This year I wanted a unique Valentine’s Day gift for my boyfriend instead of something store-bought. I am one of those folk who think that experiences are better than things, so with this in mind I decided to create my gift around date night ideas.
Dungeons & Dragons or HeroQuest games are pretty frequent at our place, so that ultimately inspired how I put together this gift of date night ideas. I wanted to package the whole thing up as a “Loot Chest” with a “Spell Tome” inside, and incorporate the standard set of dice (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20) as the date-choosing tool.
I haven’t seen anything else like this on the internet so I wanted to share it. It was super easy to whip up and you can really take it a lot further honestly. I run a paperless office (no printer) and I’m not the best artist so I was a bit limited, admittedly, but I think it turned out cute. Read on to see how to make it and how to use it.
Step 1: List Your Date Night Ideas
Let’s get started with by listing our your date night ideas. For this, I used one of each die from a standard RPG dice game (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20) where each die represents a Category of types of dates and each number on each die you roll represents a different Date Night in that Category. Start with 6 Categories of your choice (feel free to use mine as inspiration; below) and then come up with the amount of Date Nights ideas to correspond with the numbers of each die. Let’s take the d4 for example: you need 4 Date Night options that fit that 1 Category.
Step 2: Make the “Spell Tome”
My guy tends to play the Wizards or Warlock characters in RPG games so I thought that a “spell tome” would be a great way to include the date night options for the gift. I used index cards and scrapbooking paper. You need 1 index card per die/category; list the Category and corresponding die for each at the top and then write the Date Nights in a numbered list. Make sure to use extra index cards for the cover and back page of your book. You can dress it up or decorate it however you want.
Step 3: Make the “Loot Chest”
I went to the dollar store to grab some toy coins and a gift box that would fit the spell tome and dice set. I used acrylic paint, floral foam, and embellishments I already had in my craft box, then I threw in a few in the gold and silver coins to finish it off. I am using a set of metal RPG dice that I gave him a couple Christmases ago and they look great with the coins. The box was deeper than I wanted so I used the floral foam to fill in that space and make it look more like a treasure chest. You can paint a plastic set of dice if you don’t have metal ones.
Look Inside My Date Night Loot Chest
I had a lot of fun coming up with the date night ideas for each category and I hope they inspire you to make your own local options. I am new to this area so while I was planning this gift I would ask my guy about some of the places or restaurants around town to get an idea of his favorites. I have 7 categories because I used the d6 to represent both At-Home and Outdoor options. The categories I chose are general enough for anyone to use, just find local options to fit each one. Here are my date night ideas:
- d4: Much Ado Dates
- Trailblazers and Glass Raisers (horseback riding and a tavern )
- Hairy Pottery & the Artist’s Brush (byob pottery painting at the art shop in town)
- Ordinary CosPlay (spend $X on clothes for each other at thrift store, wear them & go out)
- Level Up Our Characters (take a class or join a game)
- d6: At-Home Date Night
- No Electricity Dinner & Entertainment
- Tabletop Game & Tapas
- Video Game & Finger Food
- Arts & Crafts Date
- Pamper Your Partner Spa Night. (note: go ahead and get this hot stone massage set now to prepare, you’ll both be thankful later!)
- Theme Dinner & Movie (roll or choose d12)
- d6: Outdoor Date Night
- Feast on Food, Al Fresco (picnic, day or evening)
- Walk the Water to Whet our Whistles (walk the river path into town for drinks)
- Roast the Flesh of the Dead in Public (use grill at park to BBQ – sorry vegans)
- Perambulate in Proximity (drive to a hiking trail and take a walk)
- Restaurant at the End of This Sentence.
- Candle Light and Star Light
- d8: Day-Date Afternoon
- Discover Hidden Knowledge (walk to the library to pick a book/movie)
- Discover Ancient Artifacts (antique/thrift shop scavenger hunt)
- Movie Marathon Double Feature Picture Show
- Food Court Jester Quester (food court & window shopping)
- Side Quest in the Side City (day trip to another town)
- Pirate Picnic (have a picnic on a boat or ferry)
- Kneadful Things (make scratch dough/noodles & dinner from that)
- Join the Culture Club (go to museum, chamber music, local cultural event)
- d10: Dining Out
- Dice Game and Diner
- Card Game and Tapas
- Story Game and Sandwiches
- Car Picnic with a View
- Drive-thru Around the World
- Dessert/Breakfast for Dinner
- Locals Only
- Happy Hour on the Town
- Buffet or Chain Restaurant
- Pick from the List
- d12: Theme Dinner & a Movie
- Breakfast and Cartoon Movie
- Fantasy and Pho
- RomCom and Ramen
- Simon Pegg and Pub Food (or other Brit movie)
- Gangster Movie and Italian Food
- Comfort Movie and Carpet Picnic
- Nostalgia Movie and Matching Meal (ex:sushi and Breakfast Club)
- Disney/Pixar and Matching Meal (ex: pizza and Toy Story)
- Chick Flick and Matching Meal (ex: Chinese food and Gypsy)
- Corny Movie and Corny Food (ex: corndogs, popcorn, corn chips and Police Academy)
- Sci-Fi and Matching Meal (ex: unlabeled-can-surprise or Chinese food and Serenity)
- Comic/Anime and Matching Meal (ex: chimichangas and Deadpool)
- d20: Restaurants
- Tokyo House
- Dirty Dan’s Steakhouse
- H2O & Rockfish
- Double Barrel BBQ
- Black Cat
- Chuckanut Brewery
- Oyster & Thistle
- Marketplace Casino Buffet
- Mr T’s
- Schweinhaus Biergarten
- The Temple Bar
- Portage Bay Bar & Lounge
- 13 Moons
- The Train Wreck
- Trumpeter Pub House
How We Use This:
This gift of date night ideas can be used any time you need help choosing a date or planning a date. Feel free to update or edit your categories or date ideas so you see fit, that way you don’t get bored with repeating the same options over and over.
You can use this gift either as a monthly date night, or “monthiversary” as many of us like to celebrate, you can use it weekly, or you can use it whenever you need help deciding. However you use it, it will be fun for both of you while bringing you closer together. We use this whenever we need date night inspiration. Here’s how we use the Date Night Loot Chest and Spell Tome.
- Choose a category on a case by case basis. If unsure, we can roll a d20 to choose, but we are given a choice first.
- We take turns rolling each time.
- If you roll an option that isn’t doable, you get a Free Roll. Ex: you rolled ‘go to the library’ but it’s closed for a holiday, then you get to roll again.
- If the Date Night has already been repeated once, you get a Free Roll, unless both parties agree otherwise.
- If someone has their own suggestion, it will trump the Loot Chest options, this encourages spontaneity and creativity.
- When choosing a Day-Date Afternoon option, always choose in the morning so you have enough time to get ready and make it happen by the afternoon. Use breakfast as a fun time to make plans if needed.
Variations You Can Use:
- Make a Seasonal Spell Tome with different options for the seasons. You can have one just for Summer or one for just Christmas activities, for example.
- If you only have 4-sided dice of different colors, you can color-coordinate 4 ideas per die & just write the date night options in matching ink.
- For Pre-Planned Date Nights with different colored 4-sided dice. For weekly dates, you need 13 dice; 12 of them for the months (4 sides = 4 weekly dates), the 13th die is for those 5th weeks that happen (if you don’t want to repeat dates). The dates are pre-planned based on what you want to do that month; the 13th die has year-round dates.
- You can use the above option for monthly dates too with only 12 dice.
- If you have no idea where to start, roll a d20. Choose the category of the rangerolled, where “X-and-directly-under” is the rule. Example, if you roll 11 you choose the d12 category but if you roll 5 you choose the d6 category and go from there.
- Add markers or tokens as you roll options. Like how sometimes wizards can use spells only once per game. This way you make sure you aren’t repeating options in a category before going through all the other options first.
- Make one spell tome for a gift as a surprise but then create the next one together as a fun couples-activity, that way everyone is sure to have their choices as possible options for each category.