Inexpensive dates liven up the atmosphere


By Sara Seibel

Enjoying their crepes at Crepe Shack & Waffles, Janelle Rafanan, 11, and Corey Masicampo, 10, play a game of Jenga while on a date.
Enjoying their crepes at Crepe Shack & Waffles, Janelle Rafanan, 11, and Corey Masicampo, 10, play a game of Jenga while on a date. Photo by Sara Seibel

Going out to a nice restaurant, ordering the same meal every time, and staring blankly at the wall seems to be the typical date many teens suffer through. Changing it up a bit might help add that spark back into a relationship, and it doesn’t even have to cost more than $20.

Picturesque picnic

Feel the breeze, resting in a beautiful and sunny area, like a park or even a unique spot on a hike with a significant other. A nature-filled picnic could be better than a candlelit dinner. Prepare favorite sandwiches, salads, and fruit cups. It doesn’t have to cost anything and allows for a summer tan; bringing board games or playing cards may keep the flow going, too.

“My perfect picnic date would be at the park at night, gazing up at the stars and definitely having some good snacks to eat,” Taylor Hood, sophomore, said.

Cafe Jenga

Transform the “awkward sips and stares”  date at Crepe Shack, Starbucks, or any cafe by playing Jenga with a twist: arrange a tasty treat, a table to sit at, a colorful marker, and the game. On each block, write a question and take turns answering them as the blocks are wiggled out from the tower. This can work for first dates as a means to get to know each other.

“I went to Crepe Shack with my boyfriend recently and it was really fun. Playing board games together like Jenga was a great bonding experience,” Hannah Sterling, junior, said.

Arcade adventure

From collecting toys from the claw machine to Dance Dance Revolution, running around together at the arcade can make hearts burst with joy. There’s no need to cough up more than $20 to run out of breath at a casino’s arcade or GameWorks in Las Vegas — a two-hour time play card is $15.

“I always have fun spending time with my girlfriend no matter where we go, and it always seems that when we go to Gameworks we tend to act more silly together, and we really enjoy ourselves,” Brandon Gates, senior, said.

Thrift shopping

Stores like Goodwill or Savers are another option for a date. Couples can pick out wacky clothes for each other to try on and take googly-eyed pictures together. They may also want to find and buy unique pieces at a good price. Either way, thrift shopping with a significant other allows people to learn more about each other’s fashion tastes and what’s on their style agenda.

Escape room at home

Escape rooms are another option for couples who like strategy games and don’t mind using their brains to solve mysteries. One or more people are “locked” in a room, and they need to search for clues and objects that will help them escape within a certain time limit. Instead of driving out and giving the cashier a sweaty $25 bill, transform the house into a set up. Just print out a downloadable pack and hide the printed clues around the house using the Setup Guide included. Have the partner piece it out him or herself, or grab a friend to set it up so that the two can do it together.

Garage Drive-in movie theatre

A homemade theatre might be the most perspiring, but it’s a blushing alternative to the typical “dinner and movie.” All that’s required are a garage, a T.V., a place to rest the T.V., some popcorn, drinks, and a movie the couple has been continuously eyeing. Make sure it’s already set up before arriving from dinner. Taking a step back in surprise, he or she will be welcomed with what’s waiting when pulling into the garage. Also, if driving is not an option or there is not enough space in the garage, just set up a comfortable place to lounge in which will work as well.

Struggling to hand over more than $20 for one date doesn’t have to be the case. Sparks can fly even from simple, wallet-friendly gestures like these.