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5 Sparkling Stay-at-Home Date Night Ideas to Keep Your Love Life Alive

Photo by BONNINSTUDIO / Stocksy
Photo by BONNINSTUDIO / Stocksy
It’s Valentine’s Day, and your attempts to get a babysitter have been futile. Sure, you can’t go out, but you can still have an awesome “date night.” Here’s how.

Step 1: Put your lovely children to sleep.

Step 2: Sideline the bills, the laundry, and crusty dishes.

Step 3: TURN OFF YOUR PHONES. Not just the ringer—power them down.

Step 4: Check out our fab-five ideas for keeping the love alive without leaving your house!

1. Put on Your Fancy Pants

We’re not knocking your standard at-home uniform of decade-old sweatpants and a Snuggie (trust us—we’re parents, too), but sometimes a costume change is all you need to kick-start the romance. 

You can go all out with the suit and floor-length gown you never get to wear these days (even that dusty prom tux or billowy wedding dress!), or just get gussied up in your favorite party duds, accessories and makeup included. Then sit down to a candle-lit dinner set to a soundtrack that doesn’t include “Wheels on the Bus” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” 

If you have time to prepare a gourmet spread, power to you (this beef tenderloin from Serious Eats takes minimal work!). But you can also order-in from the likes of GrubHub or Uber Eats or simply get pizza or Thai food and serve it on your formal china, paired with Champagne. Relish the opportunity to eat slowly…and talk. 

Afterward, consider a little slow-dancing in your living room. It may not normally be your thing, but hey! At the worst, it will make you both giggle (and the only one watching is the cat).

2. Story Time

No, we don’t mean a Lord of the Rings read-aloud, (although you’re certainly welcome to do that if it’s what floats your boat). 

Instead, sit down with a couture cocktail or cup of tea and alternate telling each other your favorite stories from your shared past: what initially attracted you to him or her, how you felt on your first (or third or tenth) date, the moment you knew you were in love, your favorite memory of your partner from your wedding or your child’s birth, etc. 

The goal here is to feel connected and get you talking about something other than life’s day-to-day grind or your children—lovely though they may be. 

Another option is to try out these 36 prompts. While the questions come from a study that attempted to see if two strangers could be made to fall in love (spoiler: they just might), they’re actually a great way to promote intimacy between any two people. When you’re done you have to silently stare into each other’s eyes for four minutes. Really.

3. Get Cookin’, Good Lookin’     

Move over, chicken fingers and quesadillas, there’s a new meal in town. Turn on some sweet tunes, tie on some aprons, call on your inner European (who is totally cool with eating dinner at 9 or 10 p.m.), and co-create a fabulous meal that’s decidedly outside the mac-and-cheese box. 

We love a cultural theme: Vietnamese bun cha and spring rolls, Spanish paella and sangria, French coq au vin and buttered parsley potatoes with a great Burgundy wine, or an Indian feast

Or if you’re feeling playful and have the kitchen space, consider a round of at-home Iron Chef: pick an ingredient (avocado, chocolate, strawberries, oranges, chili peppers, etc.) and then challenge each other to each make an appetizer, entrée, and dessert that all feature the ingredient. The winner can sleep in the next morning. 

You could also take a stab at preparing a version of your wedding menu or a favorite meal from your honeymoon, and then sit down to enjoy it and reminisce.

4. Fun & Games

Chess, cribbage, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Jenga, Yahtzee, Boggle, backgammon, Battleship, Clue, or even the same board and card games you play with your kids but now you don’t have to pretend to lose…. 

It’s amazing how fun it is to sit down and play something that’s sole purpose is, in fact, being fun. Come up with simple, silly prizes or just enjoy the friendly competition. Even better if the background is a playlist from your teenage years—Mr. Jones and Mary Jane’s Last Dance, anyone?

5. Movie Night

Yes, we know—you likely watch movies or television at home with some degree of frequency. But for a date-night, it’s all about focus: no multi-tasking by folding laundry or scanning Facebook. 

Pick a flick you’re both excited to watch (or a TV series you’ve been wanting to binge on), turn off the lights, and cuddle up on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn, a box of Milk Duds or Red Vines, and something tasty to drink. 

If you’d prefer, just ignore the movie and make-out!

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