector recommends disconnecting from technology altogether and playing an old-fashioned board game like Scrabble, backgammon, or rummy.